We were in the car by nine this morning, heading to the local thrift shop. Thrift shops aren't that common in France...in our region there's just one and it's always terribly crowded. The best thing to do is get there before opening time and wait in line.
This early crowd is full of old, only slightly seeding-looking, white Frenchmen. These are the brocantes- the guys that own antique/secondhand/junk shops. They make their living by getting in early and snapping up all the good stuff befor anyone else can buy it. Then it goes into their shops to be sold at a huge markup.
To be fair, the competition (aka the rest of the clientele), for the most part, is not looking for charming antiques that have been unwisely thrown out by people who didn't realise their value. Most of the folks are minority families -folks that probably weren't doing that great even before the current economic crise. They are quite often North Africans with quite a few kids in tow and looking for a sturdy bunk bed or a working stove.
There are only a few families that look like they might be a bit more like my own- relatively privileged, but still trying to keep within a sensible budget.
I was mainly looking for books. I'm a bit of a book addict and if I bought only new ones to feed my habit, we'd be broke in a few months. Luckily, my parents are great about sending books and I also have some friends in the village to exchange books with.
Then there's the "Livres en Anglais" shelves at the Emmaus.
Today I found a recent biography of Jane Austen by Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Shields. It was marked at 2 euros and the guy sold it to me for 1!
I also bought an AC/DC songbook that the kids wanted for their fledgling rock band. It's from the US and marked at $ 24.99 . But the Emmaus had it priced at 3 euros.... and sold it for 1. Another epic win!
We picked up a few other things, but those were the highlights.
After lunch, we walked up to the village (about a mile away) for Saint Maurice's Fair, which is held there every September. There were stands selling candy, clothes, baskets, chairs and just about anything else you can think of. There were also plenty of cattle being shown off in the competitions, sporting wide, heavily decorated leather collars and huge bells. Mallory was worried that they must be too heavy for the cows' necks. I, on the other hand, thought they looked rather proud of their fancy gear...