Vide Grenier in France

Garage sale? – are you selling your garage?

Nutmeg loves the fact that the French language is descriptive in nature. Vide grenier literally translates into “empty attic”, in other words, a chance to rid your attic of used stuff. Now does that not make sense?

In France, as in North America, the vide grenier season begins in April and runs well through October.  In some villages, there may even be more than one sale in a year – multiple occasions to empty that attic…



These are sales on a village scale, with a festive atmosphere. Typically, vendors secure a spot by paying a nominal fee to the local town hall (marie).  The wares for sale, oscillate between treasures and terrors. If you are searching for a specific item, it is best to make sure you are a knowledgeable buyer. On the other hand, if you are not searching, but merely observing this is a fabulous venue – attended by young, old, professionals and neophytes. All of the activity is surrounded by a fair like atmosphere involving kid activities and food trucks dispensing pizza, churros and other nutritionally questionable treats.

Vide Grenier

A bit of terminology for those of you who might be neophytes or casual observers:

    • Antique = this term typically refers to objects over 100 years in age. The rarity of the objects, craftsmanship or materials typically drive the price.
    • Bric à Brac = generally refers to small objects – trinkets.
    • Brocante – Collectables = used to describe vintage goods and clothing for sale – there is no regulation on the term, so the variation in offerings is broad.
    • Car boot sale = the origin of this one is likely British. No fancy stand required just the trunk of your car.
    • Garage saleYard saleRummage saleTag sale = are all essentially the same idea, these can be individual events or may include several neighbours.
    • Fire sale = might be slightly obvious.
    • Flea Market or in French Marché aux Puces = these are typically larger gatherings offering used goods for sale.  These markets are often frequented by professionals who are buying and selling.
    • Junk sale  = might be the most honest description of all of the above.

Vide Grenier

Whether you are a buyer or not, these events are a fun outing, and you never know what treasure you may uncover at a vide grenier. Here, are a few websites to help you find a sale near you:

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