Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Brocante des livres

Well we couldn't really resist, could we? A book fair, and in a nearby village - just the thing for a late Saturday morning before going home to do a few more outside chores.

bar-brasserie Le Panier d'Alice
There is a local association called 'Le Champ des Livres' [more info] which promotes things of a literary & cultural nature: readings; writing workshops and so on. They describe themselves 'un association nomade'; ie peripatetic. They host events in various, mainly rural, locations round and about South Touraine.

It was Le Champ des Livres who were running the brocante at the bar-brasserie Le Panier d'Alice in the village of La Celle Guenand. From time to time they also host the Café franco-anglais for French and English speakers at this venue.

exterior & belltower
We were greeted by a charming French lady who was so enthusiastic that A had picked out a couple of Maigret novels she insisted on adding a book for free ['La fin de la Nuit' by Francois Mauriac].  A's not at all sure it is her type of novel but she'll give it a go. Outside there was also a box of English classic titles. Copies of William Corbett's 'Rural Rides' and Samuel Butler's 'The Way of all Flesh' -- both Classic Penguins and out of print -- found their way onto our little pile of goodies. All the paperbacks were 1€ so we got some great bargins.

  
eroded west front









While we were there we popped into the church which, sadly, is in urgent need of repair and restoration. Inside it is suffering badly from damp and outside there is plenty of evidence of erosion and fragile stonework.

font with faces





So much so, that the west door has been braced and is no longer used. Inside we spotted a lovely medieval font [probably 12thC] with carved faces as decoration. The bell tower has lovely Romanesque arches. Hopefully it will get some TLC very soon.

As we drove home with our 'loot' we had the roof open to make the most of the fantastic weather we've been having.

22 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
No, we should not have been able to resist the Book Fair either. You certainly do sound to have been able to snap up bargains and how very civilised for the Fair to be held in a café!

It is sad to see so many rural churches in need of repair. We really do fear that so many of them will just become beyond all hope of restoration if this tide of destruction is not halted soon.

Susan said...

I don't quite know what the problem with the repairs of the church in La Celle-Guenand is. I thought it was all in train a couple of years ago, but nothing has actually happened. As usual, I forgot the book fair was on...

The Broad said...

So many churches in rural France in need of urgent repair or at least some TLC. Fortunately, the 12th Century church in or village has found the funds to do the renovation it so desperately needs. But it is quite shocking to go into some of these ancient buildings, some of them quite prominent, and discover birds flying around inside as well as debris and other signs of neglect.

Love the sound of your book brocante -- it would be lovely to find one in our neck of the woods and divest ourselves of some of our excess library...

Perpetua said...

What a good day you had! A book fair would be right up my street too, but so far I've had to content myself with the local vide-grenier bookstalls, with people trying to sell me Mills & Boon novels in French at 10 for a euro. :-)

It's sad to see the church so neglected. One of the few advantages of all the war damage in our area is that the churches have been thoroughly restored or rebuilt, but then somehow they lack a sense of history....

GaynorB said...

We are always hoping that one of the meetings will coincide with a visit. When we arrived on Saturday we saw the sale and intended to pop back later. Needless to say we forgot!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Book Fairs are definitely our cup of tea as well, but nothing like that round where we live and certainly not books in English.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I love book fairs, I generally come back with the boot of the car full, at least 50% are not too bad!
Sounds to me like the budget is low if the church is standing by waiting for restoration. The trouble is the longer it is left the more expensive it becomes! Happy Easter Diane

Jean said...

I love book fairs and find books irresistible. Wish we could have been there !!
I hope the weather holds for our trip, we're expecting snow here tonight - snow !! - it was 21°C last week !!

the fly in the web said...

'Le Champ de Livres' sounds a great organisation - and I envy your bargains!

A great shame about the church in such a bad state of repair - but where is the restoration of local churches in the varying Presidential campaign offerings...

ladybird said...

What a nice find! When I first saw the photo of the bar I thought it was the 'Epicerie Gourmande' in Villandry. Have you ever been there? It's a lovely place, selling yummy cheeses, salamis, wines, herbs and teas. It also runs a small restaurant where you can eat delicious salads and sweet and savoury crêpes. I strongly recommend it! Martine

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance - it was nice to pick up some aged [but in good condition] Penguin classics :-)
Sad indeed, but fingers crossed some repairs will happen.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - although tidy and obviously looked after [swept etc] it was very damp inside; so some work is urgently needed.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Broad - there were plenty of pigeons roosting in nooks in the outside stonework. Not helpful for the building's condition

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - *mild shudder* at Mills & Boon in French!
It is sometimes sad to see over-restored or rebuilt churches as they lose some of their soul; like an over restored piece of furniture loses its patination of use. But then as you say in your area they had no choice.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - don't know how often the hold these brocantes but will keep an eye out.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@LindyLou - not common here at all. This is the one and only.

Remember one summer we rented a place near St Antonin Noble Val [much further south in the Quercy] and found a wonderful English secondhand bookstore where you could lose yourself for hrs on a hot day. A real higgledy-piggledy place :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - we love books and have to keep creating more space. So every so often we have a cull. Then we start to re-fill the space we've liberated!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jean - it is a bit 'fresh' today but should improve a little -- 17C -- by the weekend.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fly - lord knows! Did you see the most recent cover of the Economist [re French elections]? Says it all.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Martine - no, but it sounds a fab place to go![haven't been to Villandry since the late 1990's]

Vera said...

Now that book fayre sounds interesting. Would love to have had a rummage amongst the books myself! Hope you enjoy your reading, and wishing you a lovely and peaceful Easter.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vera - we can never resist a rummage and always come away with a purchase or two. The reading in French will take a bit of effort :-).
Hope you have a happy & peaceful Easter as well.