Most villages worth their salt have a vide grenier sometime during the summer months. Ours was held today by the lavoir in Varanges, conveniently near home. Vide greniers differ from car boot sales in the UK as the sellers are locals and never professionals.
Dominic and his stall
Believe it or not there are actually fonctionnaires employed to keep tabs on sellers. Each household is allowed a stall at a vide grenier only twice a year and it must be their own stuff they are selling. Hence it literally is junk cleared out of the attic.
I would much rather find things a new home than throw them away but it’s difficult in France as there aren’t the charity shops on every street corner. There is a special container at the tip for stuff that can be sold on but we forget to use it. People often give their furniture to Emmaüs but the nearest one to us is in Chalon. Hence vide greniers are a popular way of getting rid of stuff you don’t need.
Trying the goods - David makes a sale
For us it was a bit like the rentrée. Everybody’s been away in August and it was nice to catch up before the village classes and activities begin again next week.
When things are slack it is good to sit around and talk
We had an enjoyable day chatting with friends and meeting new people. The catering team of Pascale, Chantal, Yvette and Martine was busy all day supplying drinks, sausage sandwiches and gaufres.
Martine and Pascale in the buvette
At the end of the day the men dismantled the barnum and all the catering equipment was stowed away until the next event.
Pascale and Jean-Louis arrive to pick up the trailer
Then to the hall to finish up the leftovers and enjoy a glass of wine. We could have done with more sellers and more buyers but on the whole it was a good day.
Donzy le Pertuis is a picture postcard village nestling on the other side of the hill from us in the direction of Azé. At 426m in altitude it is a little higher than Cortambert and in winter often surprises us with its fairy tale sparkle of snow on the rooftops.
There is a local patois which Donzy helps to keep alive. Some translations and a bit of local history can be found on www.donzy-le-pertuis.fr
Today there was not a cloud in the sky and we went up to Donzy for its annual vide grenier. There was a eclectic variety of goods on stalls along the winding streets of pretty stone houses and outside the romanesque church of Saint-Julien.
Church of Saint-Julien
Many of the 150 or so residents were out with their stalls or picnicking en famille under the shade of the trees. The smell of the barbeque at the buvette persuaded us to stay and have lunch.
Friendly stallholders with a variety of treasures….
I steered Chris away from the bicycles (we usually don’t leave without one) and instead came home with a lovely set of coffee cups. Thank you Donzy!
The flags are flying today for a very popular holiday, la Fête Nationale, the celebration of events in 1789 which led to the setting up of the first Republic.
Unfortunately the parade and the fireworks in Cluny were cancelled last night after a day of very heavy rain. You could say it never rains but it pours. After a serious drought with months with no rain we have had an incredible amount this week. Water stores are now full to the brim and in places we’ve seen the groundwater welling up through the tarmac.
Our neighbour's stall at the vide grenier
Our commune celebrated the fourteenth of July by holding the annual vide grenier. Usually it is held in Cortambert but this year, for the first time, it was held in our hamlet. We sorted out all the cartons still unpacked after three years, and, along with our neighbours and an energetic team from the foyer rural, we spent the day selling our bits and pieces to the many visitors. And buying other people’s junk! There are no traders in a French vide grenier. By law you are only allowed to sell at two a year and it must be all your own stuff.
Stalls along the main street
Luckily the weather stayed mostly dry but there were occasional threatening black clouds. But no rain like yesterday’s deluge when we were putting up the marquees for the buvette.
A good trade in beer at the buvette
And the gaufres went like hot cakes too!
Hopefully the buvette and the stall for the foyer rural generated some much needed funds. We ended up happy with less junk and a bit of pocket money. Best of all we met new friends and had a very sociable day.