In Britain they’re known as ‘car-boot sales’, in the US as ‘garage sales’, but in France as vide greniers (literally: emtpy-attics). In all cases the formula is pretty much the same – people gather somwhere to sell all the junk they don’t want for a knock-down price.
These are not to be confused with brocantes (antiques markets) or marchés aux puces (flea markets) where the majority of stall holders are professionals, or indeed a bourse (exchange / swap event) usually committed to a single commodity such as books or bikes.
Today there’s a vide-grenier in the La Krutenau quartier of Strasbourg and tomorrow there’s a fairly large one going on in Mutzig – a large village to the west of the city.
What’s nice about attending a vide-grenier hereabouts is that it is often a good excuse to have a wander around some of the lesser known villages/quartiers of Alsace, and enjoy the festival atmosphere that the presence of a vide-grenier often brings with it. There’s always ice-cream, beer and tartes-flambées to be had; and in some of the larger towns and villages a little entertainment will often be put on too.
But the question is – how do you find out where and when the next one will be? Well there is a national website listing all the official events in France: vide-greniers.org. The site lists all the upcoming second-hand sales events by date, type and geography and gives you contact details (where appropriate) should you want to set up your own stall.
So there you are – some useful information for once.