7 January 2013



The “twelve months in twelve days” exercise was great fun for me.  Looking back at our photos from 2012 reminded me of the huge amount of things we did last year and lots of them I haven’t posted about.  Yet !!


The band were playing “by the rivers of Babylon” as we arrived.

One of the things I love about France is the free entertainment.  There are very few weekends throughout the year that you can’t wander along to some kind of fête and meet up with friends, have a good laugh, a bit of exercise and a great deal of people watching all for free.  The only thing you pay for is possibly a drink and a plate of sausage and chips if you like.

In the UK very little is free.   At a big event like this one you would almost certainly have to pay to park your car and pay to get in, probably parting with as much as twenty quid before you saw anything at all.


At almost every event, regardless of what it is celebrating, there will be a vide-grenier.  The French equivalent of the car boot sale.  Each town or village will have its own vide-grenier once a year and often it will be tacked onto another event, like this one was.

This was a quality vide-grenier.  There were quite of lot of nice things for sale amongst the broken toys, obsolete electrical items and worn-out boots !!


I have seen the Tupperware lady several times in the last few years.  I haven’t bought anything.  (Yet.)


There were a few things on this stall that I fancied, especially the tiger teapot.  I had my eye on it but it disappeared while I was dithering and trying to make my mind up whether I really needed it or not.

I was not so tempted by the toothbrush.  You do see some surprising things for sale at times.


I often find myself looking at things and wondering who would have bought it in the first place, before it ended up on the stall.  Where did they buy it and what did they do with it, or who did they give it to?


There is nearly always a display of old cars.  Often there are old tractors and motorcycles as well.  Something for everyone.


There is usually something for the kids, such as a bouncy castle.


There is often an exposition – exhibition – of some kind in the village hall or large meeting room.  In this case it was about holidays.

A huge amount of effort must have gone into making these displays and I couldn’t quite see the point of why they were there.  Nobody seemed to be selling anything but they were really well done and fun to see.


Animals are a common feature.  Often sheep, calves or goats in a pen.  Or the fluffy chickens.  At this one we had donkeys.  Very cute and friendly they were too.

So the question is, which event in particular was this one?


It was something that takes place every year, just a few kilometres from Le Grand-Pressigny and this was our first visit.


The fête des confitures- jam festival – at Abilly in May.  Amongst all the other things to look at there were a few stalls selling home-made jam.  We couldn’t resist temptation and bought a few small jars.  We also bought a small bag of wholemeal flour.

The jams were dandelion, a type of sour cherry, a type of nectarine, and rhubarb and prune.


On the way back to the car we bumped into Tim and Pauline, who explained the medicinal properties of what we had bought……pissenlit (dandelion) is a diuretic and as for rhubarbe et pruneaux…….we bought them because we thought they would be tasty but they probably belong in the medicine cabinet !!

Have a good week !!


  1. I love your photos, Jean. they really capture the spirit of the typical country fete. Our tiny commune has its annual fete, of course, but doesn't rise to a vide-grenier. But we are surrounded by communes that do, so there are few summers when I don't come back to our French house with a find or two. Such fun!

  2. What's the 'rhubarbe et pruneaux' supposed to cure? I have an idea, but prefer you telling us ! ;)
    P.S. The photos are great ... so incredibly 'French' ... and yet so familiar.

    1. Martine - rhubarb and prunes both have a reputation for "getting things moving", if you know what I mean !!

  3. I know exactly what you mean by having to pay for things like parking in the UK. When I first came to England I was quite shocked to discover, for example, that you had to pay an entrance fee to the church fair!

    Enjoyed your pictures very much -- as always...

  4. medicinal jams? As Noel Coward says "Well, darling you go on thinking that if it comforts you!" :-)

    1. Spo, I shall use that saying as often as I can, along with "I can resist anything except temptation" !!

      Another favourite is "always be kind, for everyone is fighting their own hard battle", but this is not so easy to remember at times.

  5. Lovely photos and yes it is nice not to have to pay parking etc etc. I so often see dandelion or nettle as ingredients in things, but I have never been brave enough to try! Happy New Year to the 3 of you, Diane

  6. What a great post. And I learned something new about dandelion jam. As for rhubarb and prune, I could have guessed!

  7. what a lovely life we normally come and stay in grand pressigny 3-4 times a year but as my 80 yr old mum is wheelchair bound it looks like the 2weeks in eric duport's place 'The Cannonier' will be the only time in 2014 , can you advise me of the best web site to look at to see what fetes and vide greniers [ bot sales ] are in August . thank you David

  8. Hello David,
    We use this website

    You can also buy a booklet giving all the brocantes in the newsagent's.

    As for events, we usually rely on the tourist office.