Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What a weekend of vide grenier-ing and exotic dancing!

    We were desolés that the friends from Vancouver who stayed with us for the latter part of the week before last had to leave on the Saturday afternoon, thereby missing the flood of attic-emptying that would find its way on to local stalls on Sunday (more of that later).
    So, we were all chuffed to see that the Lavelanet vide grenier was scheduled for Saturday, starting at 6 a.m. We didn't make it that early but we were there around 9 a.m. Not a huge number of participants as the day was grey and chilly. But we did find finds.
    A stack of very old documents covered all over in brown spidery writing were only available as "le lot"--and that was 100 euros. Vintage postcards, on the other hand, were a reasonable 50 centimes. Don't you love this flapper from 1922? Fur stole, feather in her hat, flagrantly red lips, come-hither eyes: she's got the lot.

 I also left with a tiny hand-embroidered pin-cushion...

....and a Princess Grace and Prince Rainier tea-cup. Having second thoughts about this one already...

    A further wealth of possibilities faced us on Sunday, starting right under our noses in Léran. The sun shone, stalls were laden and, rooting through a box of postcards, I chose these--details below each one.
Feel free to contribute guesses as to what's going on here. All I can tell you is that the card is addressed to a Monsieur Joseph Joulin who lived in Narbonne, and the message simply reads: "Paris. 4/2/1914" and a question mark.

This one's more for family consumption, but it was never sent to anyone. A stamp on the back advertises Maison Labau, a clothing store for "hommes et garçonnets", Isn't "garçonnet" a sweet word? It's old French for "a little boy."

I bought this one because of the vintage car and its occupants. 

Barcelona--in the old days. Apologies but I can't make out the date on the postmark.

Turin at night. This is almost my favourite one of the bunch because of its cinéma noir-ish feel.
  I also nabbed an enormous piece of red checked fabric, fibres unknown to me to the stall lady (who also sold me these postcards). A picnic blanket?
    Purchases went back to the house before we jumped in the car and drove to Manses, a little village just north of Mirepoix.
Books, DVDs and videocassettes, chinaware, glasses, a lamp, vases, pictures...
Lunch first. Hot dogs on  baguette, cheese on baguette or ham on baguette. And frites.

Inside the village hall, you could buy wine, pastis, beer, soft drinks or coffee.
    The buy of the day that had me jumping up and down was a copper watering can. I wasn't even going to bother to ask the price, reckoning it would be in the 40 to 50 euro range. Then, the man selling it told me I should buy it because it went with my outfit (only in France!), said the price was five euros (yes, yes) and threw in"un petit Jésus"(one of those tiny china models that hide in French Christmas cakes) for free.

    On my second trawl of the market,  I spotted a magnificent jug shaped like a bunch of grapes, two euros for this, another gift, and then a third one later of a pre-Euro-era Italian coin. I gave him a 100 baht coin from Thailand that had wiggled its way to the bottom of my handbag.
    Later, the same day: our homeward route took us through Mirepoix anyway so we parked on a side street, and walked into the square to watch a promised exhibit of South American dancing. I'd envisaged live musicians, frilly frocks and tight trousers. Got none of those but the shoes definitely made up for it.

1 comment:

gabriele gray said...

Wonderful postcards! Since all the doors in the first postcard have holes in the doors, I wonder if perhaps they're not WC--which would explain why people were hurrying (and waiting)...

The film noir card made me think of Last Year at Marienbad--that dreamy/drugged sense of reality.
And Barcelona--- 1_ November 13...I think the blot next to the 1 is a mark from the rubber stamp and not part of a date...
The pitcher is a great find (and congrats on the copper one) and I think you can use the Princess Grace & Prince Ranier mug as a gift for someone who follows royalty (perhaps to help them celebrate Albert's upcoming marriage? I'm sure the right person would find it a great find and enjoy its uniqueness...
It all sounds so wonderful---I've stayed in Mirepoix on vacation before (a house on rue Beal, by the old canal) and just reading the name of the town brings a smile to my face (and good memories. So enjoyable reading your experiences, thanks!