Well the French summer is well under way, the roads are much busier with the Parisians, and other Europeans visiting our usually quiet and tranquil rural areas. At this time of year we find the occasional traffic jam, something which for most of us is a rarity consigned to the distant memory of living in the UK.
Locals and visitors alike flock to the frequent Vide Greniers held in every town and village, street and field, to buy, sell and swap their tat. One man's rubbish is another man's treasure as the saying goes (or something like that!) The French tend to like other people's clothes, shoes, toys and electrical goods, which are often at shockingly high prices, it's something I have yet to find an explanation for! Visitors from the UK can be recognised for their unhealthy interest in old bits of rusty farmyard metal & tools, broken and chipped eathernware, vintage red striped teatowels, chippy painted and worm riddled furniture, the French think we are quite mad (they may be right) but they rub their hands in glee and take the money!
It's infinitely more fun than a car boot sale in the UK, and there's far less imported new stuff than you'll find at a typical British market. Sometimes there will be really unusual and pretty treasures to be had, definitely gives you
the thrill of the hunt! This weekend's booty I found included some of these gorgeous advertising and calling cards, dating from the end of the Nineteenth Century into the early Twentieth Century. Some were give away with chocolates rather in the manner of the cigarette cards we used to collect when I was a child. Others are the equivalent of business cards or flyers, with the address of the shop on the back. Aren't they pretty? And they had the advantage of being small and light, unlike the majority of my vide grenier finds which are usually the biggest, heaviest and most unwieldy of items like cast iron garden furniture or oak armoires, which my long suffering OH has to lug to the van. Have you experienced the treasure hunt yet? Tell us about your best finds, and your most awkward purchases....