Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bits and Bobbles at the Carpentras Flea Market in France

I went to nearly a dozen flea markets in France, Spain and London this past summer.  Each one delivered something special and unique.  The flea market in Carpentras was one of my favorites.  It was just the right size for me to take my time to explore with about 125 vendors, but not too small to have too little to offer.  I found several buried treasures and met many kind and interesting people there.

Carpentras is about 30 km from Avignon.  Late Sunday mornings a nice flea market unfolds in a lovely tree-lined parking lot-- parking des Platanes.  There are antiques, art, bric-a-brac, vendors with large quantities of collectables, as well as one fairly large vendor with quite a collection of building materials like shutter hardware, old doors, etc.  I found several bargains there which seemed to outweigh expensive collectables.  This is the perfect flea market for someone to dig around and hunt for something special and affordable!

I picked up one, small vintage frame for free while negotiating the purchase of some wooden eggs.

I loved this horse but logistics kept me from thinking too hard about it.

Some of these dolls can be a bit creepy but many are sweet.

My son helped me negotiate to buy the entire box of old thread spools.  These will be perfect shelf brackets.

This guy had thousands of small, vintage wooden dolls from a toy factory that closed up shop. I could only bring myself to buy one, afraid even one wouldn't make it home in one piece.  Lucky for me, it made it home and is now sitting on my husband's dresser in our bedroom. I wonder how he feels about that?  So far, not a word...

I brought five vintage clocks home from Europe. I wish I bought more.  Each one is full of character and color and one of them actually works! The only trouble is the tick-tock sound makes it hard to fall asleep.  

I have lots of ideas for the bottoms of vintage plates and bowls.  The old stamps are terrific. I brought a few home.  We'll see if I can create something with them.  Stay tuned...

The details of these old mirrors, frames and doors are wonderful. 

Who knows what's in this bowl.  The art of flea market shopping is imagining new uses for old things.

I bought a few old, lacy baby clothes to hang in my daughter's room directly from the baby who wore them.  Of course, the baby is now a middle-aged Frenchman.

Beautiful French linens!  Who can resist?  I have a stack of varied linens in the bathroom showing off the pretty details of each unique one.

The small gold frame in the upper left hand corner went home with me and is now hanging in my bedroom in a collage of old frames, a mirror and art

I was tempted to grab the skeleton for Halloween but I was running out of room in my suitcases!

Quite often it was the French at the French fleas who were the most interesting things to look at!

I think every flea market had one of these!

I really liked this painting but it was out of my price range.  I still think about the paintings I didn't buy...Sigh...

Looks like a project for an upholsterer...or, if you're Restoration Hardware, it's ready-to-go!

How fun would this be for the kids to pedal around the neighborhood?!

The famous Marseille soaps!

I feel like I saw the face of this doll all over France.

Creepy clown!

I would love to fill that tall metal canister with hydrangeas and stick it in the living room.

This lady was a hard negotiator.  I bought a bowl from her that broke before it even got on the plane.  Good thing I have ideas for the unbroken, stamped bottom.  Despite her stern attitude towards lowering her price, when my son got a bloody nose, she took care of him like she was his grandmother.  And, she didn't flinch at grabbing one of her nice, linen napkins to wipe his nose.  It's the connections with people and their treasures and the kindness of strangers like this woman that made the whole process of flea market shopping in Europe so enjoyable.  You just don't know what you're going to find or whom you're going to meet.  It's all one big adventure!