My favorite weekend activity here in Biarritz is exploring all of the local antique and flea markets. The markets usually happen once a month, but they happen in so many little local towns that one of my favorites lands on almost every weekend of the month. This weekend was special because a once-a-year brocante, the Fiesta des Brocs, was happening in Sare, a little Basque town about 30 minutes outside of Biarritz just below La Rhune mountain (which we hiked a few weeks ago). We missed it last year because we were traveling, but our good friends Erin and J went and said it was amazing and not to be missed this year. I made sure to not plan any trips this weekend so we would be around for it.
Early morning flea markets are not usually Brent’s favorite activity, but I convinced him to come with me this morning, telling him that it only happened once a year and would be a fun adventure exploring a new local town. We arrived in Sare around 9am and it was raining and vendors were still setting up. (Crazy, right? It’s not like back in the states where markets start at 6am – the vendors here like to take their time and leisurely set up their booths, so 9am at a market here is still considered ‘early’!) We stopped at a cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee and croissant, giving the vendors a bit more time to get set up and for the rain to stop – which it luckily did.
The vendors were setup throughout the streets of this cute little town, and it just kept going and going, winding around and up and down. One of the biggest antique markets I’ve been to yet! Furniture, glassware, silverware, vintage linens, old lamps, jewelry, paintings, anything and everything. The markets I usual going to are somewhat of a combo of flea market and antique market, where I can usually find cheaper things that aren’t neccessarily antiques, but still vintage and French but this brocante was mostly all antiques, very fancy, nicer, and a bit more expensive.
Some people think it’s wierd to dig through old stuff, but I love it so much because for me it’s another great way to learn about a culture, take in a bit of history, and find inspiration. Whether it’s through colors of a collection of old glassware, old typography on a game, map, poster, embroidered into a linen, vintage postcards, or graphics on old china, I always feel inspired in some way. I’m always on the hunt for anything with beautiful type on it, and now especially searching for type in French. I love seeing the fonts, the colors, the way old things were designed. As a designer I’m always searching for new sources of inspiration, and antique markets are a great place to find it.
We came home with less of a pile that I usually do, but we still scored a few amazing pieces. Lately I’ve been eyeing vintage seltzer bottles at the last few markets I’ve been to, and today I scored one in the most beautiful shade of blue, with subtle type etched into the front, for about half the price that I’ve been quoted on the last 10 I’ve inquired about. I also found this adorbale embroidered pouch with a bird and ‘Maman’ (mom) on the front – again love anything with a French word on it. And this rad old wooden box with the most beautiful type on the side, for just 5€! It was an amazing morning and well worth waking up early and making the drive. Can’t wait check it out again next year!