Our Vide Grenier – A Treasure Hunter’s Delight !!

The Tall Book of Make-Believe - Handwork Homeschool - vintage book

There are many “nights-before” which I eagerly anticipate –

there’s the night-before Christmas (that’s usually filled with lots of last-minute making,
truckloads of candy & a flurry of wrapping paper…), the night before my birthday
(that’s when I start counting the years & wonder how many candles will ACTUALLY
be on my cake this year..) and then there’s the night before
our village’s annual Vide Grenier!

If you’ve ever felt the teeniest stirring of excitement at the idea of
attending a garage sale or dropping into a second hand shop – then
this event would bowl you right over… seriously, if I had to make a choice
between wandering through the best flea markets in Paris or stepping out
my front door tomorrow…there would be NO contest!
vide grenier jugon les lacs

Starting tonight, there will be a steady stream of cars, trucks & vans stealthily entering our
little village & by 5 AM tomorrow our quiet little part of France will be bustling with about
10,000 visitors – each keen on finding their “perfect” find ( or should I say trésor? )

Strictly speaking “Vide Grenier” translates as “empty attic” but there’s a whole lot more
available to see than a few old things from someone’s attic.

When we first arrived here, we’d never heard of such a thing but it wasn’t long before we
discovered that pretty much every village, town & city around has at least one of these
grand, shop-o-ramas.

The big ones ( & ours counts as one of the biggest) also draw bona-fide antique dealers
& professional sellers (our neighbour times her annual vacation to coincide with this
weekend – just so she can bring things she’s collected in Paris all year to sell here!)

This is our village square, regularly you could walk down in it about 3 minutes
– tomorrow, I’m aiming to get through it in less than 2 hours!

vide grenier jugon les lacs

So, what have I bought at vide greniers?  

Well, the book at the top is one of my best printed finds.
The Tall Book of Make-Believe, was published in 1950 & illustrated by Garth Williams
( you know, the one of Little House-fame). I paid 5 euros for it – today I looked online
& a younger version is available for almost 300!

Handwork Homeschool - time

I generally do well with books because a) I’m looking for English books & b) I’m looking
for books that I can use in our homeschool – I’m sure many of the books I buy were
given to little ones  by well meaning grandparents, to “edify” them…
some have hardly been touched.

The one above, was sold by our local library – it is very cool & I don’t mind translating
it at all!  Or this one …!


Other things I’ve scored over the years have included amazing textile finds & things
related to historic dress – 18th century is my greatest weakness.

 Isn’t this tin gorgeous?!?

18th century costume - Handwork HomeschoolBeautiful laces (many handmade!) ….

antique lace - Handwork Homeschool

I’ll never forget the moment my eye fell on this box in a pile of knick-knacks – I picked
it up because I liked the fabric it was covered with (boxes & tins are starting to become a
bit of a “thing” with me… then I shook it & I KNEW the sound instantly.  

I cautiously opened it up & I was right!

antique knitting needles - Handwork HomeschoolYes, it was FULL of a collection of knitting needles – some are even made of bakelite!

I casually asked the young guy minding the table how much he wanted for the “box”.

He wanted 6 euros , “Oh”, I said, “that’s an awful lot for a box …” he opened it
& told his friend it was “just full of some OLD needles”.

“OK, how about 4 euros?”  SOLD!

You know that IKEA ad, where the woman comes running out after having just
bought something at an amazing price screaming …. START THE CAR!!!

(OK, I didn’t yell it out but I really wanted to…!)

antique knitting needle collection - Handwork Homeschool

 My family is almost as excited about tomorrow as I am !

THE Wish List – 

My 10 year old son – tools, tools & more tools
My 6 year-old daughter  (who just learned how to knit TODAY!) –
knitting things & doll clothes
My husband – tools, tools & more tools (& some good sausage)

Me – anything related to historic costume (18th & 19th century would be good),
delicious textile-y things (might have to add MORE lace to my stash) & of course,
more books for our homeschool!

Wish us good searching & happy finds!  






P.S. Have you got your own collection of knitting needles?  

Click HERE to become a Handwork Homeschooler & access
the freebies page where you’ll find a handy knitting
needle inventory list ( & more…)!

P.P.S.  You can bet that I’ll be posting about what we find  -stay tuned!

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10 Responses to Our Vide Grenier – A Treasure Hunter’s Delight !!

  1. zauberflink says:

    The lace is stunning – such lovely finds!!


    • It’s truly amazing what you can find at these events! I try to ask the people selling the items about them – just to get a bit of history. I once bought some unfinished hand-embroidered trim that a woman’s great-aunt had started as part of her training to become a professional embroiderer. It was so intricate!

      Most of the time, the pieces I buy just go into my “stash” – I can’t bear to think of cutting them!


  2. Heather says:

    Looks like an amazing day! And I do have a collection of knitting needles…and am always looking for more 🙂


    • Hi Heather
      I’ve read of glass needles & those made of walrus tusk (thanks to EZ!) – would love to find either. I’m quite partial these days to a set that my daughter just made – I can feel her when I use them!


  3. It sounds very exciting, I hope you find lots more gorgeous things.


  4. Maureen Richard says:

    What a fabulous event right at home! Hope you have a great day and find lots of inspiring things!


  5. chris says:

    Very envious! Have a fun day.


  6. moniquetedeschi says:

    Oh good ! Very funny Elizabeth ! Have a nice day tomorrow and wish you many tools, doll-clothes and textile-y things !
    See you soon 🙂


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