Category Archives: Intrepid Shopping

La Brocante

One of the great traditions and more wonderful things about life in france is “la brocante”.

La brocante is defined as flea market, bric-a-brac, garage sale or a market for antiques.

DSC02364I have always have liked the idea of la brocante and bartering over old French furniture  with a wiley frenchie wearing a beret on a beautiful French pavement in the sunshine.

Chick Lit, moi?
This image is probably due to the reading of many different chick lit. books. Frequently involving young energetic ladies moving to france and renovating their old romantic French farmhouse and falling in love with the local rustic type.

Or alternatively slightly older dynamic ladies who have successful businesses based in London which specialize in finding old French furniture and whose husband runs away with the diabolical au pair but for whom there remains hope thanks to the handsome guy who owns the flower shop next door.

The possibilities are quite frankly endless where french men, french furniture and  french farmhouses/anything are concerned.


Anyway himself loves brocantes.   He is like a child in a toyshop.

french brocanteWe have a lots of old typewriters and gramophones and things like this at the house.

Anybody know what this is?


Fun for all the family

The kiddies love it too.  There are always a few stands with boxes of toys so they are always able to find some precious treasure. In general it leads to heartfelt disucssions about whether one should pick 3 wee cars at 50 cts each or two books at 1 euro each. They love it and seem to get more out of the experience than buying new toys. Most of the time the people managing the stands are pets and throw in a wee dinosaur for free.

Cherie, what on earth is that?

Plus, there is frequently lots of really weird stuff that people seem to think other people want to buy…in one visit to our local brocante I came across the following:

brocante stuffed snake

stuffed snake

(actually there were two)

french brocante



bare naked ladies (again we have two)

french brocante

 old skis!  perfect for your rustic French cafe/restaurant/whatever

stuffed animal

holy god, another scary scary stuffed (what is it?)

hound from hell I’ll warrant?

french brocante


2nd hand shot bottles.

where did they come from? what will they be used for?

a mystery…

murano glass

100 year old murano glass beads (for interior decoration & women’s jewellery)


and last not but least, my personal favourite:

grumpy woman statue

(she looks like she is thinking “who did I wrong in a previous life to end up here?)

J’adore la brocante!!!!!

Handbag happiness

Am inordinately happy with my new handbag.  It is perfect.  It is small enough to prevent shoulder fatigue due to overfill PLUS it has pucks of pockets for uber organisation.

time for the shopping prayer!

Thank you monoprix mecca for your oblation. In you I have found a sister to one of my favourite Irish emporiums (all hail dunnes stores).  In you I always find a reasonably priced solution, sometimes manifold thereof.

Ahem. I mean Amen.

That said, in my quest to find the perfect handbag there is an element of trial and error.  er. so:

anybody need a really cute little handbage in nearly perfect condition that can camoflage in safari conditions or against early 19th century french tiles?  perfect for that purchase that you don’t want to reveal to your husband/wife just yet)

handbag(completely house trained – can you hear it purring?)

 Apart from that, some essential french phrases for the newbie-in-france multiple handbag buyer:

J’aimes mon sac a main / I like my handbag

Je n’ai pas trop de sacs a mains – n’importe quoi!

I don’t have too many handbags – that’s just silly talking

On ne peut jamais avoir trop de sacs à main – hein?

One can never have too many handbags

Si tu m’aimais tu ne me dirais jamais ce genre de chose

If you loved me you would never say something like that

Ch’ais pas (informal Je ne sais pas)

I don’t know!  ==== (*essential* If asked how much it costs…)