who’s that girl?

Bonjour mes chères amies and happy labor day. i hope you’re having what’s left of a great weekend. here in france the day is coming to a close but i wanted to stop by and share ours before a new day dawns and the weekend fades away.

claudia and i decided to take roadtrip to one of the biggest flea marktets in france. sadly no, this is not our car, but trucks like this are de rigueur for vendors who descended on the little ville de lille this weekend.

we’ve talked about going for years but there was always something else to do.  so we finally hit the road for what was a legendary experience.

it’s known as a braderie, and it’s been going on since the 12th century on the first weekend of september. ten thousand people gather for what can be described as no less than a fleamarket and mussel fest. it’s a gentle takeover of every single street, nook and cranny and is lined with vendors whose treasures continue to astound and amaze me.

we got there a day early since we heard that setup started early and the crowds weren’t there yet.

but it didn’t take long and by sunrise it was on overdrive.

the sheer magnitude was almost incomprehensible. hard to believe it could be so organized in hundreds of tiny streets and parks. but then if you’re doing it for a few hundred years it’s probably child’s play!

of course there was something for everyone and i had to keep focused for what to shop for.

i’m a sucker for all things boudoir so bikes and sleighs were out unfortunately. but sometimes it’s just as much fun to have the pics as the real thing since, as my guy says, you can’t buy it all!

we had rolling carts and bubble and when they were full, we were way done. we think we walked 10 hours both days!

it was worth it, cause tonight we’re going through our stash and it’s a little like christmas.

as i started putting up pics tonight i realized that for me the fleas really tell a story. and they tell a different one to each of us.  it was crazy what some people were carrying out! for me it’s about that girl. the one who lived a life i romanticize for it’s beauty and detail.  i love to imagine the things she had and did, from an era that seems like a mysterious and glamorous dream.

i wonder about what she wore (or didn’t)!

her friends

the pretty powder boxes that every chic femme fatale had.

her dressing table and what the bottles held. was her life so different from ours?

her compacts

her attitude

the way she traveled

and where she went

how she decorated

and what she read

whose call she waited for

the letters she wrote

and who she loved

and what made her happy?

and how did she end up in my hand?

well that’s enough dreaming for tonight. it’s such a gift that the people of france preserve so much living history. i’ll never get over the markets and every single time i go it’s both fresh and old. can’t wait to do it again tomorrow, we’re shopping the dealer day at clignancourt. et alors, ic’est midnuit. have a bon nuit and sweet dreams!


September 2, 2012. Antique Shopping, flea markets, Fleamarkets, France, Lille.


  1. Jennifer Kellow replied:

    WOW!!! Like heaven!!!!


  2. Nikon replied:

    Oh my God, that is so amazing! Talk about sensory overload :)
    I’d want one of each!


  3. Connie replied:

    Oh! This is really wonderful!! I often think about the people that first owned the second hand objects that I buy. You really took this to another level. Superbe!


  4. Mom replied:

    I wish you could replace the nightstands that were sent off. Everything here seems too bulky! LOL


  5. Smalltown Me replied:

    oh, oh, I am in love with everything!


  6. nancy replied:

    you absolutely live a DREAM-IE life–thanks again and again for sharing….


  7. Julie replied:



  8. Paris Rendez-vous replied:

    Cute post Claudia….and you’re off again today! Bon chance with your explorations!


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  10. renee finberg replied:

    great post
    love the powder boxes, the trunks and the
    fabulous dressing chair!!



  11. Jean replied:

    Love those powder boxes! (So does Clare) Hope you picked up a few. Looks fun, and a lot less hot than Surly-Sorgue (as Clare calls it). Wish we were there.


  12. Julie Light replied:

    This flea market looks like something one would only see in the movies! Absolutely fabulous…I don’t know how one would restrain themselves but the almighty dollar might become an issue at some point, LOL.
    I often wonder who owned some of the antiques I have and what these people were like. It’s so sad when I see family photos at the flea markets…why didn’t their families hang onto them?
    Have a fabulous day,


  13. linneabylinneanilsson replied:

    I see so many treasures, I love it and wish I could go!!! Beautiful pictures!


  14. Rhonda replied:

    Sigh…you really captured the thrill of France’s brocantes. I would not have been able to absorb it all….so much to see. What an event…I only made it to Clignancourt but that was fine by me. Enjoy your day!!


  15. Peggy Braswell replied:

    what amazing photo’s you captured + Thank you for sharing. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com


  16. Michelle replied:

    I am very interesting the trunks. Thank so much for shareing with us.


  17. heather b replied:

    A magical post! Thank you for sharing and making me wonder about the girl who wore my collection of vintage hats. What a thought…cheers!


  18. Dad replied:

    You make me wish we were all still together in France. Love your posts and pix.


  19. Wilda replied:

    Oh my goodness! And now Lille’s famous Braderie is on my “bucket” list! How glorious! Thank you for sharing!


  20. Carina replied:

    Isn’t Lille just so wonderful. I’m enjoying your photos so much as by the time we arrived the crowds were thick and it was hard to capture. I can tell you the car on the trailer in the second photo had sold by the time we passed it at 2pm. :) Can’t wait for Lille 2013.


  21. Rita Marquez replied:

    I love you photos
    Especially the powder boxes
    I miss being in France and my little petite fille who is 12
    wants to be a designer a la Coco Chanel!
    I brought her to Paris last summer.
    She wants to redo her room now with a Paris theme.
    This is my first blog ever!
    A shop owner on the oregon coast – French ex pat with a little gift shop turned me on to your blog- I am enjoying it
    Thank you -Rita


  22. Sandra Conti replied:

    If this is the last thing I ever see then it’s enough! How beautiful, how me!!


  23. Sandra Conti replied:

    Wonderful, gorgeous, a little bit of Franch without the jet,…how gorgeous these things really are!! Thank you for sharing!!


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