A summer in the Auvergne would not be complete without a trip to the yearly three-day antique show in Allanche, one of the most picturesque villages in the Département du Cantal, which is part of the Auvergne region. The drive to Allanche itself is magnificent, filled with some of the most spectacular vistas. Miles of green pastures give way to distant volcanos and amazing valleys, and dotting the landscape everywhere are small villages made up of slate roofed houses and churches. It doesn't get any better than this.
The antique fair itself is always a lot of fun. Here, one can buy some of the most exquisite armoires and tables as well as the most delicate Limoges tea sets, silver candelabras, bisque dolls and damask table linens. All at incredibly high prices, of course. But amidst those beautiful objects, there are some more mundane items, which are 'reasonably' priced.
My husband and I splurged on a nice old corkscrew and four old meat hooks to attach to the beams in our kitchen, so that we may hang our saucissons from them.
The antique fair was always a favorite of my mother's. Most years, she would try to attend. When my children were spending the summer with her and my father here in our family's house in the Auvergne, she would wake them up in the wee hours of the morning to ensure that she not miss anything. The fair must have been torture for the children, who remember their "Oma" taking hours to browse from one vendor's stall to the next, picking up every object for closer inspection. My father would mostly take the children to a nearby restaurant for lunch, so that my mother could continue looking at everything.
Our son Max and his girlfriend Lucy came with us to Allanche this year.
"Do you remember how much Oma loved this antique fair?" I asked him.
"Yes, I do. We used to lose her all the time and had to go back to find her. I also remember those two-hour lunches with Opa in the restaurant. When the meal was done, Oma had only made it through half of the fair. "
He was not exaggerating, I assure you. My mother loved old objects. I guess I inherited that passion, though I certainly do not take as long as her to cover the entire fair.