The autumn fair…..
I have had a blog lined up for weeks now, but then something topical comes up and it gets put back, no changes today. But tomorrow I will blog my reflective post so please look out for it I know some of you love them.
As the time for Vide Grenier are coming to end for the season I needed to get out and about to source some wonderful French delights for my shop. We decided to go to a vide grenier in one town and then on to the Autumn fare in Gorron, which also promised a vide grenier, fare hog roast and much more beside.
Picture the scene, there we were in our van, with the two naughty Weshies in the back, taking a detour to pick up our wonderful quirky friend Jan, and off we went. The sun was shining and the sky was blue (a rare thing over the month of September, it is now raining as I post!) as we rattled through the beautiful French countryside to the town of St Mars Sur Colmont convinced that one of the biggest vide grenier of the season was there.
Now let me tell you if there is vide grenier in a village you know it, because there is normally a line of parked cars for at least a mile back from where the vide grenier is actually situated. So we drove around the pretty little, sleepy French village
and all we saw was a kid on his bike!!!
We had gone to the wrong village! In fact the village where the vide grenier was held was miles away, butm as they do in France, there was a tiny little hand written sign up in the sleepy village of St Mars telling you about a random vide grenier miles away!! Why?
Who knows, this is France!
So not to be deterred we set off for Gorron; giggling to ourselves because we looked the mad English having a van man day out, with our dogs! Just driving through the French lanes without a care in the world. As we drove along we passed some lovely old French people, who were collecting the chestnuts that just grow on the side of the road, They all waved at us and we all waved back as we had known each other for years, although they were probably thinking “Aah the mad Anglaise! There they go, not knowing where they are going but carrying on anyway!!
But when we arrived in Gorron, a small French farming town near to us. we were not disappointed because because it was heaving. There were vide grenier stalls up every street, and tiny lane with any old tut you could find on the tables. But if you look carefully there were some treasures and I found some, in the shape of some beautiful etched tiny little aperitif glasses, and a holy communion certificate for a young girl born in 1921 who took her holy communion in1931; it so delicate and poignant the type of thing I love to have in my home. But, as my husband keeps reminding me, I cannot keep everything so off they will go to my Etsy shop, petiteFrenchfancies (see previous posts for the treasures that holds,) for others around the world, who do not have easy access to France,. to buy and make others envious.
This sleepy town of Gorron, that is often so quiet, had every shop open selling their wares, a big fare with merry go rounds and candy-floss, or barb-a-papa (papa’s beard) as it is known over here, there were stalls selling saucisson and frites (sausage and chips so popular with French at a vide grenier, sadly not me, as the sausages are too lumpy!) crepe sellers waiting to cook fresh crepes on demand and more.
Sunday is normally such a quiet day in France but vide grenier are not like boot sales, they do not start really early and shut at lunchtime; the French like to make a day of it, setting up little picnic tables behind their stalls and having lunch with wine, coffee everything. The atmosphere is lighthearted and friendly and as well as some real treasures I have to say that they sell some real crap as well!
But this was no ordinary vide grenier, this was a celebration of Autumn, for being thankful for what the season brings, not least tons of pears which I have been picking for weeks in someone’s garden. I wouldn’t mind but I don’t like pears! All of the bars were open, so halfway through our treasure hunt we sat outside a little bar and had a kir, followed by a wine and beer with some frites, because sadly the hog roast had all been eaten by 12.30!!!
As the day drew to a close, and once I was satisfied that I had found some real wonders for my shop, we sat at a large Tabac and had a couple more drinks whilst people watching, before making our way home, dropping the ‘mad one’ off on the way.
We got home worn out, in fact the dogs were so tired they put themselves to bed and did not get up to be fed; and for the first time in a long time I was in bed before 11pm.
But this is one of the reasons that I moved to France. I love to embrace it’s culture, I love vide grenier’s including the things that they sell like shoes that are about twenty years old and have no soles on them, battered to hell; or clothes that have shrunk in the wash!! French people have an attitude that everything has some value, even if it is broken!!
I love living here.
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