Not for sale….

With armoires and buffets stowed with the shipper, and the contents of Sylvie rearranged, we left Avignon and drove up through the Rhone wine region towards Le Puy en Velay to see our friend Francoise. Violent winds rocked the van.  First through vines, then cypress and pine as rain clouds roiled above us. Fortresses and villages clung to pre-Alpes gradients.  Wind turbine propellors lost in cloud. Through black forests of sweet chestnut and pine, and past hunkered rough stone houses, we followed the twisting roads of the Vivarais.  Emerging eventually onto the D21 towards St Agreve, shafts of gold evening sun pierced the cloud and we arrived at Francoise’s rugged chateau just before night. My friendship with Francoise had been kindled through a shared love of brocante some years before.  Next morning she took us up to the Emmaus depot in an industrial landscape on the outskirts of Le Puy. Although there was nothing out of the normal here it was a delight to find bedside tables, chairs and vintage ceramics. Good solid pieces with a nice shape.

On the route back we visited an old friend of Francoise who lived in a large house, partly built on a volcanic plug. She showed us around and led us to the Renaissance tower, once housing part of a garrison that guarded the river below. We paused on the stone spiral staircase as she opened a door: “Si vous aimez la brocante ca va vous plaire.” If you love brocante you will like this. Here was the repository of family furniture, portraits of grandmothers and many boxes. There were cobwebs in here over a hundred years old. A chandelier suspended from a beam caught the light from a dusty window. Louis XVI style chairs were piled in a corner. Extreme self restraint was required.

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