Typical fall days

We have been lucky here this year as wonderful weather continues. The days have been warm and we’ve had very little rain. Truly an Indian Summer.

Rain was forecast for both Saturday and Sunday. I had one brocante on Saturday that I would have done if the weather was really nice, but when I woke it was showering and so I chose to stay home and prepare for our departure on the 11th of October.

Sunday was just cloudy and threatening so I headed out planning only two that I felt would be worth the trip. One was near Charles de Gaulle airport and set around a lake. I had never been to Le Thillay and thought it sounded nice. Turns out there were far too many children’s clothes and toys for my liking but managed to find a few little items to make the trip worth while.

From there I headed west and a bit north to Presles. I had never been to this one either and found it better than Le Thillay.

As I wander past stand after stand of children’s clothes and toys at who knows how many brocantes, my eyes are always alert for the little jewels that may be waiting for me. This afternoon I found two little gems that just made me smile. I have no idea what I’ll do with them or even how often I’ll use them, but I loved them the minute they caught my eyes.

The stamp on the bottom dates this piece between 1890-1952

The stamp on the bottom dates this piece between 1890-1952

9.29.2013 - 11


The second piece is also very old and I’ll have to do a little more research on the trademark to date it.

9.29.2013 - 07


9.29.2013 - 08

Both pieces are in incredible condition for their age.

Will I use them or sell them? I’m undecided at the moment. I just wanted to have them.
My son-in-law (aka: my sherpa when he’s with me at the brocantes) made a comment that pretty much says it all. Upon returning from a long day of brocanting he said:

You know it’s not about how much money I spent today, or the treasures I found, as I had so much fun today that I could put everything that I bought in the trash and it would still have been a fantastic experience.  

All the early morning get ups, all the rain-outs, all the ventures into the countryside or to an unknown village tucked out of the beaten path are worth it for the beauty of the scenery, the interchange with the locals, the wonderful things that we can’t afford but spend a few minutes admiring, the little treasures that you can afford to buy and are small enough to bring home with me, the interesting curios from days way gone by that a vendor explains in depth with great pride… and so much more that you just can’t put in to words.

Next Sunday is my grand finale of 2013… Amiens
What a way to end an incredible year for me treasure hunting.
Stay tuned…

Heading uptown…

Funnily enough today there weren’t that many brocantes in the countryside around us. Since we have monthly transport passes for all of Paris, I decided I’d visit a couple of brocantes in upscale neighborhoods of Paris.
What I found was that prices being asked were much higher than in the countryside as the stand prices are much higher than in the villages. And as always, lots and lots of people selling their children’s clothes and toys. The venues were all very, very large I’d guess 400-1200 stands, so there was a lot of fast walking down street after street seeking out treasures in the crowds.

I started at Suresnes (tram stop Belvédère)
Loads and loads of clothes and toys.
Only found one thing:


9.22 Paris - 3


From there I popped back on the Tram #2 to Parc St. Cloud and across the bridge to Boulogne-Billancourt.

Boulogne-Billancourt It was funny to have large streets with modern apartment buildings all around.

Clever idea for a lamp

Clever idea for a lamp

My finds at Boulogne-Billancourt:

From there it was off to the 16th… Place Barcelone:
I only got one thing there but am really pleased with the find:

12 Deetjen fish knives

12 Deetjen fish knives

There was one more brocante in Paris but it was getting late in the day and I had a hankering for some better bargains. On the way in to town on the train, I noticed a brocante at the Maisons Laffitte station. I decided to make an end of the day sweep on my way home. It was huge and I was pressed for time but managed to get some great buys.

Next weekend doesn’t look too promising as rain is forecast.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed for no rain.

à bientôt

What a way to spend a Birthday!

I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than how I did today. As the name indicates, the village of Triel-sur-Seine is on the banks of the Seine River. The sun was shining and it was a glorious fall day. Finding a brocante is not difficult, but finding parking reasonably near to one is! I consider finding a “good” parking spot a sign of things to come. Today I found a killer little spot maybe 5 minutes walk from the start.

9.21 Triel s: S - 01They weren’t playing “Happy Birthday” but never mind.

Annie came along again as this would be her last opportunity prior to their departure. We found lots of wonderful things, but what I enjoy the most when brocant-ing is listening to the conversations around me as well as bantering back and forth with the vendors about the items they are selling. No one hesitates to peek over your shoulder to see what you’re looking at, or contribute their two centimes on the item or the topic of conversation.

