Sunday afternoon we sped along curving roads and through numerous traffic circles to the monthly Toulouse flea market, about an hour southeast of the Chateau. Arranged in a long loop, with vendors lined up both sides of each aisle, the brocante offered tons of stuff to sort through. The vendors seemed to know each other and were enjoying the weekend company, visiting back and forth, calling on a friend for help in translation. We wondered whether the slowing economy had also affected their sales. They were certainly happy to see our group ambling through the booths. Necessity being the mother instigator, I found that my rusty French was creaking back into usable phrases. By the end of the afternoon, I was engaged with a toothless vendor in a lengthy discussion on how to care for my newly-purchased large embroidered linen sheet, most of which I understood, I think.
My favorite booth may have been this one with stacks of embroidered convent linens on and under the tables. However, since we all seemed to converge on this vendor at the same time, asking how much for this and how much for that, she apparently felt overwhelmed and scuttled away. Later, on my second loop, I made my small purchase of napkins embroidered with the initial P.
Kaari's sister Molly, Kaari Meng, Kaari's mother Kick
As we neared the end of one side of the loop and were just about pooped from the heat, there was a counter selling sausage, frites, and drinks. Kaari, Molly, Kick, Cathy and I took advantage of the respite to regroup. But as soon as we finished our frites and started down the second aisle, I was diverted again by an old lithograph in an ornate frame sized just right for my larger suitcase. Luckily for me, Molly was ferrying our mounting purchases back to her car. Toward the end of the afternoon, we gathered in a nearby park for a picnic, sitting on Sandy's newly purchased linen sheet spread out on the grass.
Photo by Cathy Mogull
After another delicious dinner by MamaJo back at the Chateau, we shared our brocante finds and our stories of bargaining for le bon prix.
Cheryl, Moda's design director who is collaborating with Kaari on her new French General line of fabrics, happily showed off her linen torchons and fabrics.
Sandy, a senior designer for Moda, found a vintage painting on canvas to roll up and take home to her studio for inspiration.
Photo by Michelle Jorgensen
And above is the large embroidered linen sheet I bargained down to almost half price, with Kaari and Lizzie helping to unfold and examine it on the verandah. Plus a sampling of other treasures of the day below.