L'Isle sur la Sorgue is a pretty town built around the river Sorgue, it’s a colourful place filled with flowers. The town is a haven for antique lovers with 300 specialist shops; from gold laden cherubs to rusty horseshoes, there is something for everyone. Irresistible deli’s sell fresh bread and local produce – great for a picnic on the riverside.
Google map: bit.ly/ONuKil
Feira da Ladra, also known as the Thieves Market, is a large open-air market in central Lisbon that is full to the brim with treasures and knick-knacks. Equally good for picking up souvenirs, antiques, furniture, crockery or just window shopping, the market has a great atmosphere and stalls for as far as the eye can see. It has a great location and it's a great way to spend a few hours wondering around marvelling at the things you find!
Campo de Santa Clara, Lisbon. 5 minutes walk from Santa Apolonia metro station and an even shorter walk from the tram 28 stop at Sao Vicente de Fora.
Google map: bit.ly/ADfeiE
This is a 'brocante' (antique/flea market) that is not to be missed. It's medium-sized and takes about an hour or so to wander up and down, and it has the most wonderful selection of goodies. There's all sorts of classic antique French tableware including stunning linen and lace, as well as homeware objects and furniture set out alongside old posters and adverts on old weatherbeaten enamel panels. The last time I was there I picked up a huge one and a half metre high neon-lit 'Tabac' sign (I was there with my car, admittedly!) for just 60 euros. There are food stalls at either end so you can stop for a coffee and a croissant, and if you're feeling cultural there's also the Muséum Naturelle d'Histoire de Toulouse next door on the edge of the equally impressive Jardin des Plantes. It takes place the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each month from around 8am until lunchtime.
Allée Jules Guesde, Toulouse (next to the Muséum Naturelle d'Histoire de Toulouse in the Jardin des Plantes). Nearest métro stop: Carnes / Palais de Justice
Google map: bit.ly/y9eyzz
The Georgian Rooms are very special. On the well preserved high street of the old town in Bridlington, they are a treasure trove of fascinating pieces, mostly antiques, some vintage clothing, garden ironmongery, furniture, photographs and to cap it all, a wonderful tea room on the ground floor, serving home made cakes and lunches. The owner collects items from far and wide and has a keen interest in the unusual. We picked up some Frank Meadow Sutcliffe photographs, reasonably priced and were very tempted by a gorgeous velvet purse for one sovereign and one half sovereign - crockery, glass and cutlery are kept in delightful old cases. The garden has several rooms and sheds with interesting outdoor objects, wooden restored furniture and follies. A real treat.
This is fantastic stall/portacabin at the largest antiques centre in Essex. They always have a great range of vintage clothing, period handbags and some amazing jewellery, all with an evocative crackly soundtrack in the background as you browse! The antiques dealer next door also has ex.MOD clothing so you can pick up an incredible military hat or uniform too.
After spending an afternoon in the pretty town of Brackley, we wandered down towards The Brackley Antiques Cellar. The showroom was packed with a fantastic range of antiques from furniture to collectable masks and pottery. We happily spent a good hour in the showroom and could have easily spent thousands; luckily I restrained myself and walked away with only a collection of kitsch mugs!
Draymans Walk, Brackley NN136BE
01280 841 841
Google map: bit.ly/a60vbh
Best market I've seen, filled with bizarre artefacts, toys and whatnot from the last 100 years. How they ended up in the hands of these humble folk is a mystery, but there they are, for sale and waiting to make the most unusual new addition to your home! Not to be missed. Viva Colombia! "A la Orden!"
On the corner of carrera 7 (septima) with calle 18. (in the carpark behind the Mambo Museum. Sundays.
Christie's is one of two internationally famous auction houses, the other being Sotheby's. Only clients of the auction house seem to be aware of the beautiful and varied works of art you can see at the auction house galleries. Both in the St. James and South Kensington offices you are free to walk in, browse the pre-sale exhibitions with no charge - and, fear not, there's no obligation to buy.
Christie's on King Street holds fantastic modern art, impressionist art and British art sales, as well as countless furniture and jewellery sales.
In South Kensington it's all a little more light-hearted with pop memorabilia, sporting memorabilia, musical instruments, clocks and house sales where you can often pick up good antique furniture bargains.
South Kensington is also famous for its drop-in valuations, so if there's something on your wall, in your attic or basement that you've always wondered about, take it to Christie's for a free valuation.
They're quieter than museums, and somehow much more personal. No ropes or screens to keep you back.
Their website will tell you what's coming up and when. And if you have time, attend an auction - the bigger sales at Christie's are fascinating to watch. Just don't twitch, stretch or fix your hair.
Christie's auction house, King St, St James and Old Brompton Road, South Kensington.
Perhaps Iran's most famous export is its celebrated Persian carpets and no trip to Tehran would be complete without a visit to this veritable temple to the art of carpetry. Hundreds of beautiful, intricately designed carpets hang in an airy, spacious and well laid out museum, including some incredibly large and ancient examples. Even if Persian Carpets aren't to your taste, the range and detail is both staggering and fascinating.
In Park-e-Laleh, near the Fatemi St entrance.
It's so lovely to find a cosy little country hotel which so perfectly satisfies a guest's needs. The 15th century Black Lion Hotel, tucked in between the village green and the magnificent parish church in Long Melford, truly delighted my wife and I on our recent overnight stay there to celebrate our birthdays.
