Sometimes I amaze myself at how little I get done in an average week in France, what with all the dog walking, dog grooming, driving 25km to buy organic vegetables (v. bad carbon footprint I know), keeping the plants in the courtyard alive and visiting friends. But this week, I discovered a new diversion. Hidden deep in the French countryside, I have found a depot vente/reclamation yard of the kind that sends bargain-hunters and lovers of old rustic French furniture into a frenzy of excitment.
When I first moved to the Poitou, I was very excited to find that the area was known for its bargain antiques. But with a few notable exceptions, all the depot ventes, vide greniers and brocantes that I have visited so far, have been disappointing, offering old childrens' toys and broken typewriters at one end of the spectrum and wildly over-priced, over-restored furniture at the other.
So when friends took me to this Aladdin's cave on Tuesday, I couldn't believe the booty to be had. My haul included an old chestnut writing desk for €15, a chestnut side table for €25 and two little benches (shown) for €5 each, which I figured at the very least could be used to display plants in the courtyard. On Friday, I went back and bought an old trunk, which will double as storage and a coffee table.
My little house is already stuffed to the rafters but I can always store things in the garage. So, despite the fact that I should be concentrating this week on my day job as a luxury goods journalist, already I'm counting down the minutes until the reclamation yard opens at 2pm on Tuesday ....