The art of trawling French brocantes

The art of trawling French brocantes

Posted by Larissa Cairns on

How do you sum up an inimitable sense of style? And is French style, after all, so inimitable? Perfect imperfections seems to capture the essence of the French approach to creating a home – the chemistry that happens when a look is pulled together with a certain nonchalance underscored by enormous confidence.


It describes a tolerance, even reverence, for pieces that show their age; a feeling for things that are as beautiful as they are useful. It suggests the self-assurance that effortlessly combines old and new, embraces personal quirks, indulges refined preferences and rejects the sterility of soulless designs.



The idea that things, houses or people should aspire to perfection is rendered redundant when trawling through French brocantes. If you too long for the thrills of discovering unusual, one-off pieces and combining the unexpected, here are some of our best advice…


  • Language skills are helpful if hunting abroad however bargaining down by writing on a notepad also works
  • Take a calculator to establish exact prices and note the conversion rate beforehand
  • Use a camera to take photographs of things you might pass but want to come back to later. This is because you might just stumble into something utterly seductive that will chance your entire shopping list
  • Carry a tape measure to ensure you don’t come home with a white elephant
  • Before travelling make notes of your room dimensions
  • Don’t forget the cost of transporting your purchases home



Places to discover and their terminology:


  • Fliperie: sells antique bed and table linen
  • Depot-ventes are warehouses full of furniture and accessories
  • Brocantes and vide-grenier are usually fairs held only for a few days
  • Les Puces are Parisian flea markets held at Places George Brassens, Porte de Montreuil & Saint-Ouen


Image Credits: / Pinterest