After my visit to France with The Academy, I've decided that the best way to see a foreign country is to visit its markets.
On our first full day in France we woke up early, enjoyed a breakfast of warm croissants, were gifted the most darling straw market bags, and we were on our way to experience our very first French Brocante.
photo credit: @heatherbullard
This particular brocante (flea market) was a special one - so special that Heather actually chose the dates for The Academy so that it would coincide with this brocante in Eymet (pronounced Ee-may). We knew we were in for a treat! I believe there are markets in Eymet throughout the year but this one was special because it was the big one. Teri said it is a "cleaning out of the attic". In preparation we were told this would be a mixture of amazing antique & vintage finds as well as general yard sale fare including whole displays of headless Barbies. Yup.
There were some nerves heading into it because of the language barrier and the fact that we would need to negotiate prices. Terri gave us a few tips to navigate the brocante. First, when you approach a vendor booth/table make sure to say Bonjour to the seller. It's important to acknowledge them first before you browse - otherwise they think you are rude. The word of the day was "Combien?" which means, "how much?" And there are several ways to get an answer on the price - speaking, with a show of fingers (although you have to be careful because pointing your index finger is not 1 but 10 -- they use a thumb for 1), or if all else fails Heather, who thinks of everything, included small notebooks & pencils in our market bags which we could use to communicate price.
As we entered the brocante blocks I came across my very first French crepe stand. Score!
Crepes for everyone!
The setting was beautiful and I knew it was going to be a great day & experience.
Again, there were a little nerves among the group but I think once we broke the ice and made our first purchases it was easy sailing from there!
There was so much to see! It went on for blocks and blocks and I know we didn't see it all. We had a couple hours to roam and it wasn't long enough! And so many wonderful treasures. There were several items I would have grabbed if luggage space hadn't been an issue! :)
We had pleasant interactions with all of the vendors. Some spoke English, but most did not. My little notebook came in super handy while I was trying to determine & negotiate price on some botanical prints. I was going back & forth with the man and neither of us could understand each other. When I pulled out my little notebook & pencil he smiled and laughed with relief!
Part of the purpose for shopping the Brocante was to allow each of us to pick up props & pieces that we could use later for our styling photos. It was a little difficult for me to think of it that way, so I focused on finding pieces that I was drawn to & loved (that's how I always shop antiques) knowing that if I loved it they would work out.
Not only did we get to experience a French Brocante but we also got to do it while wandering the coolest little French town! Just look at all of this amazing character!
Oh the panties! Or rather, bloomers. We got a good giggle over this!
We met for lunch at a restaurant in the town square. We sat outside and and enjoyed a lunch of bread, frites, salad with duck breast & foie gras, and crepes for dessert.
Again, so much character and so many amazing old buildings & roads right there in the square. Here's a peek at what surrounded our view there.
Enjoy this little video of our drive out of town and back home through the countryside!
When we returned to the Chateau we all set our market bags on the steps for a photo shoot. So perfect.
Photo tip: have someone walk in/out of the background of your photo to give it more life.
photo credit: @heatherbullard
And then we sat down & enjoyed the evening as we each took turns sharing our new treasures . . . show and tell.
Here are my finds. I'm loving that copper pot with patina on the inside. Also that framed botanical print has me very happy. A candlestick, pigeon lamps, green glass jar, and an assortment of postcards. One is addressed to someone in the Dordogne and another was sent to Monte Carlo!