Antique Shopping France
Are you like me? Do you love wandering through antique shows and garage sales? Do you love antique shopping in France? One man’s junk is another man’s treasure as they say. While I don’t always buy something at the antique markets, I love wandering through them pretending I have a house big enough to store any of the numerous items my eyes catch, or that I can find a way to hide it from Eric for a bit before magically making it appear in our home. I would not call myself a collector even though at one stage I did start to amass some tea and coffee sets – I had to quickly abandon the idea for lack of space. But I do enjoy antique shopping wherever they take place. I think you really have to have a keen eye to spot what looks junky and see what could be a real gem. It is an art form for sure.
Sometimes, I do walk away with a little something-something sometimes useful, sometimes useless (for now). Ever since moving to the South of France, I have been tracking the vide greniers (garage sales) and brocants (antique sales), professional and otherwise. Especially when we were decorating the school the year we opened, I had my eye open for any great finds that would make our space look that more authentic. We didn’t have the funds to go all out but I was pleased with the results. A few touches get added every once in a while.
Uzès has a number of permanent antique shops one even doubles as an Italian restaurant, Via Curti as well as frequent braderies and brochants throughout the year on the Place aux Herbes and in the weekly Sunday flea market at the rugby stadium at the entrance to Uzès. You can definitely add antiquing to one of the top things to do in Uzès.
Barjac which is just about 50 minutes from Uzès, was a fabulous find. Twice a year they hold an antique market where professionals gather to peddle their wares. For over 90 years, twice a year Barjac hosts its antique fair at Easter and on August 15th. I am not looking for anything in particular but I think I may just wander about again and if something catches my fancy, maybe I will just indulge myself. You never know when I may find that I have yet another room to decorate.
Tips for Antique shopping:
- Plan ahead if you can – if you know exactly what you are looking for keep it in mind and don’t get distracted by all the pretty little things. One way to avoid that is to come with exactly and only what you are willing to spend.
- Always have cash – many antique shows in France take either only cash or check and since you may not have a French bank account from which to cash that check, your international checkbook is useless so have the cash. Some villages may not have a cash point so if you see one, stop and top up
- Haggle – because it is fun! No, seriously depending on what day it is your haggling power may be stronger than you could have imagined but be realistic – don’t low ball the guy (or lady), so much that they will feel insulted. Unless it is something that you don’t really want at all, don’t go too low. I personally go from the realistic to the downright cheeky depending on my mood but you have to be prepared for the consequences either way.
- Make sure you have space in your car for your new purchase – You may want to find out if they would be willing to deliver your newly acquired wardrobe before you dole out the cash for it. Most will do it but you may have to wait till the end of the show before that happens.
- Don’t worry too much about your language skills. There are always ways to bridge the language divide.
- My final tip is if you love it, just get it – How many times have you walked away from something you really really wanted but thought, no maybe I’ll see something else or no, that price is too much and he won’t go down enough, only to finally make up your mind, go back and find out it has been sold? Right, don’t let that happen ever again.
Bonus tip – Enjoy the atmosphere – it’s not the end of the world after all and there will be other shows.
So maybe I’ll see you in Barjac!
You can always come and check out our antique finds at the school when you take your next French cooking class with us at Cook’n With Class Uzès. See you there.
While visiting Barjac you may also want to make pit stops here: Vallon-Pont d’Arc et les Gorges de l’Ardèche, l’Aven d’Orgnac, la Grotte de la Cocaliere, la Cèze, les Cévennes, and the numerous little typical villages surrounding it.