(Empty Attic/Flea Markets)
Vide Greniers are a particularly interesting aspect of French life. They are held most Sundays, usually in the Spring & Autumn months, but sometimes in the Summer, they are advertised on vide-grenier.org or in the Saturday local newspapers.
The objects for sale are put on trestle tables in the winding medieval streets of the villages, so it's an excellent way to see a village you might not have previously considered visiting. Items sold can be anything from ski boots to crockery to chests of drawers to linen to paintings, you never know what will be on offer - or at what price. You are expected to barter - never accept the asking price - it's all part of the fun.
Vide greniers to watch for are those held on the banks of the Canal du Midi, La Somail or Villedaigne or Homps, for example, the setting is wonderful and makes for a lovely stroll in the shade of the Canal's trees.
Bargains do abound - especially on the stalls of locals rather than dealers. The most unusual things are on offer but things to look out for are hand made crocheted bedspreads & monogrammed linen, chrystal glassware & vintage clothes plus things uniquely French such as old magazines, decanters, Limoge china or copper saucepans.
Vide Greniers are usually run by a village committee and the members often organise a bar b que lunch - very basic, sausage in a baguette and a plastic cup of rough wine - but the smell of the bar b que, made on vine wood, is irrestible. If it is a larger village the restaurant or cafe will also be open.
In the Autumn the Vide Greniers are usually combined with some type of fete or harvest celebration so local vegetables or fruit will also be on sale plus, perhaps, some form of entertainment such as a small group playing in the square. The atmosphere is always terrific at these events.
Vide Grenier 'finds'