Out of Space

One good thing about living in small quarters is that consumerism is always balanced against a reality check. ‘Where are we going to put that?’ This essential question prevents many impulse buys.

Stop right there - don't even think about it

Today we braved the sunny, but bitterly cold weather to browse a brocante at the Cours de Vincennes. I like browsing brocantes – basically a huge collective garage sale – and seeing what stuff people have somehow stuffed away in their homes.

Of course, there are the professional brocanteurs selling antiques, but these open-air affairs still strike me as pretty personal. Where did it all come from? What meaning did the owners derive from such random knick-knacks?

It’s a lot of the same – copious dishware, scuffed wooden tables, questionable artwork, yellowing books. What you’re really looking for are the oddball items, the things that tell a story. Strange figurines, funny furniture, roadside signs.

We weren’t bundled up properly, so there wasn’t much lingering. There’s always next time, though – and the next big find.

What’s your best find at a brocante or flea market? Strangest item you’ve ever seen?

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6 Responses to “Out of Space”


  1. 1 jodie March 8, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Do you think it was stolen to start with, did did someone really buy it new???!! Things that make you wonder!

  2. 3 PigletinFrance March 8, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Love the table! I love going to Brocantes in France. Once you get over all the china and dreadful stuff you can find some real pearls! I am a dreadful hoarder so I try not to go too often… My fave purchase is an old ice book which is now used as a cupboard. Worst purchase is an Art Deco clock that doesn’t work but which I still have up!

    • 4 parisimperfect March 8, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Agreed. It is hard to see over all the dreadful stuff sometimes, but discovering something amazing is always such a treat. I’d have trouble getting rid of an Art Deco clock, too🙂

  3. 5 Alison March 8, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I love going to the markets here and in France as well. I have to be very disciplined as our place is tiny. I can’t say that I have any overly strange finds but I would certainly be tempted by that table!

    • 6 parisimperfect March 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Alison. You said it – discipline is key. We have a tiny apartment, too, so we need to make sure anything we buy is essential (sadly, it’s usually not🙂 ). My husband didn’t think that table even warranted a ‘stop’ to take a photo. Glad I’m not the only one who thought it was funny🙂


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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