The story behind My Vide Grenier, my online France Shop for vintage wares, began in Belgium. long before I went to France. I first stepped foot into Old Europa charm in Ghent, before I ever went to France. There was a tiny corner shop with a wood-framed glass door and front display window chock-full of bric a brac, antiques, curios and heirlooms. I’d never seen anything like it. When I opened the door, an old Victorian brass shopkeeper’s bell jingled overhead, giving her notice of a guest arriving. This day, standing in the middle of it all, was Jet. Spectacled, in black, wisely quiet, her hands were folded softly in front of her. It was oh, so quiet in there, and oh, so small. Yet somehow, armoires lined the walls, and were filled with stacks of starched and folded linens, bedspreads and lace … A hand-crank sewing machine that conjured a journey on the Orient Express sat on the floor … Tables were strewn casually with one-of-a-kind treasures. Beauty was everywhere. Magic was afoot. It fed my soul like rain to flowers. Here was a proprietor who for decades received goods from chateaux on the French/Belgian border to the attics of Ghent. It was as if she herself was the crossroads; those who found her, loved and trusted her to properly care for some part of a life once lived but now gone. They delicately emptied their cherished goods into her hands, and she ushered them forward to new caretakers. This little cobblestoned corner of the world was all hers — a world she cared for deeply, and shared with those who walked through her door. She inspired me then and she inspires me now. My obsession only grew, and solidified when I went to France. Every summer, all over France, villages host their own vide grenier or village flea market. It literally means ‘empty the attic.’ Fluorescent yellow, orange and green posterboard signs are scotch-taped in boulangerie windows and hoisted on posts along the side of the road to alert you to dates. Tables are propped up with goods piled high, and scavengers like me are there at first light to find treasures. This isn’t a new activity for me; my home in France is a working embodiment of the best a vide has to offer; authentic French wares, from linens to silverware, and porcelain to pichets. Living in Normandy now for over 16 years, both full and part time, I’ve had a front row seat of choice picks, whether at the summer vide, or in a brocante discovered while passing through a village or town. I always stop, and I nearly always find a treasure to bring home. In fact, I recently found a massive chestnut plate/dish display rack I hauled home to serve as the ‘holding station’ for goods on their way to you. With a bow to Jet, it is with total joy I share My Vide Grenier with you. It’s my corner of the world stacked with vintage wares for you to have & hold.