Where to buy Second Hand in Normandy


What could be more eco-friendly than buying second hand, giving new life to something that someone else no longer wants. In France, unlike the UK and other countries, second hand charity or thrift shops are not a big thing but that does not mean there are not plenty of places to buy pre-loved, second-hand goods right here in Normandy. In fact, much of the gite was kitted out this way from furniture to kitchen equipment.


Buying Second Hand in Normandy


The French Equivalent of a Boot Fair, Yard Sale or Trash and Treasure


Almost every larger village or town will have some sort of second hand event at some point in the year and often more than one.  Most are open air although some out of season ones do take place inside.  The public can hire a specific size of pitch for a small fee (sometimes even free) and sell all their unwanted goods.  And to keep you on your toes they go by an amazing variety of names:

Vide Greniers - this means to empty the loft and is the French for Boot Fair.  They are very popular throughout France and you can pick up all sorts of things, even pets. Most of them take place from Easter to October but there are some indoor ones in winter.  If you are staying at Eco-Gites of Lénault and what to go to a Vide Grenier let us know and we will find out if there is a local one.

Brocantes - this term is also used for a boot fair but more often refers to antique sales.  You may also see permanent brocantes which are antique shops or reclaim yards.  The closest brocante to the gite is in Condé-sur Noireau (in fact there are several) and the nearest reclaim yard is just off the road from Aunay-sur-Odon to the A84.

Foires,  braderies or foire aux puces (flea markets) - these tend to have a specific theme so you may have a foire aux vêtements (clothes sale) or foire aux puericulture (baby goods) etc.

Several different books go on sale early in the year, providing details for all the local ones, the "Orange Book" being the most well known and you can pick this up in every supermarket or stationers.  There is also a website which lists them.

Recycling Centre - Fourmis Vertes, Landisacq - Less than half an hour from the gite is this amazing treasure trove of second hand goods. Run by volunteers and a few paid staff the public can take their unwanted goods which are sorted: those good enough to be sold head straight to their huge selling areas whilst others head off to one of their 7 workshops to be mended ready for resale. Anything that cannot be salvaged is sent off to be properly recycled.  It really is an amazing place and saves so much stuff from otherwise ending up in landfill.


Vide Grenier

On the high street


Charity shops are nowhere near as common in France as in the UK.  I have seen a couple of Red Cross shops in Caen and bigger towns may also have an Emmaüs shop (second hand goods sold with money raised for homelessness) or a La Friperie (second hand clothes shops).  But do not expect to see them all along every high street.

Pop-Up Shops - From time to time some charities also take over empty premises for a few days and run short term pop-up charity shops. You may also get large events selling second hand clothes over a short period of time.

Dépôt-ventes are highly regulated establishments where the public can take their goods to be sold (often white goods and furniture).  Once sold the dépôt-vente keeps a percentage of the money paid, the remainder going to the vendor.  Anyone buying from a dépôt-vente can return goods within a week if they are found to be faulty.

All Livres - this is a large seller of second hand books in Flers and includes a section of English books which me have just added a lot of our books to. Profits are used to help people with disabilities.




As well as internationally known sites such as Ebay, the French have LeBonCoin (The Good Corner) where you can buy pretty much anything even houses, holidays and animals.

Facebook Groups - you will find loads of selling groups on the platform, both English and French speaking.


What's your favourite place in Normandy to buy second-hand?

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Buying Second hand in Normandy




Comment by Cheryl Pasquier

Brocantes (boot sales) are hugely popular in the North of France and if you go to the local tourist office, you can buy a print out (for €1) for the whole season to know where to go each week - the country ones are lovely as you can make it a day out exploring the surrounding area, and they often have pony rides/BBQ etc. They're a full day event, unlike the UK ones which generally finish at lunchtime. https://vide-greniers.org give you a list online but I don't know how complete it is

Comment by Kids of the Wild

Interesting that there are so few high street charity shops in France. I wonder why? Or maybe we are a bit OTT about it over here?!