Readers of The Bubble Joy know that my recent journey to France was far from a pleasure trip. My husband and I spent much of our time in a hospital room. (More on that here.) However, French hospitals enforce strict visiting hours, so most mornings and late evenings, we found ourselves sometimes wandering the streets of Dijon, relishing the differences, and chuckling at the similarities. Street signs were some of the first things we noticed, especially ones in honor of interesting names and framed by vining grape.
One day we stumbled upon this "marché de puces" also known as a flea market. Imagine my joy! I almost forgot about the poor patient back in the hospital. Prices were quite high and it is hard to haggle when your French numbers are shaky. (For example, in French, ninety-three is said like this: four twenties and thirteen.) Still, I did snag some goodies I'll share in a future post.
The shelf above was not one of my purchases and I regret it immensely. Isn't it so unique? But how to get it home? And what to display on it that could possibly hold its own against such a backdrop? It didn't make the cut.
Sellers there reminded me of flea market sellers here -- they have a lot of time on their hands so they love to chat. This seller told me that his son is in the United States, in "Minion Police." I asked if this is a branch of the military that is new? That handles only smaller misdemeanors maybe? My question was met with the French popping of eyeballs and puffing of cheeks, which denotes confusion. I eventually realized he had told me his son is in Minneapolis.
Everywhere we roamed, we saw beautiful children. This next statement will not make me any friends but it is scientifically true: French children are cuter than ours. Maybe it was my fragile state of mind, maybe it is the adorable way their parents dress them in nautical stripes and wonderful footwear, or maybe I am swayed by their impeccable manners and the fact that they just don't fuss, at least not in public. For heaven's sake I wish I had a photo of the two-year-old pixie girl wearing a polkadot scarf artfully wrapped around her throat in a way that proved French style is genetic. In any case, there is probably a study that backs up my casual observation but the scientist doesn't have the nerve to publish it.
By far our most memorable outing was the morning we spent with our son's friend Lois, pictured above with her vintage Citroen. Isn't she gorgeous? The woman, I mean. Lois is from New Zealand and she winters in France. A funny story about her. She might have special powers. As she and I strolled together, I mentioned that I'd like to stop in a drug store to buy some bandaids for a blister. She said she would keep her eyes peeled for one. I thought she meant she would watch for a drug store. But she kept looking at the ground. And lo! Within three steps she stopped and picked up a bandaid, pristine in its package, and handed it to me.
Anyway, Lois squired us around Beaune which is just down the road from Dijon. Its marché was teeming with vendors of all sorts. Such bounty! Like gigantic piles of proof that Burgundy is the richest agricultural region in France.
Many of the shoppers pulled along tiny little carts. Others had stylish market totes under their arms. No one I saw was adequately equipped to haul bootie the way that I would be hauling. Which ideally involved a large American grocery cart, with no child in the seat.
Feast on the rest of these photos because next week, it is back to work. I'm replenishing Finder Not Keeper and will be sharing a sneak peek at some of the incredible collections.