Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saint Malo, Rocabey

Saint Malo is a wonderfully preserved medieval city and is absolutely one of the prettiest towns in France. As a bonus, it's got a few nice beaches. If you have never been here, you should go!

We went to one of the rare brocantes that are held on a weekday in a part of town called Rocabey. As it was a Wednesday, there were few regular people selling off their family's stuff, and lots of professional dealers. It was pretty small, but we still had fun. It was held in a square outside the fortified city walls. Looming in the background you can see the church.

As usual, there was a fair quantity of crap. This stand even proclaims it proudly!

There was nice stuff too, such as these old trunks and marine equipment.

I am forever perplexed at people who buy old family photographs. Do they hang them up in their living room? That's what I'd be tempted to do. What do you say when someone asks you who they are? I'm not French so I don't have this issue, but I'm always wondering if one day my French husband will come across a long-lost great-uncle's picture being sold off on the street.

Would you a like a doorknob? Or lots and lots of doorknobs! All ceramic, and all gorgeous.


Merdrignac is a cute little town in central Brittany. Despite its close resemblance to the word "merde", which means shit, there's nothing shitty about it, except maybe that it's in the middle of nowhere. The annual flea market was held all around a pretty lake. There was also a playground, tennis courts, miniature golf and tons of other activities, and a big forest nearby. This is a neat place to live if you like outdoor activities. If you're looking for wild nightlife, you're out of luck.

Merdrignac seems to have something of a British expatriate community. I heard them and saw them, buying and selling, in much higher proportion than I normally do, and much more than I'd expect from this place. The upside for me was finding a few boxes of English books. Yay for me!

And this is me reading my English books later in the day... I have got to stop this business of people painting me without my knowledge!

Looking for boxes of unidentifiable, rusty tools? You've come to the right place!

Looking for boxes of unidentifiable crap of a more general nature? You've come to the right place too!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saint Briac

Saint Briac is a beautiful port village filled with old stone villas. Sunday morning it held its own big, annual brocante. There were lots of sellers and lots of buyers. Who wouldn't come treasure hunting among views like this?

Even the extraterrestrials were there.

This is a picture somebody painted of me gambolling on the beach with my toddler. All unbeknownst to me! Ha!

All I can say is ouch! my chestal area hurts just looking at this!

La Gouesnière

On Saturday we went to an inland village called La Gouesnière, a few kilometres inland from Cancale, where you can buy and eat raw oysters on the beach. La Gouesnière's annual sale was in a field; lots of ruts and holes everywhere! But far be it from me to let that get in the way of some good brocante-ing.

At La Gouesnière you can not only sell your children's outgrown clothes, you can dry them too!

Need a cast iron cauldron with a hole in the bottom? Look no further!

This stool is da bomb. I love it and I want it in my living room. It wouldn't go with anything but I have never let that stop me.

A cool assortment of plates, cradled in freshly mown hayfield.

On our way home we stopped at McDonald's, not only because of the play area, not only because you can get a beer with your fries (photographic evidence above), not only because every McDonald's in France has free wifi, but also because the food here is universally excellent.

Well, maybe not that last part.


Lancieux is a pretty seaside village in northern Brittany, and the Sunday before last it had a nice big annual brocante. It has an old church whose bells started ringing when I was right next to it. Boy do you ever HEAR those bells! They're big thick metal bells, and you can watch them swinging in the belfry when they're ringing.

"Welcome to Paris", the pretty sign says. Except, it's not. Paris is what I'm getting away from.

Does the distinguished-looking guy who once commissioned his portrait know that it's now hanging off the side of a truck?

Would you trust the police that drove this car to win a car chase? Would you trust the ambulance next to it?

What is this mannequin? A child with boobs? An adolescent? A miniature woman? It somewhat disturbs me and I can't quite figure out why.

This picture is here for no other reason than I think this doorway is way cool. It might be the doorway to the village cemetary, or it might be the doorway to some rich person's villa.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Saint Benoit des Ondes

Today, gentle reader, I am doing field work many miles from home to bring you to bring you a constant variety of French flea market experiences. Which means, I'm on vacation! But my thrifting and flea marketing never stops.

Today we went to a seaside town in Brittany, in northwestern France, called Saint Benoît des Ondes. This flea market was beachside, and there were a lot of professional dealers but a good deal of regular people as well. A lot of the stuff was almost right on the beach. Hope a nice high tide doesn't roll in!

As usual, most of the stands were a mishmash of all sorts of stuff, like this one where Jesus and Mary statues fight for space with a big porcelain soccer-ball-weilding pig.

My exciting purchases included two blankets, because it's chilly here, and a bag of socks for my son. The seller of the blanket let me take a picture of his vintage vanity case, which I admired but couldn't afford.

We were a little bit hungry at the end and nothing hits the spot like some candy from the candy stand!

The weather was cloudy but the rain held off. We got hit by a downpour while driving home but the sun came out at the same time and we were treated to this gorgeous rainbow!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cléry en Vexin

On Sunday afternoon we ended up going to another sale, in a village out in the countryside called Cléry en Vexin. The village is small and pretty, with lots of stone houses and a church occupying the main square.

It was fun, and since it was the end of the day prices were coming down. I had a feeling that some of the best "finds" had been found that morning, unfortunately! but there was still some left for me.

Doll parts, anybody? I find this scene strangely disturbing. Right down to the way he presents the doll heads in cute little vintage bowls, I think this seller has the serial killer gene.