If I got to choose what I would do on my last day, there is a good chance I would ask for three hours at a good flea market on a sunny day with friends, because that is just about my idea of heaven.
One of my favorite quotes is from director Robert Bresson: “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.” For me, a flea market is not about shopping per se but about a feeling I sometimes have that something – in this place where there are worlds inside of worlds jammed up against other worlds and time is all over the place – is waiting for me to find it: to make it visible.
Because while Bresson is clearly speaking of the act of creating, this can take many forms. It might be film, drawing, or artistic endeavours, but it can also be cooking a memorable meal or putting together an iconic look or saying or doing the needed thing at the right moment. It can be the ability to look at a jumbled-up box under a messy table and see the one piece of treasure there, the one thing that needs to be found.
For my birthday we stayed in Montargis, a small French town in the Loiret. It was indeed sunny and there were many flea markets, as well as vide greniers. They look exactly the same to me but the French love to split hairs and demand a kind of bureaucratic pristineness to all things, even this and apparently there is some crucial difference. At any rate, vide greniers basically means cleaning out the attic, and that is good enough for me.
Jean-Pierre is one of my husband’s oldest friends and we are frequent guests of his. He is more of a used DVD kind of guy, but his taste in field bags is bar none.
I love old linens. It is very rare to find them in a wearable size. This was in a jumbo of starched French linen. It is a 19th century piece, is in amazing condition, and cost about $10.
All hand stitched and hemmed. I will be wearing it with levis and cowboy boots.
1922 La Vie Parisienne Women’s Magazine Found in Orleans Flea Market
I love these French magazines from 1922, about $3.00 each. They are women’s magazines, but inside they can be very racy. Otherwise, it is the same stuff we see today – lots of ads for weight loss and how to look younger.
I bought this encyclopedia with many crazy illustrations for about $5.00. I am sure it would have cost a LOT more except that while I browsing I ran into the guy who sold me the copies of La Vie Parisienne talking to the dealer, and apparently he told the dealer to give me the friend of the family price because he liked me. We walked around and talked about old books and paper in bad French and bad English and lots of charades and had a blast. My French is imperfect, but I speak fluent flea market.
For a schedule of vide greniers in the Loiret, go to http://brocabrac.fr/Vide-greniers-45-Loiret