On the way to a friend’s house for drinks last night I had to drive through the little village of Sempy, Pas de Calais – home to one of my favourite brocante shops in the area.
JL Meubles Coquette is a second hand shop that stocks a lot of house clearance goods ranging from the ancient to the modern. It’s typical of brocante shops that you’ll find all over France. A huge warehouse of a place with two floors – it is stacked to the rafters with furniture, lights, books, china, glass and all manner of weird and wonderful items, flea market bargains and vintage French furniture like this fabulous old French cooker:
Each time I go I find something new to love and most of my expat friends have at least one item of French furniture from this emporium of second hand goods. It’s not all old, there are some modern pieces and strangely the shop owners are also the area reps for water beds. It is a bit incongruous when you enter and see an early 19th Century armoire with a baroque style clock on top and behind it an enormous plastic water bed!
The owners are really friendly and open to a bit of a bargain! When I popped in yesterday Madame came out of her glass office in the centre of the shop to say hello. I told her I’d written about the “Sempy brocante treasure trove” a month or so ago “Ah” she said “We have had a lot of English come in the last few weeks, even coming here with their vans to buy antiques from France and take furniture back to Angleterre”.
I wandered the aisles which are choc-a-bloc, filled with old school desks and integrated benches, grand armoires, retro kitchen cabinets, marble topped cupboards and huge agricultural lights. I racked my brains thinking about where I could squeeze in a little bit more back home!
The place was quite busy for a Sunday afternoon, mainly French families who are just as keen as the British for a bargain and a bit of yesteryear.
You never know what’s going to be in stock here, the turnover is fairly rapid – but I’ve yet to go in and not find something to recycle or relove…