Brick and Mortar, the mall, the internet, however you do it, shopping is a part of life. It’s how we get groceries, shoes, furniture, everything that we need to feel comfortable in our lives. We all know how brick and mortar stores are struggling, and lately I’ve been thinking about what makes me step away from my device and get in a car to shop. Since I take people shopping in France, that is where I am starting. My visitors come primarily to look for brocante items, or antiques. Inevitably, they go home with a scarf, a pair of shoes, something that to them screams France. The plein aire marches are where it usually starts. Historically, these markets take place in a specific villages, on set days for hundreds of years. Rain or shine, year after year. Some are everyday working markets where everything from hardware to chickens, to cheese is sold. Then there are the markets of character, where the local alpaca herder sells their wool, handmade pottery, jewelry, artisan clothes are sold. I try to get my groups to at least one of these markets.
These kinds of signs tend to draw me away from the crowded squares.
Sleepy villages wake up on market days. People stop for coffee, catch up on the local gossip, generally socialize with friends and neighbors. Shops are all open, as well as regular vendors crowding the square or lining the side streets. If you drive through one of the villages on a non-market day, you might think that no one lives there.
This is one of the prettiest dressing rooms I’ve ever seen in a shop. Notice the candle? Everyone bought something here.