Antique Bargain Hunting on Barge Holidays in France
Barge holidays in France provide a great opportunity to go bargain hunting for antiques. Here are a few top tips as to what to look for.
If you're dreaming of barge holidays in France that involve spending lazy days drifting along the river, stopping off to explore ancient towns en route, you might be interested to learn you can indulge a passion for antique hunting at the same time!
Antiques in Abundance
On any of the barge holidays in France, you will typically have the opportunity to explore some truly beautiful and ancient towns on the itinerary. In France, antique collecting is probably not quite as commonplace and widespread as a hobby as it is in the UK, so what this means is that you may have rather more chance of finding a genuine bargain than might be the case back home. Just like in Britain, antiques here can be found in antique shops, charity outlets, online, through the classified ads and of course, in public auctions.
However, in France there are two additional outlets that probably don’t have a British equivalent - The Dépôt Vente and the Brocanteur.
The Dépôt Vente
You’ll see these in most French towns and cities and even sometimes in the smallest villages. They are places where people can take their old and unwanted goods and deposit them for sale. The person running the dépôt will take a percentage commission of any sales they make on vendor’s behalf (paid by the vendor of course – not you).
In France, there is a specific job called a ‘Brocanteur’. These are people who move around public auctions and estate clearances, purchasing old goods in bulk and then taking them to their warehouse, where they will offer them for sale. They are typically different to an antique dealer, in that they will not usually have a plush city centre shop and their items may be more affordable. They also probably will not specialize in any particular type of antique item. Their items are often fairly haphazardly displayed in large warehouses and, once again, you may find the odd real bargain. You can negotiate on the price they are asking and don’t be put off by pretend looks of shock and horror. They will usually have a very substantial mark-up on their asking price and will also usually be very keen to make a sale, which is an opportunity for you.
Obviously if you're visiting on barge holidays in France you are going to be rather limited in terms of the volume of any items you purchase (although some vendors may offer to ship for you – but don’t count on it). Copper and brass second-hand items are usually good value, as are ceramics, porcelain and glass. Jewellery was traditionally also a good buy, although bargains have been fewer over recent years due to the rise in the price of precious metals such as silver and gold.
Exploring the country on one of the many barge holidays in France might give you a real opportunity to have a rake around some ancient items at very reasonable prices. If that’s the sort of thing you enjoy, then you will relish the experience.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways. We can provide you with luxury, all-inclusive barge holidays in France to enjoy the sights of the country's most picturesque waterways.