The next day we saw old town Apt in a completely different light. This was market day, and it was lined with merchants selling everything from hats to hand baskets, ham to handkerchiefs, haddock to haute cuisine.
We made our way through the throngs and bought some fresh produce: Alex finding purply-pink garlic with 6-inch stems; Jen finding a batch of deep red cherries on the other end of the long table. When I took out my money to pay, the vendor couldn’t figure out who I was paying for; “Les deux” I said, meaning both. “Bravo” the vendor nodded in that French male conspiratorial way. I just shook my head and laughed.
A little further into the market a store caught my eye that sold little placards for mailboxes, or doors or what-have-you. We had two cats at home and Alex was always trying to hide their litter box. Finally she came up with the idea to buy an old French provincial style dresser, cut a hole in the side, put the litter box in and voila: Chateau de Merde. Once we found the dresser, we would need a sign to declare it officially a “House of Shit”. Of course they didn’t have one that read Chateau de Merde, but I thought maybe they could customize one for us.
I struggled to translate this, finally getting my point across to the French sales lady. The lady looked at me a little funny, but said “of course we can order anything you want.” It was expensive, but I was tempted. Thankfully, Alex talked some sense into me: “This stuff is probably made in China. We can find something on-line for half this price.”
And that’s the sad truth about many of the items we found on our trip: “French linen” with the tag cut off which probably had said “Made in China”; “French Truffles” that were packaged in France, so they could officially be labeled “Product of France”, even though the actual truffles inside came from Chinese soil. You really had to look carefully for the treasure and look past the crap… but isn’t that true of any real treasure?