Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brocante, Sablet

Spring will arrive soon in the Vaucluse and along with cherry blossoms, red poppies in fields, asparagus at weekly markets, sunshine and warm weather, will come hand-painted signs along the roads announcing brocante dimanche - flea market Sunday.

A brocante is actually a French cross between an antiques' fair and a flea market. If you enjoy hunting antiques, you can find a brocante almost every weekend, generally on Sunday in one village or another it seems.

I just got the schedule for Manifestations De Sablet 2011 - Festivities in Sablet in 2011 from the Office de Tourisme. There are three brocantes scheduled for Sablet this year: May 1, June 2 and a to be determined date in September.

Brocantes in Sablet are held at La Place du Village - the village square, in other villages, the center of town. The pictures which follow were taken at a brocante in Sablet on a Sunday morning last September. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Brocantes attract a mix of professional dealers and second-hand sellers. You can find everything under the sun at brocantes including copper pots and pans, furniture, glassware, old books and records, games, ceramics, art, old posters, silverware and delicate embroideries.

During the summer, you will also see signs for vide-greniers. Literally, it means empty attic. All the stuff that comes out of the attic ends up for sale in villages once or twice a year.

We have not seen the equivalent of the individual yard sale like we find on weekends in Northern California. Vide-greniers are the same idea but they are scheduled by the town hall for the whole village.

We have bought a few things at brocantes and we have found that sellers expect to bargain. Beware, they will act insulted if you offer too low a price. We tell them we really like the item but its more than we want to spend and they usually offer a lower price.

Timing is important at a brocante. Dealers arrive first and the good stuff and best prices are gone early in the day. By the end of the day, there won't be much left.

Enjoy the brocantes. Most of what you see will not suit your taste but its fun to wander around and check things out. If you find something you can't live without, go for it and try your hand at bargaining. Good luck.

There are many festivities scheduled this year for Sablet besides the three brocantes. If you are there for one of these festivities, I would love to see pictures.

Bonne journée et à bientôt.


  1. I don't know if I'll go to any of those festivities this summer, but I am going to try and visit the area. I want to visit Vaison La Romaine, so why not a cruise through Sablet, too? I'll take photos when I do.

  2. Hi Michel, they don't do yard sales here, if you want to sell you always have to schlepp all your stuff to the vide grenier and real early, too. The next real good one is in Roaix on April 10th.

  3. Hi Michel:
    We enjoy your blogs- they are like a cocktail before dinner that enhances your appetite

    It will be fun to wonder through the brocante in Sablet in September. We are looking forward to our visit.

  4. How fun, I love the flea markets of Provence! And you are so right, not everything will be to your taste, but it is just fun to wander and soak up the atmosphere. Your market in Sablet looks quite lovely, thanks for sharing and hope to get down that way soon!

  5. I'm not really a flea market kinda person, but I suppose it might be fun to collect certain things.

  6. Meredith - Vaison la Romaine is definitely worth a visit; try to go on Tuessday morning so you can experience the weekly market. The market has to be one of the best in all of France.

    Barbara - I am hoping to get to Sablet during April for a short visit. How are your classes going?

    George - Thanks for checking the blog. I am very happy you are following my posts as you make your plans for your September visit to Sablet. That should be a wonderful time of year. We will be there in early October.

    Tuula - You must come visit the Northern Vaucluse to check out the area. Lots to see and experience.

    Megan - I am not a big flea market person either. Our mission to be trutful was we didn't want to furnish our house in Sablet 100% with IKEA so we have been looking for some nice furniture pieces to round things out. We bought two very nice pieces of furniture at brocantes so we are feeling more authentic.

  7. Brocantes are fun, aren't they? Thank you for explaining the difference between a brocante and a vide-grenier.

  8. George - Thanks for checking in on our blog. I know you will have a great time.

    Camille - We don't see a lot of things that suit our taste but we definitely enjoy wandering around the brocantes and bargaining on those things we like.