Found treasures

road to puce bonnieux, Flea market, brocante, The French Muse My alarm was set for 6.30am - on a Sunday. Only one thing will make me drag myself out of bed on a weekend and that is the promise of a brocanting adventure.

I snuck around the house on my tip toes, anxious not to wake the children. Threw back a quick cup of coffee and crept out the back door. The sun was rising and it seemed that not a single soul was awake as I drove through Lacoste, Bonnieux and then down into the gorge that runs between Buoux and Lourmarin.

Flea market, brocante, The French Muse

Giddy with happiness, my own personal soundtrack (created by my friend Claire) playing on the stereo ... the thrill of the promise of treasure is a heady drug.

box of lace find, Flea market, brocante, The French Muse

I drove through villages I had only ever seen on maps, small towns and villages with colourful shutters and majestic platane trees lining their Roman roads.

crochet, Flea market, brocante, The French Muse

When I arrived at the textile and craft flea market, the car park was deserted and I had a horrible feeling that maybe it had been cancelled. I ventured inside the 'salle de fete' with every finger and toe crossed that I was wrong and - relief - there was a quiet, intimate gathering of makers, their unwanted linens, scraps and crafting tools laid out before them.

buttons, Flea market, brocante, The French Muse

One of my favourite elements is meeting new faces, hearing stories of how they came to own their wares, or why they are selling their beloved collections. Most of the ladies this particular weekend were retired seamstresses, they regaled me with stories of their passion for sewing, educating me on the different types of lace stitching and French names for specific fabrics (do you know what a 'Brise-bise' is for example?) . Despite their desire to keep making, many found their eyesight was simply not good enough any more and they were clearing out their boxes and supplies.

mariage couronne, Flea market, brocante, The French Muse

This is a close up of the most incredible lace bridal headpiece - so beautiful!

craft, Flea market, brocante, The French Muse

Tables overflowing with crafting materials for scrapbooking and decoupage, the prices were really good but I maintained a steely focus (for once) and only sought out textiles.

Flea market, brocante, The French Muse

A wonderful fountain or lavoir in Bonnieux, at 8am the sun was just rising and hitting the village walls.

puce sewing notions

My favourite table of the day! This particular seller had received a gift of antique linens from her best friend who had inherited her parents home over Christmas and was throwing out all of the linens as she had too many.... I don't think I will ever be able to complain of owning too many hand-embroidered monogrammed linen sheets and tablecloths.

If you would like to join us brocanting, we are offering the Mini Muse Experience day out, we can organise anything from a French flea market morning to a full day outing (including trips to our preferred “by appointment only” dealers). Find out more here.