Monday, June 25, 2012

Brocantes, the life of France

A good brocante is a funny place.

Depending on what you're looking for, it can be a quick run through or an incredible dig.

Two years ago, we happened across an incredible find, a brocante off the beaten path, filled to the brim with crazy goodness.  We emptied our pockets into Guillmile's hands, threw fresh lemonade down our throats, and promised we'd return the following year.

So, when we showed up on a blazing hot day this year, to the same exact warehouse and found it locked up, no one around, we had a slight moment of panic.

We all clambered out of the car, walked all over the property, shaking big doors and trying to peek into windows to no avail.  Just as we started to drive away and wonder, if he'd actually closed up shop, would he have left all those fabulous old doors and window panes outside along the property?! we were barked at by a dog and noticed this huge stone house we'd be standing alongside that nearly disappeared into the overgrown ivy.  We knocked on the front door.  An older man opened the door, "Oui?!" and in our broken French, we tried to ask where Guillmile was?  Shouldn't he be open?  Did he happen to know anything about it?  Oui, oui, but of course he did!  This was Gui's landlord, he owned this massive, sprawling  property we were traipsing all over and yes, he had Gui's number if we could wait here at the door just a moment.
Now, we're the curious types and it's hard for us to sit just outside such an ancient looking house and not, at least, poke our heads into the foyer.  So, I began to crane my neck just inside the door, it was so dark, I could barely see a thing...but it was old in there.  Very, very old.  I heard a t.v. and my sister thought she saw a stove of some sort.  We both noticed the incredible wallpaper, peeling right off the walls and the narrow, wood staircase that swirled up to somewhere...when he suddenly appeared again at the door with Gui's phone number and a very nice "Au Revoir!"

We stayed on the property, we rang Gui, he told us he'd be there in 10 minutes (though after a half an hour, we started to wonder if we'd actually understood... did he say "dix minutes" or did he say "dix mois"?!).  Eventually, he opened the enormous warehouse doors and let us in.  He had redecorated, redesigned and had so much new (read: old) great stuff!!  The educational posters were one of the first things I noticed, so we took them all, every last one of 'em!  Gui was thrilled, we were thrilled...this time we gulped down cold, fresh apple juice and we all left happy!

Brocantes are a funny place, and whether its the shops, the owners or the stories that come out of the adventure, they make for some of the best times we have in this fabulous France!

8 comments: said...

Great article and that warehouse looks fantastic - where are you putting the posters - I'm intrigued?! Janine at The Good Life France

Tyn said...

ohhhhh- it sounds so wonderful!

Christina said...

Those posters look amazing! Glad you found them!

amy hanna said...

Hello,Molly!! That Brocante looks dreamy!!! Nothing better than a good treasure hunt!! I hope you find some more hidden treasures!!

Anonymous said...

Dude...blogged it!

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

Love that moment of wondering...would we ever be able to see all the goodness again? And the, oui!

And these posters are incredible! I kind of love how the shoes (your shoes?) blend in with the posters!


Lexie Wellman said...

Where was this Brocante? I have just bought a home in France, I've almost finished the renovation on one of the buildings 'petite Maison' so I'm looking for curiosities to fill it!!

molly said...

This is on the edge of Albi. As you're turning the bend, to the right, RIGHT before the edge of town, he's on the left, tons of stuff in the yard, big barn like building...