Television shows such as Sun, Sea and Bargain Spotting have sparked an interest in the British public to find antiques abroad and bring them back to sell at a premium. Perhaps the assumption of the show is that the British are a bit savvier when it comes to buying antiques than our European neighbours who seem to have more than they know what to do with.
French flea markets are now becoming the target of British tourists and dealers. Many this September jumped on the Eurostar at St Pancras and for £55 return headed to the annual Grande Braderie flea market at Lille which is just 80 minutes away. The medieval town of Lille is an absolute labyrinth of narrow streets where a treasure trove of shops and street vendors sell high quality items at low prices. The whole town provides a carnivalesque atmosphere of music, food stalls and fun fairs, plus many cafes en route for the traveller to enjoy a glass of wine, tea or coffee and eat mussels and chips which is the local delicacy. The last train leaves for St Pancas at 9.15pm and because of the time difference, travellers get back to London by 10pm.
Unfortunately Sun, Sea and Bargain Spotting has been pulled from the airwaves because, according to Colin Robertson writing in Sun on the 2nd September, 2009, there were accusations of fakery in the production of the show. However, this will not deter the determined British bargain spotter who continues to take the Eurostar in search of antique furniture and bric-a-brac. So whether it’s selling French antique bookcases in Lancashire or London, the British bargain spotter will be on the case.
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