Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Vide Greniers - the place to go for antiques

Well after the anticipation of attending 3 vide greniers in one weekend, I was not dissappointed.

On Saturday morning, we had every intention of getting up early to get the bargains, but......well it was Saturday! We finally arrived at the first vide Grenier/Brocante or antiques sale in Dunes only 12km from Auvillar at 10am.

There had been lots of flyers deposited in and around the local villages and we were expecting hoards of people. However, the weather was not kind and when we arrived in the pouring rain there were plenty of parking spaces and few people walking around. Such a shame for the organisers, but great for us!

My husband is not a great lover of shopping, but when it comes to poking through other peoples rubbish, he comes into his own! The trouble is, he is interested in completely different things to me and seems to spend hours at one stall when I have done the whole sale in an hour and a half, bought what I wanted and am ready to leave!

The first stall we came to had exactly what I was looking for; a single antique walnut bed with matching head/footboard. The seller also had a great jam cupbord that would have made a lovely bedside table, but I had to be restrained! Most of the stalls were full of old items that looked like they had just been pulled out of a barn. They were covered in cobwebs, were either rusty or full of woodworm. A real mish mash of stuff, but certainly some bargains to be had.

After dodging the rain under the covered archways for each stall we bought a punnit of Strawberries, loaded the car with our purchase and returned home feeling very pleased.

We sprayed the bed all over with woodworm killer, cleaned it off with white spirit and then rewaxed it in a natural wax. Wow, it now looks fab as does the one I bought on Thursday and both beds are almost identical!

Sunday morning, off we went again, first to Valance d'Agen. This was much more like an English carboot sale, with stalls selling anything from childrens clothes to tomato plants and antiques rescued from the bonfire!

There were a couple of stalls selling good quality antiques at top prices, but we were looking for nice pieces of furniture that needed a bit of TLC at bargain prices.

After just over an hour we had bought two very old firedogs for 10€ and a companion set in wrought iron for 5€ as well as a lovely cupboard in walnut to use as a bedside table for 50€.

On to Auvillar, cars everywhere! I think the village has such a reputation for being old and beautiful, people had come from far and wide to see what was for sale. Strangely enough, the first stall we walked up to again had another lovely walnut cupboard. We negotiated 60€ and walked away happy. This cupboard was not exactly the same as the first we had bought in Valance d'Agen, but it did match an existing piece of furniture we had bought previously at an auction that was held here at Le Farat before we bought the place and had a lovely pink marble top.

The weather stayed dry, Abigail found her school friends and dissappeared off to play while we wandered and bought a few items of fruit and veg from the Sunday market that was also on at the same time being held in the beautiful circular covered grain market in the middle of the village.

We are now in the process of treating both cupboards like the beds for woodworm, before waxing to put into the Chambre du Jardin B&B room.

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