Fun & Frolics at a French Flea Market

A vide grenier (flea market) in rural France

A vide grenier (flea market) in rural France

While visiting France, I was taken to a couple of vide greniers. Essentially, a vide grenier is a garage sale or a yard sale and is also known as a flea market. These markets take place during the summer in small towns and villages throughout France. Basically, people clean out their garages, attics and spare rooms and bring along their junk and bric-a-brac to sell at low prices. To my knowledge, these do not exist in Ireland where people bring all their unwanted stuff to charity shops instead. Whenever I’m in an Irish or British town I always look out for the charity stores. I head straight to the CD racks and bookshelves where, over the years, I’ve picked up lots of interesting albums and books for just a few pounds or euros

My friend, Agathe, suggested that we should get there early in order to beat the crowds and to pick up the best items. “The early bird gets the worm” as we say in English. So, we got up around 7.00am (this was six in the morning back in Ireland!) and Agathe drove us to the little village where the market was taking place. As it turned out, Agathe drove the long way as the village was, in fact, quite near to where we were staying. We were home in half the time it took us to get there, but I didn’t mind being deprived of fifteen minutes sleep. All around the village, the streets and the village square were lined with people selling their wares. Most of the stalls contained similar stuff: knick-knacks, electrical appliances, clothes, kitchen utensils, books in French, video cassettes, and more clothes. I kept my eyes peeled for CDs and DVDs and eventually I found a few, but nothing to get too excited about

Browsing through the cd racks

Browsing through the cd racks

Then, I came across a guy selling a load of graphic novels. In French. I flicked through them and found a few that I liked. They were only a euro each, so I handed the guy a tenner for a handful. I could use them to help me improve my grasp of the French language. Even if I couldn’t understand them all, I would be able to follow the stories by looking at the pictures. After that, I bumped into a couple who were selling their CDs. For just a euro each. I searched through the box and came away with nearly a dozen. I’ve included a few mp3s from those CDs below

A couple of days later, I went to a vide grenier at another village. This one was a lot smaller and had a lot more junk than the previous one, but I managed to come away with a 2GB memory stick, a French football scarf, a film called L’auberge espagnole (in French!), and the 2001 Beano Annual (in English!). The only downside occurred when we returned from the first vide grenier. When we got back to the house we noticed that one of the bikes from the back yard had been stolen. A bicycle thief had jumped in over the gate and taken it while we were away. None of the neighbours had seen anything and the chances of getting it back were silm. Not only does the early bird get the worm; he also gets the bicycle

Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits

Before You Accuse Me – Eric Clapton

Sun Is Shining – Bob Marley

Warwick Avenue – Duffy

On a Plain – Nirvana

Ne Me Quitte Pas – Jacques Brel

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3 thoughts on “Fun & Frolics at a French Flea Market

  1. Well I know theres one in Callan, Co Kilkenny, which my parents often go to, other then that I’m not sure, I cant imagine why they would be in decline. It looks like you had a good holiday anyway Pat, and the weather looks good.

  2. Indeed they would, Gerry. Except that the vendors have proper stalls and the cars are parked elsewhere. Do car boot sales still happen in Ireland, Gerry?

  3. Some good tunes there Pat. Would these vide greniers be similar to a car boot sale in Ireland?

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