French Market Review - March, 2014

Last Sunday I visited the lovely village of Sainte-Patrice with its grand Château de Rochecotte.    It’s now a luxury hotel, but was once the home of the Duchess Dorothea de Dino and Prince Edmond de Talleyrand, a French General in the Napoleonic wars.  They had numerous domains, but Chateau de Rochecotte, which they bought in 1828, was the Duchess’ favourite due to its lovely views.

It’s positioned slightly higher than the surrounding village and church.... here’s my photo, which is not the best – but gives an idea of its elevated position above the flea market!

The sun was out in full force, and so was the whole of the Loire Valley!  The market was bustling with excited stallholders and treasure hunters.  One stallholder had a display of various chairs from different periods – plus a few stools and a petite school chair.  Among these (just in the forefront of the photo) and carrying on the ‘chair’ theme was a 1950s child’s bucket pushchair.    A very basic design with a metal frame and hanging stripy canvas seat – the child would put their legs through the two canvas holes at the front and rest their feet on a metal foot rest, which was missing on this model !

Further along another stallholder was carrying on the chair theme also!

He had two unusual stools which had legs made from old gnarled grape vines - I haven’t seen any of these before, only plenty of corkscrews with old vine handles.  I did think that the stool looked a little ugly, but I could imagine the pleasure the wine producer would have – enjoying a glass of his own wine which has come from the old gnarled vines that he is sitting on – perfect!

The market was in the center of the village, and as the morning wore on the streets became even busier.   As usual that the whole of the village was closed off to vehicles and over a hundred stalls lined the winding streets.  When the market is in a farmer’s field then it’s quite easy to navigate, as I go up and down the stalls systematically!   However, with the whole village taken over it’s easy to lose your bearings, as the street names are covered with large parasols, carpets, fishing rods and hanging clothes!     

After two hours of getting completely absorbed in wonderful French treasures, I had no idea where I was in the village, which happens all too often!   And so this is why this beautiful old car was very useful on Sunday!   It was parked on the outskirts of the village, a little further up from where I had parked.  So when I had finished my treasure hunting, instead of having to go up and down each street hoping to see my car (also another chance to make sure I haven’t missed any treasures) this time I had a marker – the lovely old car.

How I wish I could have taken that home with me!

 janette.sumner@yahoo.fr