The Hidden Treasures of the Vide Grenier
Oh how I’ve come to adore that wonderful of most wonderful things called the Vide Grenier. I never recall going to one of these ‘events’ or even seeing a sign for them when we lived here several years ago. Maybe these fun little village garage sales did exist back then, but I’m willing to bet that they weren’t in full force like they are today.
Somewhere along the line, the French got the hang of how much fun a garage sale could be, only they took it a step further and made it ‘a day in the life of the village’. Moreover, to really make a big show of it, they put signs up all around the area to invite all the other little villages to come and have a look-see. Our little village has already put on two of them this year!
One of the things that I found out about these Vide Greniers is the fact that French people have just as much junk to sell as Americans! This, I must say, was a delight to me. I was always under the impression that Americans, on the whole, collected more junk and nonsense stuff than any other culture. Well, I am here to say that this is definitely not true. I couldn’t believe all the stuff that was put out on display for the right taker and by all the families in town.
This is not to say that there are some really great finds at these Vide Greniers. I mean real treasures, too. Some of the things my husband and I saw on display would be rare to find at a garage sale in The States. Our favorite items are the old tools. They are literally a dime a dozen here and the most wonderful find for us. We happen to be really into old tools and keys and completely find ourselves in Wonderland here for things like that.
Another love of mine are the old dishes, saucers and cups with vintage pictures of the Renaissance era, and the old irons and pots and pans from by-gone generations. To fill my house with treasures such as these has been a dream of mine for a very long time. I figure that since I have a house first built in the 1700s, why not fill it up with items that should belong in it, or at least items that have been around for more than one hundred years?
The trick for us is trying to figure out the good stuff from the bad. By that I mean the fake items from the real vintage items. This happens to be a tough one for my husband and me since we are by no means experts in this area. The few times we have purchased something, it hasn’t been for a large price so we aren’t going to lose out if it turns out our item is not the ‘real’ thing. I sure would like to think they are, though.
I am willing to bet that some of these items sold at the Vide Greniers have been around in someone’s attic for quite some time, just as others were only purchased a year or two ago. This, in my opinion, is all part of the fun, though – the idea of finding that wonderful hidden treasure that is meant just for you to find.All images © Ashley Davidson-Fisher