Sunday, 29 January 2017

Empty Attics

The Vide Grenier at les Arcs-sur-Argens.
The summer months in Les Arcs-sur-Argens are hot, dry and dusty, but the warm summer nights with music and dancing in the street make the days worthwhile.

Another way to counteract the heat is just to ignore it.
Musical instruments to haggle over.
One way to do that is to get absorbed in something else – like fossicking through other people’s ‘stuff’.

So once a month we walk out to the edge of town – near the ‘Rond point deux chypres’  - the roundabout on the way to ‘La chapelle de Sainte Roseline’  (which has more than two cypress pines, by the way) – where the huge Vide grenier is held.

Now a ‘Vide Grenier’ – literally ‘empty attic’ is like a car boot sale. People figuratively clean out their attics and unwanted, but still saleable good are spread out on rugs, tables, tarpaulins and sold for incredibly cheap prices.

It’s the best way to furnish a house.

It’s also the best way to over-fill your suitcase for the journey home.

For me, it is almost impossible to resist buying something – and I have to be very disciplined not to buy everything that takes my eye – whether I have a use for it or not.
Shoes anyone?
Most towns throughout France stage Vide greniers from time-to-time and if you have a chance to go to one, please do.
You can browse for hours.
Sometimes you will find real treasures. Other times you will come home with an item and wonder what on earth you were thinking.

I imagine that feeling is the same the world over.

The Vide Grenier at Les Arcs-sur-Argens is dotted around an enormous paddock with rows and rows of good laid out for browsing.
It's located at the roundabout - the junction of roads that take you to Draguignan in the north, south to the N7 (route nationale) and east (past Sainte-Roseline) towards La Motte.

It gets full of people and cars very early so we tend to walk out from the town - a kilometre or so, but remember to bring large shopping bags for the inevitable purchases!

Something to decorate the house and garden.
It is hot and dusty and noisy and busy and happy. There are places where you can chill out with food, a coffee or an ice cream in the dappled shade of the native pines.

The view is amazing towards the blue outlines of Les Maures to the south. The traders are fun, cheeky and expect you to haggle.

Take some sun cream, a large hat, your camera, a bottle of water and a sense of humour.

Pumpkins - for decoration only.
You can make the rounds again and again as new wares come out to replace those bought earlier in the day. But by late afternoon, the clouds of dust gather at the bottom of the paddock as cars make their way back home.
It’s time to gather up that lamp, the outrageous pair of shoes, that funny little figurine and broken-but-pretty musical instrument you have just bought, and make your way back into town.

Once you have showered off the dust and admired your purchases (or planned who you might pass them on to), it’s time for your evening apĂ©ro.

The shadows lengthen and the town centre fills up with diners, most of whom are and satisfied shoppers and sellers, a band begins to play in the kiosk and you realise that despite the summer heat, you’ve just had a magnificent day.
Rows and rows of goods laid out for you to bargain for.





  1. I am addicted to the vide-greniers in France. Unfortunately I do not need another thing and I do not have any space left in my apartment to bring something home.
    Someone suggested throwing something out. Every one of my treasures found in these markets is precious.

  2. Me too. These days I just enjoy looking . . . but if there is something really small, I can be tempted.