Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Bonne soiree mes amis

I'd better stop there before I really show myself up...

This post is a bit late, but its been rather hectic here for a few weeks and though my poor head is full of things I would like to share with you, finding the time to stop and write them has been more of a problem!

If you take into account helping out with the grandsons for the final weeks of the summer before our eldest started at his first school. Just being there in that first week to help mum get settled into her new routine. Spending a whole week trying to keep the dirt under control while having all the rear windows in the house replaced,  and making up a few orders in between, I think or at least I hope that you will see I do have a bit of an excuse.

Anyhow......the Braderie de Lille.....quite an experience ! 

We travelled down to Kent on the Friday afternoon as our booking on the chunnel was early Saturday morning. The journey was pretty straight forward, if a bit long and it was quite a shock to arrive at our hotel to find none of our rooms ready!
Not to be put off though, although the site of our bright pink hotel nearly did that , we decided to leave the car and make our way into Lille. As anyone who has attended this event will know the whole of Lille is virtually closed to traffic, so public transport or shanks' pony is the only way to travel into the city. Luckily our hotel did have a leaflet printed with the bus and metro details to and from the festival and at least this was a help. We caught the bus to the metro, no problem....however when we went inside the metro it was packed, a huge crowd in front and as we stood a huge crowd followed.
Not being familiar with the system here, or I confess very fluent in the language we were rather nervous of getting in everyone's way so chickened out and set off to walk the rest of the way.
Fortunately we had brought our satnav and were able at least to check we were heading in the right direction and after only about 500 yards we came across the first street of what could only be described as 'car boot' stalls.
Disappointed......not a bit of it... there was a lot of rubbish but a few little gems.......

My first find was the wooden cotton reels. I had been looking at some of these only a few days before, starting at £6 each on Ebay......I picked up these 6 for only 2 Euros.
The beautiful fashion magazines from the 1950s, all nine of them, I got for 3 Euros. Not bad considering the first price quoted was 12!!! They are stunning. Fashion plates, as well as knitting patterns and sewing patterns. I have an idea to scan some of the black and white advertising to print onto fabric for cushions or book covers. I'll let you know how I get on.
The lovely box of Dewhursts thread at the bottom of the picture was not bought in France though, but was a gift from my SIL presented to me as we set off on our journey to add to my sewing room. She is so thoughtful!

We wandered around for what seemed miles, street after street of bric a brac and a great deal of normal market stalls, grabbed something to eat, and finally decided to call it a day...It had been a long one and we still had all of Sunday. We started to head back to the bus station (still too petrified to try the metro....what wimps!) and eventually dozens of wrong turns later, a couple of not very helpful gendarmes and some rather scary dark roads, we found someone who could actually give us the correct directions and by the skin of our teeth we just caught the last bus back to our hotel.

I will skip very quickly over the miniscule room, the shower made for someone much smaller than me ( I'm only 5ft 4in ) that had no ventilation or window, the  strange absence of staff and the fact that this cost us more than our 4 star hotel in Liverpool, because despite that, it was an adventure, and on the Sunday we actually managed to use the bus and the metro like locals and headed towards the river and the 'antiques'.
The only problem here was that just after we arrived back on Saturday night, at about 10.30, there was a cloud burst. Torrential rain fell for some time and it was blowing a gale. Needless to say, those vendors who had relied on the normal beautiful weather and had not erected any kind of shelter found half their stock ruined. We saw beautiful furniture, samplers, paintings etc just spoiled...such a shame.

All in all though we were very glad we went, another thing to tick off our list, and we will certainly return to France again, but perhaps not to this particular event.
By the way the huge pile of black things in the second picture are the moule shells collected outside the restaurants. there is a competition each year to see who makes the biggest mound, hence the railings!
 Well I did say I had lots to relate, though I didn't actually mean in one post so if you have stuck with it...well done.... and so for now.....

A bientot
Jenny xx


  1. Sounds like a real adventure, and didn't you find some lovely things at knock-down prices! I am very impressed that you managed to get the magazines for less than the first price - I seem to be genetically incapable of bartering, which is a bit of a shame, given how much I love car boots, antiques fairs and so on! Have a good day.

  2. so pleased Jenny that you had a good time...nothing quite like walking through French streets crowded with stalls first thing in the morning, and lovely to think of things in terms of an adventure- always puts a different perspective on things that aren't quite as you would like them, but they're always the things you laugh about afterwards!

    Such great bits and pieces that you came home with, def a good trip

  3. Sounds fabulous! And you have the amazing finds to prove it!

  4. Fabulous pics and what a lovely trip. Most envious of those wooden cotton reels.

  5. Sooo envious - France, vintage what more could you want!! Lovely. x


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