Once a year in September, a one of a kind event takes place in the streets of Durtal.
Considered a true cave of Ali Baba by flea market enthusiasts, the Rendez-vous international de la Curiosité et de la Brocante de Durtal (Durtal International Flea Market Fair, also known as Brocante de Durtal) gathers around 450 flea market exhibitors and 20,000 bargain hunters from nearby regions. Spreading along the walls of the city’s castle, Durtal flea market fair is famous for the freshness, abundance and quality of its merchandises.
No wonder why this event nowadays has an international dimension! The Rendez-vous international de la Curiosité et de la Brocante de Durtal is one of the last outdoor antiques fair of this scale and quality in western France, and one of the few remaining in the country. Bargain hunters come as far as Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, the UK, the US and even Japan to attend this event, and try their luck at bringing home something unique. As a matter of facts, Channel 4 even recorded an episode of “The French Collection” during the 2013 edition of the Brocante de Durtal!
During 14 hours, the village of Durtal becomes a true open-air museum: old rare coins, books, silverware, crockery, old clothes, jewelry, ceramic, porcelain, furniture and paintings share the limelight with other anecdotal objects, and the fair’s antique spirit smoothly blends within the historic setting surrounding the castle. Collectors and professionals, connoisseurs and novices, all flock once a year to Durtal to find the rare gem, a great bargain, or harvest the best antiques for their clients.
But above all, the Rendez-vous international de la Curiosité et de la Brocante de Durtal is known for its warm and cheeky atmosphere, where hundreds of vendors, all passionate about their work, skillfully distill their advices to other enthusiasts and passers-by.
To enjoy the Brocante de Durtal, one does not necessarily have to be a skilled bargain hunter with something in mind and a strong knowledge of the antique market! Most visitors to the Durtal Flea Market Faire simply wander among the stalls without anything particular in mind, just enjoying the atmosphere of the flea market. And many of them actually manage to find this little something that will bring a vintage touch to their home. Something truly genuine.
And that’s the thing; Durtal is known for its genuineness and its emotional atmosphere. Most items sold at the Rendez-vous international de la Curiosité et de la Brocante de Durtal directly come from nearby attics, and bring back old memories that don’t leave anyone indifferent. As a matter of facts, it is not uncommon to hear in the middle of a conversation: “My grandfather had the same!”, “do you remember how Grandma used it?” or “I should have kept this object my grand-parents used to own… I now miss it”.
A trip to Durtal’s Rendez-vous international de la Curiosité et de la Brocante is a journey in itself, an opportunity to get to meet your inner child again.
Antiquing Tip Of The Day
Get to the flea market before sunrise. I have struck some of my biggest gold in the dark hours of the morning, so I don’t think twice about paying sometimes a $20 early-admission fee. You have to spend money to make money.
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