buying french antiques at Chatou

by Sharon Santoni

antiques at the chatou brocante fair

 

We have come to the first french antiques and  brocante fair of the year and without a doubt my favourite.  La Foire de Chatou, or the Chatou Ham and Brocante Fair takes place twice a year on the west of Paris, and gathers hundreds of France’s best antique dealers to show off their wares for a  whole ten days each time.  Why ‘Ham & Brocante’?  … because there are so many places to eat around the fair, with a big tradition for the stands selling cured hams …yum!  In fact one of the first things you’ll notice is the tables of vendors sitting down together for coffee, or lunch, or tea, or a glass of wine … you’ll see, this relaxed atmosphere is quite contagious

The great thing about the fair is that it lasts for ten days so you can go more than once, and know that there’ll be fresh stuff to see, as  displays are renewed during the fair as items sell.

antiques at the chatou brocante fair

This year I was invited to be part of their media team and to share some of my favourite stands … hmmm, that was actually a hard call because there are so many that I love.  I shop here alone, with friends or with clients, but invariably come home with some new treasure in the boot of the car.  At Chatou I have bought paintings; textiles, tableware and garden furniture.  This year I intend to take some time to look at the antique and vintage jewellery stands.

antiques at the chatou brocante fair

If you are able to get the fair, and have never been before I thought you may like a few insider tips:

First things first – get your bearings …. as you walk through the gate and purchase your ticket, be sure to pick up the little map of the fair.  And if you buy something to big to carry, or if you want to go back for a second look at a stand, be sure to mark the spot with a cross on your map!

Refuel often –  there is enough at the fair to keep you happy all day long, so pace yourself.  Take the time to stop for a coffee, or a drink, to enjoy lunch, and another pause in the afternoon.  Chatou is all about enjoying the atmosphere, you’ll soon get the hang of it

antiques at the chatou brocante fair

Talk with the vendors  –  if you see a piece you love, then take the time to talk about it with the dealer… where did it come from?  does it have a story attached? tips for restoration or conservation … they’ll love to help with any information they can give you

If you’re really hesitating about a piece and would like an objective and expert eye, then you can ask for one of the resident specialists to advise you.  They are to be found in the reception at the entrance to the fair, and will be happy to give their professional opinion on the painting or tableware or chair that you have your eye on

antiques at the chatou brocante fair

Come with an empty bag – yup, it’s pretty inevitable that you’ll leave the fair with your arms full so may as well be prepared.  And if you see a piece of furniture that you just can’t live without, and need some help getting it home, then you’ll require a shipper.  The big shippers all collect from the fair. You need to contact them, with details of what you are buying and where it needs to go, and they’ll give you a quote.  It won’t be cheap, but it will be handled with care and a month or two later that treasure will be on your doorstep.  There are several transporters to choose from, most are very good.  Personally I have worked for years with Alan Franklin, and I appreciate their helpful staff and professionalism.

antiques at the chatou brocante fair

Enjoy!  Most of all savour every moment.  Don’t leave with any regrets, there’s no point.   If you missed an opportunity this time, then just come back and find some other treasure to purchase instead

antiques at the chatou brocante fair

And if you would like to get a longer taste of all the fair can offer, then take a look at the little video that we shot at Chatou this time last year.

Foire de Chatou

Ile des Impressionistes  –  Chatou

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23 comments

Pamela Lutrell March 6, 2017 - 8:57 pm

Wow…I would love this place. Thanks for sharing!

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Peggy March 6, 2017 - 9:09 pm

I live vicariously through your blog and wonderful videos. Thank you for sharing!

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joie March 6, 2017 - 9:16 pm

I would be in so much trouble if I could go there. But, I doubt I could afford much, so maybe I would be o.k.
I do have one of those body forms from 1923 used by someone who designed gowns for the Oscars in that period. And I saw in a previous post all the paintings…that is where you couldn’t hold me back. Art hangs in every room in my tiny house…even the bathroom and kitchen. I have to switch them out periodically. Usually I go with the seasons. Oh, maybe next year I could go there.

