In English, terms like into attic sales, flea markets, secondhand, garage sales, car boot sales, all mean cheap prices on used stuff. In French, terms like brasserie, vides greniers, marche aux puces, brocantes, all mean about the same thing.
In 1754, Carouge, just beyond Geneva’s city limits, was granted to Victor Amideus, King of Sardinia. It became a refuge for Catholics, less puritanical Protestants, and even Jews. Its streets are laid on a grid pattern with lots of trees and planters. The city has low Mediterranean style buildings and interior courtyard gardens. We like to go for a stroll there and aren’t the only ones. It’s become a trendy ‘hood.
Some people have a problem with buying or using people’s old stuff. I have no such compunction and am a sucker for these sales. This one didn’t have much furniture (which is fine because I don’t have much extra space), but had a lot of everything else including Mexican food (which is a rarity here). It was great, but perhaps the least spicy Mexican food ever. The Swiss don’t eat spicy food and so most foreign food is toned down for the Swiss market. We didn’t care. I have a supply of assorted hot sauces at the apartment. If you come visit us, please bring more.
We don’t have children, but I wanted to buy some of the toys anyway. When I was young I had one of the Fisher-Price castles like the one below and loved it. It was hard to pass this puppy up.
I think these sales are great places to pick up unusual souvenirs. We’ve had visitors pick up paintings, books, beer steins, cool glasses, tastevins, vintage t-shirts, Swiss army knives and other cool Swiss army gear at the flea market.
I got a couple of Swiss army knives, a couple of old champagne buckets (to use as planters on my balcony), a leather purse big enough to hold my giant camera (super cute for summer), and a Sherlock Holmes book (in French). While I didn’t need any of it, apparently I could live without it.
I love these sales because you never know what you will see. They are like a mini cultural time capsule. Although you might be able to find an old wheel in the US, you probably won’t find some old spraying equipment or watch parts.
- Find Everything From the Everyday To the Eclectic At Geneva’s Plainpalais Flea Market (schwingeninswitzerland.wordpress.com)
- Our Basement Bomb Shelter, Otherwise Known As Our Storage Unit (schwingeninswitzerland.wordpress.com)