One of the places in which I am happiest is a very old farmhouse in the middle of fields, somewhere outside a tiny little medieval town in the heart of la France profonde. Angles sur L’Anglin is a ville fleurie in the Vienne, about an hour south of Tours and 45 minutes east of Poitiers, complete with picturesque ruined château.
This is where August is spent profitably in wrangling godchildren, baking apple cakes, writing in a swinging basket chair suspended from a tree in the courtyard, drinking red wine, and gently communing with one of my dearest friends (blimey, I’ve just counted on my fingers — it must be nearly twenty years M), her relations, and her adopted French family.
M & I are always allowed one day off from child-wrangling, when we leave the children with her husband and family and bugger off on our own private mission. In 2011, I wanted to cherish M, so we hoofed it to La Roche-Posay, the therapeutic spa town just up the road, where I booked her in for her first ever facial at Melusine, the beauty centre part of the town, and we did some lolling about in robes, drinking tisanes. Last summer we didn’t stray far: just down into Angles for the annual vintage book fair.
This is when Angles stops being quite so profonde, and book & print dealers from Paris and indeed all over France, decamp to Angles to sell their wares. (After all, Paris is like a ghost town in mid-August.)
The entire village is given over to books, their related ephemera, and prints. Every corner, every public space, every alley has a stall piled with dusty and slightly foxed volumes or a sheet pinned with flapping prints.
Oh it is *such* a good thing nearly everything is in French, or I would be bent double under the weight of leather bound volumes on the way home to London. (I do read French, but somehow it never seems enormously pleasurable. Too many shades of school.)
But it’s the prints that M and I came for. We spent what seemed like hours, thumbing through piles and piles of 20th century advertising prints, and costume plates.
And these glorious advertisements for brands I know so well…
I couldn’t resist buying this one for the Lancome PR here in London:
(I am going to be giving away some of the prints I bought here on LLG at the end of the week, so do stay tuned.)
I was also entranced to come across these folios of maps from long superceded atlases, and bought sheaves to frame for my office wall and for my friend Anne who has a London-based business teaching schoolchildren about maps, (and a map fetish too, if truth be told.)
oh and finally, Helen, I saw this and thought of you: