Located right in the heart of southwestern France, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Toulouse is one of the most remarkable sun destinations in the country. Elegantly combining heritage and lifestyle, the ‘Pink City’ is one of France’s capital city for culture, cuisine and history. From the banks of the Garonne river to the Canal du Midi, passing by the Capitole square and the Cité de l’Espace, Toulouse is a city of contrasts. But it is near the Basilica Saint Aubin that truly beats the heart of the city. Especially for antiques and junk lovers.
If you like taking a walk in the morning inside in a giant bric-a-brac, to dig out old rare books, vintage cotton bed linen, old crockery, paintings, and other knick-knacks, then the Brocante Saint Aubin is the place to be. This flea market is one of the most typical and oldest flea markets in southwestern France, and one of the must-visit Saturday morning flea markets in Toulouse.
Once a week, as many as 70 professional exhibitors gather around the walls of the Basilica Saint Aubin, to sell a bit of everything, but mostly beautiful vintage items from the 1930s to 1980s, and intriguing antiques dating back to the last century. Vintage pieces of furniture, paintings, old books, posters from the 1950s, ornaments, old linen, wrought iron, trinkets and other rarities, are some of the treasures to pore over at the Brocante Saint Aubin or take back home.
Three things that characterize the Brocante Saint Aubin, is the quality of the exhibited goods, its spirit of conviviality and the relatively fair prices charged by its merchants (particularly when compared to Paris). Talking about prices, bargaining is a generally accepted practice. It is therefore not surprising to hear that the Brocante Saint Aubin is a popular destination among booksellers and stallholders in Toulouse, antique shops owners in the region, and other flea market enthusiasts from abroad.
Historically, the Brocante Saint Aubin was located at the entrance of the Saint-Sernin basilica, the largest remaining Romanesque building in the world (built 1080 – 1120). However, the important renovation work undertaken to redevelop the parvis of the basilica forced the flea market organizers to find another place to welcome visitors. It is thus the parvis of the church of Saint-Aubin which was chosen. Since Saint-Aubin was known for hosting a well-attended open-air market on Sunday morning, it did not take long before the Saturday flea market went full swing again. To the delight of its seventy merchants who have been keeping this decades-old tradition.
It is certainly a good thing not to be too agoraphobic since the crowd at the Brocante Saint Aubin can be a bit overwhelming some weekends. But all in all, a trip to the Saint Aubin flea market is its own reward. And as it is the case with all flea markets in southwestern France and Provence, one gets quickly enchanted by this singing and inviting accent, that is a permanent reminiscence of the conviviality and bon vivre Toulousain.
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