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Our French Oasis March 6, 2017 - 9:18 pm

How I wish I could find a day free to travel north to Chatou, it looks like such fun and I love the French bowls in the first photo, I have quite a collection already and we use them every single day, but there is always room for more! Hope you have a lot of fun x

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Susan Sands March 6, 2017 - 9:26 pm

My daughter and her husband lived in Bourges last year for several months and when I visited them we had so much fun shopping at this fair! Your pictures and video capture it beautifully!

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sandi March 6, 2017 - 9:26 pm

Your voice on the video is 100% Lady Di! Amazingly so!
Thank you for the tour.

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Taste of France March 6, 2017 - 9:40 pm

Oh what fun!
I went to a brocante last weekend that was 99% junk. But several men were there, with large vans parked in front, and I realized they went and picked out the 1% of stuff that was worth something. It is more satisfying to shop where such experts have assembled worthy items, but the prices are higher, too.
And as for what you say about the sellers taking time to gather at the table for a good meal with wine, I notice time and again, even at humble vide-greniers, that everyone eats seated at a table, with a tablecloth, proper dishes and flatware, and a glass of wine. Some things are sacred!

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Patrice March 6, 2017 - 10:04 pm

Love The Chatou Brocante Fair video
Thank You!

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Debbie Courtney March 6, 2017 - 10:06 pm

This is a lot like our “Round Top” in Texas twice a year, but I am sure The Chatou Brocante Fair came way before Round Top! I would love to come to Paris and shop this fair.

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Cindy March 6, 2017 - 10:15 pm

This fair is on my bucket list. So many lovely things in your photos. Someday I will make it over to France.

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Marilyn March 6, 2017 - 11:38 pm

Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend this show. What a delight and definitely drool worthy. I was struck by the casual atmosphere of vendors and their friends sitting around enjoying a meal or glass of wine together. So very different than in the states.

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franki March 7, 2017 - 12:52 am

So MANY lovelies!!! franki

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Sarah March 7, 2017 - 1:08 am

Chatou is a favorite of ours and have been many times. Just as you say, this fair is the best for taking in the ambiance of the event with it’s food stalls and the amazing variety of treasures to catch one’s eye. I’ve not been since 2014, so it is great to see this post. I can take pleasure vicariously!

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Lana March 7, 2017 - 1:48 am

May I ask if there is a fair you would recommend the week of April 23-30? Will be visiting then … I’ve always wanted to shop at a French fair.

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StitchinSweetSue March 7, 2017 - 2:29 am

those bowls…. swooning across the pond:)

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Blanca M. March 7, 2017 - 4:19 am

Hi Sharon,
Lovely video of one of the things I enjoy most, antiquing! The French Fair is a dream come true!
It was great to see it through your eyes.
You look so chic and elegant.
God bless you,
Blanca

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Dottie monta March 7, 2017 - 5:17 am

That little painting alone is such a treasure! And the linens! Thank you, Sharon, for making this a must-stop next trip over.

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Darina March 7, 2017 - 8:19 am

So inspiring, love this! Such beautiful treasures.

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Julia March 8, 2017 - 2:42 am

Thanks for your post, would love to attend. You said they are held twice a year.. do you know date of next one..

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Maude Ciardi March 9, 2017 - 5:54 pm

Lov
e
Thank you for all your wonderful blogs
You are my very favorite. Would love to meet you one day. I am in Ohio, hoping you will come close one day. You bring the joy of France into my life with all the beautiful information you present

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Lynn March 10, 2017 - 12:17 pm

How lovely – wish I could be there to purchase some of that crockery!

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Boxon May 4, 2017 - 10:06 am

Very like with the linen and the little painting, very charming! Thank you Sharon for giving us this amazing inspiration

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tracy brown September 20, 2019 - 10:45 pm

I never get bored watching the Chateau video. Would love to spend an entire DAY there!

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