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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Carsac Brocante

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Have you dreamed of browsing a French flea market?  In September 2011, I had the perfect opportunity finally to go to French flea markets after 26 years of daydreams.  We arrived in Carsac, France very late on Saturday, September 17.  Within a couple of days we spotted the signs for the Carsac-Alliac Antiquité / Brocante on September 24-25.

"This is the real thing."  

As my sister, Karen, and I entered the parking lot in Carsac filled with authentic architectural salvage, vintage bottles, rustic tools, French silver, antique musical instruments, second-hand furniture, and all kinds of small treasures, she uttered aloud what we were both thinking, "This is the real thing."  Standing in a drizzling rain, we were looking at a real French flea market where locals sold brocante (second-hand goods).  A pouring rain could not have kept us from spending all day there.

There were so many things I wanted to buy, but did not have a way to get them home.  The blue 19th-century Belle Époque container with the spigot will always remain in my memory as the "one that got away."  The iron fireback with Diana, Goddess of Hunt, would be beautiful inset in a stone backsplash over an Aga stove.  

The blue metal gate would be stunning as a door to my third-floor loft area.  I can see the iron fire grate in my fireplace. Alas, only the Belle Époque urn would fit into my carry-on for the flight home.  One day, I will go back to France to flea markets and have a shipping container to collect my treasures.

I did buy three special items, two to sell in Botanic Bleu's first Country French Christmas and one as a birthday present for my sister.  Decision time.  Either I could pack the blue Belle Époque spigoted urn or a pink seltzer bottle for my sister in my carry-on for the flight home.  As I lugged the heavy pink seltzer bottle through the security check-point at the airport, I said to my traveling friend, "If only my sister knew how much I love her." Below is the beautiful pink French vintage seltzer bottle that Karen received for her birthday.  The metal squirting mechanism includes the word Paris.

Botanic Bleu has several small items from French flea markets, Paris shops, and the Paris Object Maison trade show for sale at this year's Country French Christmas sale.  While blue is my favorite color, I love the green glass tray below that came from the Carsac brocante.  The bottom is diamond-cut with the word France in raised letters.  Can't you just see it holding special soaps in a guest bathroom at Christmas?

Another day, I will tell the story about the beautiful blue Limoges stag cognac bottle that I bought here at the Carsac brocante and sold to a friend during Botanic Bleu's first Country French Christmas sale in 2011.

Have you been to French flea markets or are you dreaming of going?  Post a comment telling about what you found or what your plans are.

Until next time, keep dreaming about French flea markets and arrange for a shipping container when you go.