How can I dispose of furniture and ceramics?

I have just inherited a three bedroom apartment that is full of furniture (definitely not IKEA stuff but no idea whether they are antiques or simply old) plus numerous collections of objects d'art.

Does anyone know how to go about disposing of these (other than visits to the dechetterie!), I would be happy to engage an agent on a commercial basis if that is what it takes.

Suggestions appreciated.

Indeed David If only.... As Catherine Wales initially remarked, I am amazed that no-one responded at the outset on 7th March, and now when it is far too late there are loads of what would have been most helpful comments. Must dust off my Hindsight PhD for the next time someone leaves me an apartment full of furniture!

Ah Roy truly we live in a land of miracles. You can find all the commissaire priseurs and hôtel des ventes department by department on

A bit like Dickens then - "returned to life". In March when I visited the Hôtel des Ventes it was boarded up and padlocked, and a board with a phone number written on it nailed up. The phone number proved to be non-existent. I suggest that unless one possessed inside knowledge it was a reasonable conclusion that the place was closed.

I asked the question because I had absolutely no knowledge or experience of disposing of antiques. I covered the bases as you put it because there was absolutely NO response from SF members. Necessity therefore drove me to local research, but it would have been so much better to have learnt from other people's experience. Pity about the lack of interest.


Looks like your local Commisaire Priseur and Hôtel des Ventes is alive and well in Bayonne. They had a sale on the 25th.

Agree with Catharine 200%. Added items, 15 min later emails arrive... sold. Haven't been cheated but take precautions; if it sounds too good... you know the rest.

As an ex antiques dealer ( in one of my past UK incarnations) and now an enthusiastic brocante visitor and occasional vide grenier participant I mast agree with Jo Blick's observations.

Around here ( Le Cher ) these events often seem to be more social than mercenary ,though it is quite moving to see the some of the non professional buyers/ sellers who are obviously not there for the aperos and picnics.

Can't really see why you bothered asking the question as you seem to have covered all the bases.

just to add, if you are upset by the way a brocanteur has traded you can

  • complain to them and insist on a refund,
  • you can complain to the placier who records all his brocanteurs details,
  • you can insist on a receipt when you buy from a professional brocanteur and they have to refund you if the goods are not damadged,
  • you can trace them via their siren number.
  • call the local police (not gendarmes) who always deal with market disputes.

Had to reply as we are brocanteurs and are most certainly not crooks and nor are the vast majority of those we know.

If you are offended by high price labels at brocante markets, please try to remember the following:.

  • Secondhand goods have a much higher value in France generally.
  • french people put higher prices on open markets because they barter more often than in the UK
  • There are a few crooks in every profession and as secondhand goods trading requires no formal professional training it's an easy trade for "crooks" to try their hand at. They don't last long here in France though, as real brocanteurs need good reputations to continue trading.
  • It's a very difficult way to make a living and is most certainly not very profitable. It's long hours, early starts and weekend work. Plus not being able to earn a living every time it rains.
  • Also, in France, registration as a brocanteur is a lot more strict than in the UK and professional brocanteurs are easily traced and must stick to selling ONLY secondhand goods unless they are also registered to sell new things as a second listing. If you sell precious metals you need a separate license and you also must have public liability insurance.
  • "Brocantes/Vide Greniers" are very popular and are MIXED markets, with professional brocanteurs being allowed to sell new items, mixed in with usually local and amateur Car Booters (vide greniers)
  • some vide grenier stallholders put hugely inflated prices on their tables because they have amateur experience therefore unrealistic ideas about what they can expect.
  • Markets advertised as just "Brocantes" are more strictly regulated and stallholders are often asked to leave or refused entry by the "placier" because they are selling cheap chinese copies of antiques. This is a popular error made by British market traders.We have spotted more British "crooks" than french ones. They usually fail and go back to the UK after a while.

Most professional brocanteurs do house clearances at fair prices as well and some do removals, like the one you found.

Lastly, I want to remind people that buying and selling reasonably priced secondhand goods is a very sustainable & sound ecological way to help people shift goods and exchange them.

Have messaged you Catherine. No problem Roy. Glad to hear you are sorted out.

Bayonne but sorry - I let the lot go as a job lot

Hi Nola - where are they and can we (SFN) help? Could put a shout out?

Where are you Roy? I know of a family in urgent need of household goods (following a house fire).

Actually I have to disagree re the bon coin. We sell loads of stuff through it and if things are correctly priced they go almost immediately. Much quicker and simpler than ebay (IMHO)!

Thanks for the suggestions. As it happens I tried most of them:

Le boncoin attracts too many scam merchants (Nigerian mainly) and is a waste of time as you say

All the brocantes without exception are crooks, trocants/depot vente even worse

No response from Anglo Info ads

Emmaus couldn't be bothered to collect

Local auction house has closed

Stroke of luck in the end when a friend of the lady who runs a local moving company (and was moving my furniture) bought the lot at a fair price (I did manage to find a valuer)

You can spend a lot of wasted time on le bon coin just like ebay. Call in your local brocantier who may pay you a modest sum for the contents, take it to a depot vente who will sell it (perhaps eventually) for a percentage of the sale price, put the larger pieces through your local auction house (Hôtel des ventes), give away to Emmaus or Secours Catholique. Advertise stuff on Anglo Info which is always full of English people selling junk to other English people.

Am amazed that no one replied to this - I assume that you have sorted out what to do with everything by now? If not - try '' which is a great way to find and sell pretty much anything. And if you have anything in reasonable condition that is vintage I'd be interested as I'm opening up a couple of rooms as an english afternoon tea experience. Good luck.

Along with Jo & John, I must rally to the defence of the Broccanteurs....

I have a great one, just around the corner from me and you could not meet nicer & kinder people...From the time when I first bought the place in 2007, they have put up with my schoolgirl French and have been very helpful. I bought some lovely old Breton furniture from them at a really reasonable price ( they expect you to haggle and I do, but not too much, as I know that they work hard and deserve to make a reasonable living.....Despite the fact that they have very little English, if I had a crisis...then I know I could rely on them as friends to help out if they were able...