What do you want from your holidays? Some say lie on a beach in the sunshine and relax. Others want to walk the streets of new cities. Maybe you would rather enjoy the coolness of art galleries and museums. I quite like the bike, beach and brocante option available many weekends on the Ile de Ré.
This was the scene in La Flotte a few Sundays ago. The regular Brocante is just a few minutes cycle ride from our house in St Martin de Ré. We have been quite lucky at the La Flotte broc. Quite a few things in our house were bought there. Though not these monks…
May is a busy month for brocantes on the island. Ascension Day is always marked with a huge market on the Place de la Republique in St Martin. You can read about it here.
Most villages organise regular brocs but some weekends can be tough. Too many to choose from. Do you peddle to Rivedoux Plage for the broc there and then go up the island to Ars en Ré or Les Portes for another? Or maybe just do one and take it easy on the beach…
Whatever you choose, have a look at our house in St Martin de Ré. We still have some availability this summer and don’t forget the island is lovely in September. Everything is open, it should still be sunny and warm, it just it won’t be as busy.
It was a beautiful sunny day on the Ile de Ré for the the first big holiday weekend of bargain hunting at the island’s various brocantes. Even before nine in the morning buyers and sellers were busy just down the road from our house in St Martin de Ré . My eyes were drawn to a bit of Josephine Baker hair care.
If Bakerfix wasn’t quite what you were after you’d still find it hard to go home empty handed. There were so many stalls full of history.
We couldn’t stay too long though as the annual Ascension Day brocante in St Martin de Ré had been joined this year by a rival Broc in Rivedoux Plage.
This was a much smaller affair but you could at least look out to sea while browsing. That’s the bridge connecting the Ile de Ré to the mainland at La Rochelle inside the fish.
Two brocantes in one day, not bad but there was more to come. Three in fact in the next two days. First up La Noue.
In Sainte Marie-La Noue the brocante stretched along one of the main roads of the village. While at the other end of the island another road was blocked off for the broc in St Clément.
That chicken wasn’t going cheap but the next day in Ars there were plenty of bargains. Someone was clearly thinking summer…
Five brocantes in three days and there are plenty more to come. The island tourist offices have all the details. Our favourite is probably in the next village to us, La Flotte. The next one there is on June 12th.
On the morning the clocks went back it was bright and sunny on the Ile de Ré. Lovely weather for the last big brocante of 2015. Unlike most of the other island villages, St Martin de Ré only has two brocantes every year. One on Ascension Day, the other on the last Sunday in October. A quick update, the 2016 Brocante d’automne is coming up on Sunday October 30th. The 2017 Ascension Day Brocante de Printemps is Thursday May 25th in Saint Martin de Ré.
The whole of the main square, Place de la République, is taken over by stall holders. Some are full time traders, others are just clearing out odds and ends. What’s on sale can cost several thousand euros or just a few cents.
We visited several times during the day, coming away with some genuine vintage finds plus some home grown plants for the garden. There was even an English stall-holder who had driven over the bridge from La Rochelle. He had come from somewhere near Bergerac.
I was particularly impressed by someone’s display of vintage French childrens books.
The next brocante in St Martin de Ré will be on Thursday May 5th 2016. I’m already looking forward to it. If you want to book our house around then click here. If you want to see more about brocantes on the Ile de Ré, click here.
A quick update, the 2016 Brocante d’automne is coming up on Sunday October 30th. The 2017 Ascension Day Brocante de Printemps is Thursday May 25th in Saint Martin de Ré.
These pictures are of another Brocante. One that happens regularly on the harbour at Ars en Ré. We bought a couple of benches here. But we could have created a bit of fake family history. Fancy a few old relatives on your walls? This set would do the job.
Even if you come away empty handed it is always worth a visit. A chance to see how people lived. What people cared about. Occasionally I think how did that get here?