Fabulous rooms with a real wow factor (ours had a four-poster bed, bathrobes etc). Lovely ambience and atmosphere (thanks largely to the jolly general manager Michael Ruthven, who seems to be everywhere all the time). Decent locally sourced food in a stylish restaurant beside a blazing log fire. We couldn't ask for more. We give it five stars and will certainly go back. A new favourite for us.
The Black Lion Hotel,
Idyllic converted 18th-century grape press chock-a-block with tasteful antiques hand-picked by the owners. The gardens are beautiful, as is the local aperitif 'Pineau' that used to be made there. A true oasis!
If up near the castle it is well worth wandering down through the Grass Market as a previous reader has remarked. Where the road continues into West Port there are some splendid shops tourists might not otherwise find. Just by walking a bit more I came across a wonderful shop, Cabaret Antiques and Curios, which is spread over two floors and has an extraordinary selection of antiques, knick knacks, curios, books and other treasures. I found presents for several people in here and the prices seemed very reasonable. The owners seem happy for you to browse and take your time. It was an unexpected surprise and proves it is well worth exploring sometimes away from the usual tourist areas. Edinburgh is definitely a city for walking and exploring, especially the old town bit all around the castle which so dominates the city.
137 West Port
0131 229 4100
This is a very unusual and enjoyable shop selling antiques and vintage things. Loads of lovely old jewellery, ornaments, chandeliers, art glass.
It is an ecological way to buy extravagant goodies.
It's near to Bar Piralta in San Carlos north of Santa Eulalia.
An antique shop now occupies this building, which actually comprises a house from c1450 at the front merged with the Victorian era hall.
It’s the 15th century part that captivates everyone however, being a marvellous example of Tudor architecture. It’s now restored to a mellow-looking sandy colouring rather than the black and white that most people associate with this type of building. Inside is just as appealing as out but be careful, you may end up buying an antique to remind you of your visit.
St Andrew Street
Spend the morning wandering around Arundel. The bookshop at the bottom of town is fantastic. There are serious antiquities in shops just off the high street, particularly down the side of the post office. For cheaper curios, head down Tarrant Street and check out the Nineveh centre, a converted church with lots of small shops. Think of it as like a better version of Camden or Portobello, without the crowds.
High Street and Tarrant Street, Arundel.
This auction house-cum-bar is in an artisan village, Santa Gertrudis. It's a great place to watch the world go by with a Rioja and fantastic tapas.
Santa Gertrudis is about 10km from San Antonio;
tel: 971 197 023;
A pursuit dear to the hearts of many foreign visitors to Istanbul is the hunt for an authentic Turkish carpet. Of course, everyone who has ever sought to nab one has experienced, or at least heard of, woeful tales of deception, misrepresentation, false threading and just too much free tea for the trouble.
That said, a little advice picked up from the experts in the business might be useful.
When looking for carpets, be sure to look around and compare before committing (a little home study before arriving is great too). Try to look for shops with serious tradition (family-owned is a good sign) and an attested reputation; such firms are keen to keep up their business and good name and enjoy repeat business- another good indicator.
Further, you'll be wise to demand Turkish rugs only, with certification. The last few years have seen a proliferation of cheap, mass-produced carpets from Afghanistan and Pakistan passed off as the real thing.
Third, avoid the touts and well-attired persuaders strategically located nearby the prime tourist sites; they are working on commission and not particularly scrupulous.
Now that you know what to look out for, where to go?
The Grand Bazaar is of course the prime place for shoppers (though not the only), teeming with over 4,000 shops of all kinds. Although there are many excellent carpet dealers, one unique and rather hip one is Ethnicon, a small but now quite well known outlet offering unique “fusion” rugs and wall hangings, or "kilims."
The vision of the company was to cater to an emerging market (the modern urban interior of varying degrees of minimalism) while at the same time addressing an acute need: the increasing scarcity of antique carpets coming from Anatolian family collections, which have gone from a flood to a trickle over the past 20 years.
To get around this lack, Ethnicon decided to use what was to be found from damaged antique partial carpets, nomad tent coverings, soft casings, scraps and so on, patching them all together through a 15-step process. The result is alluring rugs and wall decorations that combine old ingredients with modern deco tastes. With widespread media attention, the Ethnicon style has become a brand in its own right.
Ethnicon- Grand Bazaar, Kapalýcarsý Takkeciler Sok. 58-60
The best place to shop for antiques is just across The Lakes from the city centre where over 30 antique dealers are gathered in one street - Ravnsborggade. All independent and varied but conveniently located side by side. A nice walk - whether you're window shopping or looking for hardcore bargains on 'old things'.
Start at the corner of Nørrebrogade and Ravnsborggade. Just across Dronning Louise's Bridge. Check this website for more info (click on the Union Jack for UK version): www.ravnsborggade.dk/
Stroget, the long pedestrianised shopping street, has some good places on it, but - rather like London's Oxford Street - has acquired too much tourist tat. The smaller streets running parallel and at angles either side are much more interesting. There are some very good antique shops in the city - concentrated around Bredegade (beyond Kongens Nytorv).
If you are after antiques (genuine, reproduction or curios), this has to be near the top of your list. On the second floor there are quite a few shops ( all visible from the car park). From Moghul pieces to Belgian colonial lamps ... get it all here.
Gulshan-2 (by the roundabout) going towards Gulshan 1.
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