For example, Annie was looking at a boxed set of lovely old knives that were this persons great grand-mother’s. We couldn’t decide if the handles were bone or horn. After a number of submissions by passers-by we decided to go with horn.
Then the question was “can you polish horn”. The son pulled out his iPhone and found yes, you could.
Next question followed… “how”. As he was reading the 5 steps from his iPhone people again stopped to contribute their knowledge on the subject.  These little episodes are such a highlight of the whole brocante experience.

Oh, incase you’re curious, Annie did buy the knives.

Curiosity Item for Today:

Curiosity of the day. Can you tell me what this is?

Curiosity of the day. Can you tell me what this is?

What is this?
And how is it used?
Hint: They are used at family homes dinner tables today.

Here are todays finds:

Sunday 9.15 Double-header

Today was a wonderful fall day. Sunshine and cool temperatures.
As usual St. Leu-la-Fôret was loaded with vendors, but I didn’t find much.

But I found one treasure that made the whole season for me

The Coup of The DayLittle tiny Limoges bedroom slippers.
I saw them from 5 meters away and they were mine in two seconds!

Other finds from St. Leu:

This year the brocante at Lamorlaye fell on the same. I’d have to say I’d rate it as highly as St. Leu, so it was a super day for me.

Finds from Lamorlaye:

Another great day out.
à bientôt

Les Andelys … Curiosity day

This weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the Fall brocante season. Les Andelys is both Saturday and Sunday with normally around 1,500 vendors. I always go Saturday as the Sunday is Saint Leu-la-Fôret another massive favorite of mine.

The only unfortunate thing this year was the weather. We had rain in the morning until about noontime and that resulted in some vendors deciding to go only on Sunday. There were about half the normal amount of stands and Annie & I got good use out of our rain jackets and umbrella, but still ended up finding some really unusual items.

I titled this BLOG “Curiosity day” as I found a number of items that I, nor the vendors for that matter, knew what their purpose was. Therefore, I’ll need your help as I have managed to find out what only one  1 of the 3 items was used for.
Click on each image to read the description.
Let’s get started…

Curiosity Number One:

Curiosity Number OneI thought it was for oil and vinegar, but the pick up tube has only one hole/source.

Curiosity Number Two:

Curiosity Number Two Curiosity Number TwoThis item is 1.5″x1.5″x1.5″

Curiosity Number Three:

This spoon has a hinged cover and dates from the mid-1800s.


One item that really stands out in the French brocantes is the silverware (both solid and plated). It’s so much better quality than what I see in the U.S. It seems like everyone that comes to a brocante with me gets hooked on rummaging through the silver on display and heaped in boxes. There are some real treasures to be found if you’re patient and are OK with making a little effort to polish your treasures.
Annie and I found some real jewels:

Here’s some of my other finds of the day:

We fell upon this last item. As the vendor explained it’s purpose and history I knew I had to have it for my Sherpa:

For my Sherpa...


Finally, opening day of the fall season!

Hooray! September has finally arrived and the brocantes have started up again.
I barely made it!
The weather has turned fall-like overnight.
And now my concern is rain… even showers can effect the vendor turn-out of the smaller brocantes.

There is an Australian couple that will be wintering their boat in the port. In chatting with them, she mentioned that they loved going to brocantes in Holland and Belgium and had been to the big one at Clingancourt in Paris. I invited her to come along with me to the ones in the countryside to expose her to another kind of adventure hunting for treasures. She leapt at the invitation and I advised her of my standard rule: “I wait for no one”… When I say I’m leaving at X hour, if they’re not there, I go. Waiting makes me get anxious about all the treasures I might miss out on. She was right on time. 🙂

Our first stop was Gargenville in the Yvelines on the right bank of the Seine. I had never been to the one on Rue Pasteur and it was really quite good.

Then it was off to the little village of Le Perchay.
Usually I find quite a lot here. Not much this year but still fun for Annie to see another venue.

Our final one of the day was another I’d never been to:  Saint Ouen L’Aumone
Reminded me very much of Cergy’s. Lots and lots of stands, but lots and lots of children’s clothes and toys also!

All in all it was a good opening day, and it was a real pleasure having Annie along.
She was like a wide-eyed child on Christmas morning as I would explain from time to time the history of a particular manufacturer or piece that I’d find during the day. She got some great little treasures. I think she might have caught the bug as she’s anxiously counting the days until next weekend, saying she can’t imagine being any more fun that today.
On verra! as it’s Les Andelys on Saturday and St. Leu-le-Foret on Sunday.
Everyone keep their fingers crossed as showers are forecast for all day Saturday!