Les Bonnes Affaires – Shopping and Bargain Hunting
The excellent value food and wine will complete most visitors’ shopping lists in Normandy. You might be interested in some antique lace from Alencon and Bayeux (for which you have to be prepared to spend hundreds of euros for a tiny sample). And maybe you could take home some iconic French, nautically inspired, clothing, like blue and white striped sailor shirts – classic for all ages!
But if you like antiques and objets d’art, there can be opportunities to find a bargain at one of the regular auctions, second-hand shops or even at the numerous well established vide-greniers the French ’empty your attic‘ version of UK car boot sales.
Antique dealers from the UK and Paris tour Normandy regularly for the rich source of bargains.
For the nearest main official auction houses in Lisieux, Caen Bayeux and Alencon, check out their calendar of sales on www.interencheres.com. (On the menu go to Meubles et objets d’art, then les vents dans vos regions then enter either one of the towns above or Falaise 14000 + 50km radius and this will come up with the forthcoming dates). They have catalogue lists you can look at online and even pictures of some lots. Prices typically range from 30 to 5000 euros.
Another option is to check out the depôt-ventes such as l’Horloge Penchée in Caen (Route de Paris, Mondeville (48km, 30 miles, 36 minutes).
A depot-vente is a sale warehouse/outlet where locals can take their items and the shop will either buy them outright for resale or sell them to the general public on their behalf for a 35% commission.
For the humble vide-greniers we refer to a list is published annually of all the local sites and times. For example in the Orne region alone there are on average 30 every month – mainly on weekends.