Well this is disappointing! We were so excited to post about our first marche de brocante in the North of France but due the rain, my cell phone got damp and clonked out on me and I couldn't access my pictures. Martin and Johan were so busy buying and hauling stuff to the van that they did not take any pictures of the booths and the people at the event. We will include a few photos of our finds here and perhaps later when I recover my photos from my cell phone, I can post them.
Maroilles is a "petite ville" in the northern part of France. It is a very small village with a population of about 1,500. Located in the northern part of France, Maroilles is part of the French region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. As small as it is, this tiny village which is amazingly quaint, gets filled with up to 80,000 people who come from all over to their annual "marche de brocante." This event is in no way some "block yard sale" or flea market. Yes, you will find a few booths with baby car seats and yard sale type of merchandise, but for the most part it is filled with antiques and vintage items.
We normally drive there the day before as it is possible to start shopping from the dealers who get there on Saturday. We also like to find a place to park before everyone gets there. It is so tiny that we don't bother trying to book a room at a hotel nearby, we just sleep in our van. Johan always makes sure to pack our mattresses, plenty of warm blankets as it is normally cold even in the summer, and something to barbecue. Our friends Steve and Dagmar from Belgium sell at this event and we always park close to their booth so we may join them under their tent the night before and hang out with them, eat, drink and enjoy the merriment.
Well, several times when we've gone there is either drizzly or there are patches of showers, but this time, we actually got plenty of rain. There were very few vendors setting up when we got there and very few showed up before we set up camp to go to sleep. We were worried that some of the dealers who normally come would be dissuaded by the rain. We found very few items to buy the night before so we went to sleep around 11 p.m. so we could again get up at 3 a.m..
It poured during the evening and we just didn't know what to expect. We got up and went to knock on Melissa and Bob's RV and they decided to not go out so early. They had not slept well. Martin Johan and I got on our way, flash light in hand, and were disappointed that not many more dealers had arrived over night but nevertheless started buying a few things. The showers came and went. Sometimes we would stop under someones tent and waited for the rain to subside. We stopped in a little cafe that usually opens early for the event and had some coffee to warm up and some fresh croissants. We didn't know how Martin would react to this craziness of shopping in the rain but he was quite the trooper. We made quite a good team and tried not to get depressed, we just plowed through. Johan and I making the deals and Martin helping hauling our purchases but also tried his luck and practiced a few phrases in French.
Well, in spite of the rain, more dealers did show up and it ended up being a good buying day. We returned to Belgium that evening with a van full of goodies and still in good spirits. The only bad thing was that my phone did get damp and I could not recover my photos right away.
It is quite an experience being there and it is one of my favorite buying places. It is fun and although not a place to find high-end antiques, you can definitely find some reasonably priced items and unusual finds.