Monday, March 23, 2009

Bienvenue a la Braderie!

Good-value second-hand shopping,in aid of a different 'good cause' every the company of cheerful ladies! These amazing women run a 'braderie' every year in the village next door, where my husband works. We were chatting about my blog and they asked if we have anything like a 'braderie' in the UK or the USA. The answer is, not really, partly because it's such a TON of work! It's most like a deposit shop, where you take your good quality second-hand items, and the shop sells them on whilst you recieve a portion of the sale price. At a braderie, however, you take your goods, labelled with all relevant details and the price you want for them, and the dedicated ladies assign each item a number. This takes place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. You pay the ladies a certain amount, according to the number of items you have for sale, I think. Then on Saturday and Sunday, the shopping begins! As everything is clean, folded, sorted, labelled, and priced, it's nothing like a Jumble Sale. Prices are a bit higher but it's easier to shop and high-quality items are included in the sale.
Here are our cheerful ladies again, because this is the check-out, where you realise how much work has gone in to the event. Things move VERY slowly! Each of the ladies on the right has a book, with numbers 1-400 in the first book, 401-800 in the next, etc. The first lady on the left looks at each of your items in turn, calling out the number, description and price. The lady on the right with the correct book stops chatting with a start, finds the number, and checks that the description is correct and crosses out the item. On Sunday evening or Monday the vendors turn up and find out from the books how much money they have made.
As this badly photographed banner shows, every year (over the last 20 years) the money raised has gone to a different local project - a computer room for the village, books for the nursery school, a play centre...
This village bradrie is particularly cheerful. Last year I turned up just after their lunch break, and the ladies insisted on my trying several of the home-made cakes they were sharing. This year I arrived during a crowded moment, and suddenly one of the woman jumped up, grabbed a claxon and hooted it loudly. She announced: 'We have a winner!' They had arranged some kind of prize and one of the shoppers had unwittingly won their goody bag. The atmosphere is punctuated by gales of laughter, and last year one of the elderly ladies had just arrived on the back of a motorbike, driven by a very hunky young man. The screams of delight were wild and long-lasting.
Now, if anyone knows anything about France, you may find this as unusual as I do. People really are very quiet and restrained, and don't want to make a display of themselves in public. Women in particlar stay graceful and calm... except here. The cheerful ladies invited me to join them to 'experience the spirit of braderie'. They say, 'we laugh a lot, we eat a lot, we work hard...' I actually don't think I have the time, as I teach every day, but it would be quite an experience...
As you can see from my photos, I bought a vintage platter, two little mauve planters, a crochet jumper, a groovy T-shirt (in most backgrounds), a book and a very non-French DVD. The total came to 15 euros. I also met my friend Sylvie, who said 'people are going to think we share the same address!', referring to the fact that we seem to meet at every second-hand shopping opportunity in the area!And, as always, when I came out, under my windscreen wipers was a flyer about another forthcoming event of interest to braderie-goers...
I also want to tell you about the most lovely giveaway, over at la Maison Douce. Isabel Lang, who is now based in the USA and writing in English, has an amazing European background and has organised three giveaways to celebrate her 100th post. The post tells you about her fascinating life and the reason that the three giveaways are from Portugal, England and Morocco. It is well worth reading.


Hollypop's said...

Sounds like great fun, I've never been to one.
Like the platter you bought and your other bits.
Nothing like a bargain and some homemade cake to make for a good day out.

This Vintage Life... said...

Hi, Thanks for popping over..
I think a braderie sounds a great idea but a bit too complicated for british tastes maybe! We like a good jumble sale 'rugby scrum' better!
Deb x

Elizabethd said...

Such fun , these braderies. I wish we had more of them here.