Saturday, June 19, 2010

what we didn't buy in the French charity shops

I don't know if all French charity shops are this flippin' awesome, but it seems that all the ones where my sister lives really are. For one thing, they are absolutely massive and have hundreds of every item under the sun. I'm not a fan of overly organised British charity shops (I think it usually spoils the fun of rummaging and the surprise of finding) but I love the way these French ones have a huge kitchen department, for example, with all the bowls together. All the bowls will be different and numerous enough that you still get the great fun of the rummage. Everything also seems very new/different to me, but maybe if you grew up/lived in France, it would be a bit more old hat? I don't know.
Everything in the French charity shops seemed like it had been in someone's house for a long time before being donated, which makes it seem a bit more special. You definitely don't get the feeling of people having just donated the wear-once outfit they got from Primark or the plastic tat they got five of at Christmas. I could be over romancing things here, mind you! I've always gone a bit ooh-la-la at the thought of anything French... Do you see the big horse's head there? I really wanted that, but (apart from being quite pricey) it would never have fitted in our suitcase.
In some ways, though, French charity shops are not so different from the ones in the UK. Seeing these Full Monty videos made me feel right at home! I always get a bit uneasy when a charity shop doesn't have at least one copy of the Full Monty. It's just not natural.
I resisted this batik... Viking man's head (?) picture. Graham wasn't too keen on it anyway. In fact, nobody but me seemed very keen on it! I stand by my judgement though and think he would be an excellent addition to any home. Just not our home apparently :(
I thought this girl picture was very sweet, if a little cup marked (how do you even get cup marks on a picture?) and dusty round the shells. If she hadn't had that shell missing at the top left, I might not have been able to leave her behind. I'm sure she'll be happier in France anyway, hanging with La Nouvelle Vague.
Stripy stone man made me giggle, but was also resisted for his own good. He didn't speak English.
This charity shop had an enormous art section with lots of good stuff. Graham and I both liked these (magnetic!) signs for Daniel Quatrevaux's decorating company. Apparently my sister was going to get one of these for my Christmas. I wish she had... or that we had bought one for ourselves! I know, I know - where would I put it?

I'm trying to teach myself some restraint when it comes to charity shopping (my life of clutter and dust is starting to get to me) but it can make me feel a bit sad. I'll be back in a bit, though, with a post about all the things I did buy! Yippee!


  1. I used to live in France and never saw a charity shop as fun as this! Great finds.

  2. I love second hand French stuff - you are right it is much better than UK stuff. Or maybe just different. Either way, it's fab! What are charity shops called in France? I know of brocante's and Vide Greniers but not what the French is for charity shops - do let me know so I will have more signs to look out for!

  3. I can only suggest that you both send a friend or relative out there on a long-term reconnaissance mission. My sister has been living in the same area for about seven years, so has had plenty of time to seek out these beauties. We just turn up a couple of times a year to reap the rewards of her hard work!

    Funny you should ask what the French for charity shops is, as I had originally planned to title this post "What is the French for charity shop?" I'm afraid I have no idea! (Oh, and in hindsight, I think most of them might have been in Switzerland, but that is just a technicality!)

  4. Replies
    1. I think these photos are actually from three different charity shops. I couldn't give you directions, but they are all on/near the Swiss/French border near Geneva.


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