It's la rentrée time in France. The August holidays are over, and people are going back to work or back to school. The event happens every year but the back-to-school aspect of it still gets wide news coverage, with a good five to ten minues devoted every evening for a week, on what needs to be bought, how much it will cost, and the implications. It seems to be bigger than the real new year on Jan 1st in its significance to French life.
It's also the time for car boots sales, vide greniers. We're quite lucky in that there are four that we could go to, all in a straight line journey. We went to two of them; the one in Laval and the one in the smaller town of Argentré that is on the way to Laval. We had some small difficulty in confirming beforehand that the Laval one was in fact taking place, but it always happens at the same time as the other three, and "everyone knows this". It's normally the biggest one around.
I was on the lookout for a used hose reel (didn't find one), but it's always good to nose around. I bought a few CDs (25 cents each, you can't argue) and a length of plastic tube that I have a use for in the veg patch.
The Laval one was poorly attended; not many stands and few buyers. It was covered in the local paper the day after and everyone agreed that it was way below expectations. Next year we are promised more publicity together with bouncy castles to attract a bigger audience.
Argentré by contrast was hopping, so Laval's poor showing wasn't anything to do with any fundamental changes in outlook for consumerism in France. We shall see what happens next year.