Vide grenier – empty attic

It seems that many Countries have something like a vide grenier or empty attic. In some places they may be a car boot sale, yard sale, garage sale, block sale… Here in France we empty our attics which are much more common than a garage and the village is invited to put out their merchandise. Of course there are always a few new things, and an artist or two but most of what is on display will be items in search of a new home.

Metal sculpting
Metal sculpting
More metal sculpture
More metal sculpture

While most of the vide greniers take place from early spring and throughout the summer, you can find them year around if you search. There are websites where you can look to see what is available in the area you want and the one that comes to mind quickly is They will have other information such as Brocantes (second-hand) which may include more antiques but DO NOT ASSUME! The best way is to check it out for yourself. There is always a group within the village that will host it and charge a few euros for the space to help raise funds. The same group will host the refreshment bar or buvette.

One persons treasure...
One persons treasure…

The next one in this village is on 25 May and will be hosted by the SAPEURS/POMPIERS or Emergency Services/Fire Fighters. They always have the largest turnout for vendors and customers and I would rank their buvette at the top of the list.

Old instruments...
Old instruments…
Moulins (Mills) and more
Moulins (Mills) and more
phonograph, balance
Grilling sausages...
Grilling sausages…
more treasures
more treasures
Soap racing
Soap racing 14 Mai

The races on 14 May offer a bit of a demonstration today. As you can see from these photos, no two entries are alike.


Of course this is a great opportunity to socialise with friends and neighbours. As more tourists arrive for the season their ranks will swell at the greniers. Not to mention, some of the vendors come from other villages and people do travel to greniers outside their home village frequently. The activities culminate in a dance which goes until the wee hours… Get your dancing shoes on!




32 thoughts on “Vide grenier – empty attic

  1. This looks incredible…such old antiques ~ memories of times from long ago, that would be so much fun to look around and just get lost in (and probably spend a lot of money). Great post and write-up. I think looking at the European style of “yard sale” is different just because of some of the things I saw in your photos I would imagine would not be available in the States. Very cool.

    1. You are right! It is nothing like the states and I should know. I left there nearly eight years ago. I am glad if you enjoyed the post. I live right across the river from today’s event so I don’t even need to get in the car. It is such a community event. I love it!

      1. Nothing quite like seeing something familiar, yet so new and interesting to enjoy a new place/culture. Enjoy the day!

  2. Interesting to learn about these. I imagine there could be some great finds for antique lovers. And perhaps a fair amount of ‘junk’ too. 😉 But what fun looking around would be!

    1. It is another ‘excuse’ for socialising as if we needed one. Yes there is plenty of junk but one man’s treasure … 😉

    1. I rarely buy anything but it is fun and I even got a post out of it. My friend Rita loves to go to these when she comes and we often hit several of them. xxx

      1. Today’s wasn’t the biggest one. That will be on the 25th in our village. It is just a bit of fun with friends and neighbours. 😉 xxx

  3. sounds like a great day, I love looking for little treasures of interest. To end the day dancing – how wonderful x

  4. What’s more fun than nosing around other people’s stuff? You never know what you might find…..but like you and Christine, I rarely buy…I just nose around…and chat…and nose around….

  5. Lea we are off to a local market in the nearest small village today. I know we won’t find the same treasures as you have here. My daughter collects old keys. She finds them beautiful and so she loved that sculpture. We love finding something old and my husband collects old furniture to fix and so the market are always a treat for us. just that feeling of finding something special.

    1. Kath, local markets are fun. We have those as well but they are more for buying food etc. The old keys are charming and many of these old houses still use them. I don’t have the big key to my front door but two other locks were added and those are what the previous owners used. I never use more than the top lock. However, there is one old key to my back terrace door which I have never taken out. It stays on the inside in case one should want to lock it. I never have. My friend Rita bought an antique book press years ago at the first vide grenier she attended. We still laugh about that as it weighed a ton and she could not get it back to California. It sat in my attic until a young artist friend took it off my hands. Ah, the stories… 😉

      1. My daughter found some keys, not real ornate but still ones she likes and I found a retro wooden cheese board with a knife and two carved grooves on one side to put the crackers in. The kids bought it for me as an early Mothers day present and we then had lunch in a quirky country pub across the road from the markets. I sipped on a wine, we ate home made burgers and I enjoyed being with my family as for next week on mothers day we won’t all be together, So I had it early and it was a wonderful day.

      2. It sounds like a lovely day and who could ask for more? As for the key/s, I shall keep a look out on the 25th. No promises but will look. I do buy used DVD’s in French to help my learning and a few books of course. Did you notice the old camera on one of those tables? I thought your husband might like that as it looks like it is right out of those early movies.

      3. We love anything old or antique and today there were so many little tables with gorgeous collectables. I can only imagine how wonderful, by your photos your markets would be. The lady thought it sweet that I liked second hand gifts for mothers day…the best kind I think.

      4. Second hand is also second loved! 😉 Well my house and most of what is in it are at least second hand! Why buy and have to break in something that nobody has loved? :))

  6. Lea, wouldn’t I love to have a look around that sale. Perhaps a few antiques to be found there? If not, I bet it would still be fun to explore and mill about with everyone. 😀

    1. Oh yes Jennifer, there are always some real finds, but often not in my budget or just not practical for my little house. Yes, you are right, the best part for me is the socialising. Of course it does go on until the wee hours of the morning with the music and dancing… 🙂

  7. My friends took me to an ‘Emmaus’ in France, a brand new experience for me, and it looked something like your photos in places – wonderful pics Léa 🙂

    1. I’ve been to two different Emmaus but they must have been smaller than the one you mention. However, we do have many trocs. Some might call those antique houses and rarely do you see such things as clothing there which Emmaus has in bunches. Thanks Polly! 🙂

  8. It’s amazing to see the kinds of things that end up in people’s attics. There are so many beautiful antiques and sculptures. I love the old record player, the camera, and the horns. Just looking at these things can bring you back in time in a way.

    1. Sheila, there was so much more there than what I could show in a post. There were old magazines and one had the late Princess Grace with her first child as a newborn. There were many older than that as well. There is something there for everyone! But most of all, the fun!

      1. Yes. I do believe that ‘time travel’ is one of the benefits of living in Europe! 🙂 There are cobblestone streets, very old buildings, castles and even a stretch of Via Domita exposed and I sit by it and have a café about once a week.

  9. my favorite pass time, visiting memories of time gone by 🙂
    I would be there in a heartbeat if I could

    1. A dear friend comes to visit most every year and we have to visit at least one or two as she is addicted to them. They can be fun as you never know what you will find and the socialising is the best!

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