Tales from the brocante

The French Muse - brocante flea market finds Despite the grey heavy malcontent Provencal sky, my heart was light as a feather - it was brocante day.

The one day of the week where I am happy to rag myself from my comfortable, warm bed and sneak around the house before the sun has even come out to play.

Every Sunday morning feels a little like the Christmas mornings of my childhood. You know it is an ungodly hour to be awake and yet there is a tangible pulse of excitement in the air. Fast forward thirty years and I wake to the tantalising promise of a good days rummaging in dusty boxes and battered suitcases.

The French Muse - brocante flea market finds

Last Sunday, it seems the weather forecast put off a lot of potential buyers, evidently only the absolutely insane junk lovers like myself ventured out. I didn't mean to eavesdrop but overheard sellers complaining on how the bad weather had driven away their clients and they would have to give their stuff away.

Give stuff away? can you imagine how wide my grin was at the promise of a bargain?

The French Muse - brocante flea market finds

I lost my heart a little to this chair but couldn't quite get my early morning brain to find a spot for it in my home....and it wasn't small enough that I could sneak it home, hide it away and not have the French husband notice... believe me.

There is something just so beautiful with how deconstructed and lived in it is, who needs perfection?

The French Muse - brocante flea market finds

This little scene made me smile. I imagined the old antiquaire setting up these toy soldiers, oblivious to the goings on around him, swept back to his childhood.

I noticed a lot of sellers didn't take the time to unload their trucks properly or left their items in their boxes in case the threatened downpour came but this man had taken the time and care to create a miniature world in his 6m² demesne.

The French Muse - brocante flea market finds

Another very funny moment that still makes me smile thinking back. I spotted these two grands dames out of the corner of my eye. Mother and daughter, early 1800s, in okay condition considering. But I couldn't quite keep a straight face when the vendor tried to sell them to me. The lady hidden behind her mother actually had a moustache painted in the original painting, did the painter not think to do a little oil-based photoshop? I giggled.

Part of me thought of buying them and putting them somewhere where they would appropriately terrorise the family with their stern looks.

The toilet? Above the kids desk ("Do your homework or else")?

The French Muse - brocante flea market finds

Less amusing, much more serious things also called such as silverware. I didn't go for the polished, neatly arranged sets (as per the above photograph) ... no I pulled up my sleeves and dug into dirty deep wicker baskets to rummage amidst a hodge podge of tableware and chipped plates to find some gems.

If the hunting is too easy it isn't any fun right?

The French Muse - brocante flea market finds

These two suitcases came home with me. For some reason the colour 'vielle rose' or antique pink called to me throughout the morning. In the back of an unpacked truck overflowing with goodies yet to be put on display was a glimpse of dusty pink and leather. It turns out underneath the other furniture were exactly 10 drawers from an old sewing shop display cabinet (see the first photo above). I didn't even give the seller time to unload his truck before I told him they were mine.

It was 9.05am and I'd only just started but already my arms were full. I must have been a funny sight, tottering down the platane lined avenue dwarfed by a towering stack of falling apart drawers - I just about made it to the car without my arms falling off.

The French Muse - brocante flea market finds

Before living in France I had no idea that such things as crystal bottle stoppers existed. Now I marvel as they twinkle at me catching the little light there is, a trap for magpies such as I.

 The French Muse - brocante flea market finds

Tiny beads and pearls adorn tulle, oh la la, my heart beats faster. Turns out it is a tiny bridal jacket made for a doll. Do I need it - no, I buy it? Mais bien sûr I do!


Another of my kryptonites, Le Petit Echo de la Mode. Inside are diys, housework tips (these are sometimes very helpful or very funny), embroidery patterns and updates on the latest fashions in Paris of the epoque and how best to recreate these for yourself at home.  It is the 1900s paper version of Sweet Paul magazine and just as delicious.

Until next Sunday.... I am going to the land of silk and ribbon for two antique textile fairs....I'll take lots of pics to share with you