Other People’s Old Stuff

Yes, yes, I’m going to go on and on again about how I love brocantes.  In fact, they are one of the two reasons I agreed to move across the ocean to a country where I do not understand the language, the driving rules or why so many stores advertise the fact that it’s free to come in.


Anyway… brocante.  Flea Market.  Vide Grenier.  Marche aux puces.  Call it what you like, it’s the ultimate in recycling.  Some sellers do it for a living, some rent a space for the day just to get rid of their junk.  Some markets are one enormous garage sale, some are full of serious antiques.  They can be inside old schools or take up grocery store parking lots.  Some towns will shut down the main streets for the day so shoppers don’t have to worry about being run over.


We have our favorites.  Waterloo.  Tournai.  The Grand Large in Mons.  And the ultimate, Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris.  We have ones we will never attend again (I’m looking at you, Brussels).  We haven’t yet made it to Tongeren, but once we do, I’m sure it will head to the top of the list.  You never know what you’ll find, or the kids will find, once you start strolling around the market.


It’s been a few weeks since we’ve been able to get to one.  Damn school projects.  But once the weather warms up, I fully intend to make it a priority, school projects or no.

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My shopping style tends to lean toward if-I-like-it-I’ll-buy-it-then-find-a-place-for-it-later.  I rarely know what I’ll do with something when I pick it up, ask for the price, make Ben haggle for it, then throw down my five Euros.  In fact, I have quite a few things that still don’t have a place.

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But some things have made it to a current spot of honor.  Our walls are slowly filling up. A tabletop now displays my Italian painted wood trays.   A shelf full of various, random knick-knacks has been cleared away for a new collection of beautiful, creamy white and perfectly aged pottery from Maastricht.


Bike license tags from the 70’s


My father’s football number in my kitchen.



And sometimes old things can be made into new things, for instance the old wool military blanket with a huge rip is now a purse and can be found here.


So, yes, I do miss Target, but even they can’t beat the fun of a hunt through a weekly brocante.


Now, if only I could find one with an attached Starbucks…


5 thoughts on “Other People’s Old Stuff

    • I have a hard time with my two, I can’t imagine dragging three with me! I haven’t been to the brocante in Lyon, but I’ll have to add it to my list. There’s a brocante-locating app? I must have it! What is it called?

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