Update 20 March: If you missed this month's brocante, plan to attend the next Foire Nationale a la Brocante et aux Jambons in September. For more information, contact SNCAO at 18 rue de Provence, 75009 Paris or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're in Paris and looking for a fantastic shopping experience, check out the Foire Nationale a la Brocante et aux Jambons. Now in its 72nd year, the famous fair extends through Sunday, 19 March at Ile de Chatou. Antiques dealers travel from all over France to participate in the fair, scheduled each March and September. The brocante features a fabulous array of provincial household items, as well as high-end antiques. Some superb bargains are available, not to mention the delicious hams and unique lunch specials! And don't be surprised if you hear English being spoken all around you, as the brocante is a popular destination for American and British antique-lovers.
Savvy shoppers may discover some unusual old items that can be repurposed for modern usage, when guided by a bit of wit and imagination. Among my favourite finds at this week's treasure hunt are a stained glass doorway and side panels, which once graced a spiral staircase entrance in a Paris mansion; an exquisite 1930s chandelier with original peachy-bronze coloured crystals and two wrought-iron and pewter candleholders used when decanting fine wine in a Burgundy cave (that's wine cellar in French). You won't be disappointed with the wide selection of choice goods available at Chatou! Antiques experts are on hand to answer your questions and verify origin and authenticity of specific items.
Drive or take a taxi from Paris or ride the RER train to Gare de Chatou Croissy and walk a few blocks, then cross the bridge to Ile de Chatou. The brocante is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is five euros. Happy hunting!