Brocante - where to buy Antique and Vintage in Southern France / by Ginevra Held

The term "Brocante" in French refers to both open air markets and brick and mortar stores where one can find vintage and antique furniture and homewares. From 14 Juillet (Bastille Day) to 15 August there are numerous open air Brocantes in the Dordogne. At an open air market numerous vendors display their wares in the open spaces of the village, usually where the village park is located.  Prices and quality of wares vary widely.  Sometimes you are on the hunt and know what you want, other times you amble along and make a discovery. This year I've been interested in chairs and mirrors in the style of Louis XVI. So far, the villages of Eymet, Issigeac, and Monpazier have each had their own Brocante fair, one each weekend.  The vendors are ready to bargain. You can ask the price of something if you are indeed interested and then ask them their "meilleur prix" - best price.  If its still too much, walk away....and see if they lower their price!  I got an armchair in the style of Louis XVI, made in the 1960's from a vendor in Eymet.  It started at 150, went to 120, and then down to 100.  He said take it for 100 so he doesn't have to drag it home! Uh yea, no problem - let me get that off your hands sir.  Its a nice piece, that he stripped of old upholstery.  So its white with burlap, a look I'm into now, but with the possibility of re-upholstery later.

I've also come upon a lovely brick and mortar Brocante in Eymet with a wonderful brocanteur who has been more than happy to chat with me in French (though I am sure he speaks perfect English.)  I have purchased two Louis XVI side chairs from him, a little Marrianne bust, and a Louis XV mirror.  He is more than happy to talk antiques with me.  I've also told him I am looking for a sunburst mirror.  Its nice to develop a relationship with a Brocanteur because then they can be on the lookout for you!