Brocante, j’adore!, once said an otherwise very tongue-tied Englishman living in France when asked where les Poissonchats could go treasure hunting, and after days of communication going down pretty much to good morning and good night, we had a very lengthy and very animated and very funny conversation around all stuff old and used and pretty. And he couldn’t be more right, of course, Brocante, j’adore.
So please, this is not just about buying or selling, no no, this is about the story of things, the hands they passed through, the places they’ve been to. More a genius reribus, a spirit of things, than a genius locii, a spirit of places, maybe, if you allow the allusion, things have an energy to themselves, fed by our thoughts and feelings, they resonate us. It’s mana, as you might call it, magical energy, that causes things to have a life of their own. Like a mask coming alive when put on, and strangely remaining animated, after having been put down. And that very life of things, which so often thrills us and sometimes inspires us this very peculiar feeling of reverence and awe, draws us and traps us, sometimes, causes us to shrink back ultimately, resolutely, like getting out of some weak electrical current. And then we wouldn’t have it, we walk away with a still slightly crawling skin, yet glad of having escaped the lure.
So far the philosophy, now to the practical stuff. No grasse matinée on summer Sundays for Les Poissonchats, which means no staying in bed forever, no lengthy breakfast, no hanging around with the Sunday paper under the apple tree in the garden, no no, Sunday is a serious day. Get out of bed when the air still is fresh and moist, croissant and coffee in the kitchen and off you are to the closest vide-grenier, the jumble sale. Vide-greniers are a decidedly popular way to spend French country Sundays and are a perfect excuse for having a village feast including starting to drink rosé at 10am (latest). And we’re pretty sure that every single village in France has its vide-grenier, after all, there is no bled a bled enough not to have the honour to host a proper vide-grenier once a year (note that a bled in French means a very very very lost spot).
And you always find something, usually something you absolutely did not need. But which is beautiful, or funny, or interesting, or just touching a string in your soul. Like that little piano we found the other day. A children’s piano, perhaps (let’s hope a happy child who grew to be a gorgeous grown up who led a, splendid, lengthy and healthy life). Or a Spielmann’s maybe, as someone suggested, a travelling musician going from place to place to sing and play the world to all who would be ready to listen. It is an adorable leftover from history, this piano, and it actually works, though, we have to admit, not in a very ear-charming manner.
So here’s to summer Sunday brocante!