Grange Rouge Brocante in Louhans.
French Husband offered to take me to the brocante in Grange Rouge. He drove the six hours trip in our very old car that recently got a new engine put into it. We did not have the heart to junk it when it died a few months ago. I am glad we did not junk it! It is such a handy old car to have. We put the back seat down and slept in the car, that is called, "The Truck."
French Husband brought an air mattress, after we pumped it full of air, we saw that it nearly reached the car's ceiling. We barely had room to squeeze in the space in between. Mummified in our sleeping bags, surrounded by the car's windows, we looked like two corpse on exposition.
I glanced over at French Husband barely able to move and said, "You know what this means don't you?"
He replied, "No fun tonight?"
"No, silly, we are the peep show!"
"What is a peep show?" he asked?
The next morning at the crack of dawn we squeezed out of the car, it was cold. I wore my PJ bottoms under my dress. French Husband's hair was in competition with Bozo the clown's. Hence we are not fashionable chineurs (Chineur: A French word for people who go antiquing.) I brushed my teeth by the side of the car, while French Husband put on his rubber boots.
French Husband was the transporter. Here he is trying to figure out why I bought a chocolate silver pot with a hole in the bottom? In his other hand he has a zinc box with a lid. He liked it because it has a lock and a key. He is holding on to it like it is his baby. I reminded him that it is not his baby.
Grange Rouge sets up three times a year: the first Sunday in July, mid-August and the first Sunday in September. It takes place in the cow pastures in Louhans.
Like the fair in Leyment it starts very early and goes all day. Grange Rouge in September is the smallest of the three, there were about 800 dealers.
Vanity in the cow pasture, living each moment like a modern day Marie Antoinette... Ah! That is what it is like living in France... La vie est belle!
This man had to be near eighty years old, he had such class, such taste, such expensive grain sacks. I wanted them, but he would not budge on his price. He told me, "They have crowns on them, original crowns on them, did you see that? When is the last time you saw grain sacks with crowns on them?"
He was a smarty pants. I admired his gusto, his passion...but not his prices. I walked away from the grain sacks with crowns on them...and have regretted it ever since.
First lesson when brocanting (Brocanting, is my made up word for antiquing in France.)
1) Always ask for the phone number of the dealer so in case you change your mind about an item you did not buy you can call them later on.
Yesterday at the brocante I saw stacks of French antique clothing. Isn't this small child's velvet vest with lace cuffs adorable?
What I noticed at the brocante is that French Husband wanted to buy everything. As if we have a car loaded of money somewhere nearby... He was disappointed that I did not buy the vest, I asked him, "What am I going to do with a child's velvet vest?" He asked me, "What are you going to do with a chocolate pot with a hole in it?"
I had to remind him that he was the transporter and the driver.
What I love most about the French brocante is discovering old things. Duh! Like why would I drive six hours and sleep with my body pressed against the car's ceiling, freezing cold and wake up at the crack of dawn if I did not?
We came across a stack of sixteenth and seventeenth century letters, right there in the middle of the cow pasture. We talked to the dealer about them, and read a few. Of course I wanted to buy them, not just one but the whole box full.... five hundred euro worth, or the equivalent of the food budget for the month.
We walked away thinking how those letters were worth more than pasta, tofu, vegetables, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
French words to know while Antiquing in France:
Chineur: A person who goes antiquing.
Combien: How much? A key word to know.
Brocante: An up scale flea market.
Marche aux Puces: Flea market
Antiqobrocante: (See the word on the truck? The sliding van's door covered half of the word "antique".) I think this is going to be my new favorite word Antiqobrocante: a mixture of the two, rare and cool antique finds with prices leaning towards brocante.
What you can find at any French brocante:
The French and their love affair with food, it shows at the brocante.
That man again and his grain sacks.
The French Husband transporter admiring bicyclettes in his rubber boots.
Three little chairs, one without a seat.
Do you know what they were used for?
Doll house furniture...no.
If you know and what to take a stab at it write it down in the comment section. I'll send the first one who gets it a prize.
This baby doll's buggy, with the wide eyed doll and her one eye dog stole my heart. So cute! Look how the little paw is hanging photogenically outside the buggy. I think this dog was a famous model in his hey day.
French Husband admiring the worn love evident on its patchy fur gave me that look like aren't you gonna buy it?
To calm his heart I told him that old worn toys are highly collectible which means they are often expensive.
The fetching price: One eyed dog 200 euro.
French Husband in defense said it wouldn't cost much to feed it.
A dog's leg, and a few Doll's dressed up with shoes and socks.
A small biscuit statue amongst liquor decanters.
A child's miniature dish set in its original case.
French Husband the transporter doing his job with style.
Carrying boxes for his chocolate pot.
(I'll show you what we bought in tomorrow's post.)