In the big square in Saint Raphael, just across from the train station and 2 blocks from the beach and harbor, the town has all sorts of events going on throughout the year. Over the Christmas holidays, they put up a big ice skating rink and booths to sell hot chocolate and churros.
In the summer, we can count on two things: first, a circus tent where you can sign your kids up for a bit of circus performer training. They'll learn to juggle, to go on a little trapeze (with safety harnesses of course), balance on a giant ball, walk a balance beam (about 2 inches off the floor for the young ones, so they don't have far to fall) and the kids seem to have a good time. Le Garçon did that program a couple of times when he was younger; now, just weeks from his 13th birthday, he wouldn't be caught in that tent with the little kids. Ah, how times flies.
The other thing we have at the square is a daily antiques fair. Dozens of vendors come out in the late afternoon (they're smart enough to avoid the hottest part of the day, siesta time) and set up their tables. I love browsing at antique fairs in France because I often see items that are so different than what I'm used to from similar shows back home. I also love finding things that are just truly bizarre.
So here's what I spotted the other day when we walked around:
Old coffee grinders, an old bell, pewter cups and candlesticks, an old lantern, and I think I spot a blunderbus in there?
One vendor specialized in old US license plates. I flipped through his collection looking for the tell-tale bland cream-and-black NJ plates, and wasn't disappointed. This one dates back to 1946! Guess he finds them on the internet because I have a hard time believing he roams the 50 states looking for cheap plates for sale, and with shipping and all I would expect a sizable markup. But 49€? Pass.
Not a real American flag but one of those tacky knock-offs, this one with a tractor trailer imprinted on it. The army helmet might be the real deal, though. Just down the road from Saint Raphael, on the 15th of August, there will be a LOT of war memorabilia for sale as this marks the 70th anniversary of the US/Allied landing to liberate the south of France.
And talk about bizarre? Check out THIS display:
I don't even want to know what a potential buyer would have in mind if they took home one of these mannequin -- uh -- parts.