31 May 2012

The French Flea Market and Finding Props

The French flea markets are a great source for props… by props I mean those objets that we consider photo worthy. I am always on the look out for interesting props… pieces that I can use for styling a room and creating vignettes. Generally I search for things of a worn nature, that show a patina and reflect an antique feel. ‘One man’s throwaway is another man’s treasure’… that has always been my mantra when shopping in flea markets and it describes the French brocante perfectly.  I think the French must have a laugh when they see me bargaining over what they would consider junk… It’s lucky for me that the French don’t throw anything away… everything recycles around the markets again and again… I admire their tenacity to drag car loads of old wares from market to market… setting up their stands… selling all day… and when sales are down… packing it all up and carting it home. I prefer my role… admiring, taking snaps and occasionally buying… so much easier.

In the photograph above you can see my latest madness… the birdcage… Don’t ask me why I had to have it… I just did… I think it was the faded white paintwork and the turrets on each of the four corners. When I brought the cage home I plonked it in front of our coffee tables….and thought I would find a more permanent home later….  then I decided if I added bunches of garden roses… it would look pretty where it was… an ensemble of whites… Objects have a way of finding their rightful spot… and often the less we think about placement, the better it works out. When I look at this scene I see all my flea market finds… the iron star, the glass cloches… even the roses are in old jam jars that I found at the market.

My other find was this book about the gardens in the Loire. I bought it really for the cover… the textured brown paper, the gold print and the bordered sepia image. Will I ever wade through and read it?… I like to think so but realistically, that much French … it probably won’t happen… I will try and understand snippets… and if I get that far, it will be a bonus… The photograph does not do Aux Jardins de la Loire justice… it’s the kind of book… you want to touch… to feel the magic of real paper… the luxury of thick, hand cut pages… That is true beauty.

If you are in Provence don’t miss the Saturday morning market in Villeneuve-les-Avignons… There is no proper address I can give you … Once you reach Avignon, cross the Rhône river and follow the signs to Villeneuve-les-Avignon… the market is in the car park… Can you tell… I can’t wait to go back… xv

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Wish I could get there. It sounds lovely. OOh I do love those glass cloches,alas can’t find one here in my price range. The birdcage is so unusual with the turrets on the corners. I think roses inside will look really nice. xx

Sarah B

I’d have had to bring that birdcage home as well – it’s divine! I think I’d be beside myself with excitement if I were ever lucky enough to attend a brocante. I hope it happens one day :)

Heather in Arles

It’s the turrets! It’s like a little Turkish palais for birds. :)

And I don’t know how you found the cloches–I have never, ever seen ONE let alone so many beauties…


Heather, The cloche were all together, blackened and covered with soot… they had escaped a fire… I took a chance, washed them up … and there they are… Just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.. xv

Karen in CT

.. of course the birdcage is perfect … one would have to have it, a definite must !!! … it’s a beauty … good post, thanks as always, Karen in CT


Wow Vicki – A little different to the Fleamarkets in Aussie Land!?! I dream of a Fleamarket like that – I guess I will just have to be happy with the Garage Sales & Tip Shops for now. We have our pet places though & find some gorgeous treasures – going out again on Saturday early morning to find the bargains! Going west of the coast is the secret sometimes!
Happy Fleamarketing in France – think of us over here in Oz – sometimes :) please – I will make it back one day!!



All these are really lovely, I would have had to buy them all too! The birdcage is such an unusual one, and how lucky you were to find SO many cloche…fabulous!


It looks lovely I wish I was there. I love all the cloches. I love cloches I have them throughout my home



I love the *all white* color story Vicky. I’m trying to implement that in my country home, but I find it difficult to do as I do like a *splash of color* here and there…

Enjoy the next market….can’t wait for new photos


Mary Ellen

I look forward to my daily piece of France…….thank you for taking the time to photograph and share your life with us. I too would have snatched up the birdcage, only to listen to my daughter “What are you going to do with that thing Mother?”
Like all of the other ladies, I have never found a cloche yet either….I will though…..patience and perseverance will win!!!!!!!

Victoria Athens

Lovely items, beautiful together. I also am a cloche fan. I have a number of them but, alas, they are all new. Your collection is fabulous.

Jeanne McKay Hartmann

That birdcage is amazing – I can see why you had to have it! There’s nothing I love more than a treasure hunt at a French brocante! I love the little bits and pieces I’ve found over the years. Congratulations on your fabulous finds!


We will be in Paris the first part of July but I’m not sure if we will be able to get to Provence on Saturday. We will be heading to Belgium that day.. maybe we can do both? I’ll have to look in to the distances from place to place. Love the bird cage Vicki!


Sarah Malone

I’m looking for a birdcage to hang up against a pair of old shutters on the exterior of my home. I saw one on a belgian country home and it was so cute! Thanks for sharing!

Peggy Braswell

Be still my heart-things I adore, cloches, birdcages, stars, roses, books + that is just a start. More please. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com


Wonderful finds!
Love the bird cage too.

My finds at those local Brocantes and vide greniers were not as beautiful as yours… I think I was just overwhelmed because it was my first trip to them.

I hope to go back next spring for the Brocante in Rauzon, it was terrific, and of course I left all the treasures there!!


Perfect photo Vicki! You have the eye on the cutting edge always. You can make anything looks edible and clickable:) Love this post!


Oh I don’t have to ask why you bought that birdcage….it’s perfect in your home! I love the vignette with the cloches and roses. Parfait my dear.

Paris Rendez-vous

Oh…if only I could find “Aux les Jardins de la Loire”…what perfect papers to print on. I’m on the hunt…and I’m sure I’ll find something devine. Beautiful post as always Vicki.

Jeanne @ Collage of LIfe

Vicki…I think you definitely have to come to Vietnam…if only for the birdcages. Yours is a beauty. :)
I watched a TV show the other night, ‘Trash to Treasure’, I think BBC…it was fun to see other people
get excited about things they discovered. A keen eye can certainly turn something to treasure. You have that eye. :)

Mary Jo

You are so lucky to have such gorgeous “props” so readily available at your flea market Vicki! Although I think I may look back and miss the beachy finds one day…

xo Mary Jo


I can’t wait to go to the market in Avignon!! I love the birdcage you found…and I love your blog Vicki!!!


:) T


Love the birdcage and the book. And the vignette of the cloches, birdcage and iron star is beautiful. Those beautiful white roses add the perfect final touch. Exactly…one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. A good thing the French don’t throw anything away.

trish Murphy

I love the birdcage and I remember your post about those cloches and you cleaning them.They look fabulous what a find at a flea market.I would just love to be at a flea market right now!


Oh Vicki, my heart is all a-flutter in faraway Hobart, Australia. What a divine vignette you have created. The star is just stunning – is it heavy? I adore the cloches – an impressive collection. I now have two! But the birdcage is the stunning pièce de résistance. You lucky duck! I would have snapped it up as well. In a trice. I am gazing at my two in the traditional form – they always make me smile. Thanks so much for sharing these beauties with us, Gorgeous! J x


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