Brocante, a secret French vintage market with the power of the past

Brocante, a secret French vintage market with the power of the past

May 13, 2014 |  by  |  Art, Spots
About the author
Anouk is like more than really a lot of insanely amounts of music making and listening + vulgar jokes to convince the world she's a boy born in the wrong body. Loves lasagne, the sea, coconuts and whisky.

To me, and many of my friends with scepticism towards technological advances, old stuff has something quite special to it. Whether it’s using real hand-crafted way-too-expensive lavender soap in ancient shapes and sizes, listening to music on vinyl, or wearing clothes originating before the time Sylvie Meis had a working brain; The Old instantly makes everything more interesting and therefore it has my fullest attention.

Cheese and alcohol

I also feel unconditional love for France; the country where alcohol is totally accepted at any time of the day, with crowded campsites occupied by Dutch families bringing their own pindakaas to a country where cheese is a dessert. Not only do I like the arrogant attitude of the inhabitants because YES, they have a good climate, perfect food and a language that sounds like tender sex, they also have these great beaches where you can actually surf and a-m-a-z-i-n-g old furniture. Growing older means getting interested in things that used to bore me to death before. Home decoration is one of them.

Brocante market


Combine old with France and furniture, and enter heaven: the Brocante market. You’re most likely to find proper Brocantes in the Northern part of France, but twice a year two eccentric ladies organise their own secret Brocante in Amsterdam. There’s a marvellous house next to the Sarphatipark owned by a vivid lady called Maria. She once was a popular florist in Amsterdam, and now enjoys her life going to France many times a year with her good friend Lammie.

Both elderly women can be found sauntering through French markets in order to ‘find the currants in the porridge’. These women are able to find only really pretty stuff: little stools, small stairs, old animal masks, school drawings and posters, colourful fabrics, butterfly collections, old toys, silver cutlery, porcelain and so on.

Dreamy the way only children can dream and surrealistic the way reality is.

Open House

Twice a year, since 1998, Maria opens her house to an exclusive audience to sell most of her French treasures. Many visitors are well known stylists for popular magazines like Elle and classy hotels like Villa Augustus (yes, this is a tip!). Her good friend and painter John Biesheuvel transforms her house as though it were the set of a classic cult movie. One time it reminded me of The Science of Sleep: dreamy the way only children can dream and surrealistic the way reality is. Just the experience of walking about this magnificent scenery is worth a visit. Throughout the years I’ve been buying many nice items at Maria’s that have given my house a soul, a face, a heart.

Expect yourself to walk around like a zombie in for a kill. Every bit of what’s being sold is absolutely beautylicious. No point in convincing yourself you might not really need it. This is not about needing things, you just want it to be yours, forever.

Secret Brocante Market

Pro Tip

I only take a certain amount of money to spend, and leave my cards at home. If I wouldn’t be such a genius with a master plan like this, I would’ve risked getting lost in translation and probably ending up broke and homeless afterwards.

Ready to go? Send me an email with a nice drawing attached to it and I might be able to hand to you the coordinates of this little piece of heaven.

Secret Brocante Market

When: May 16-18, 30, 31 and June 1st
Where: Secret, try me

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