As our time in Montauban was nearing an end we all rested in the courtyard enjoying a cafe au lait and sharing our treasures we had found that day.
This was always one of my favorite times of the day when I could see all the amazing vintage finds that each woman had spotted and found beauty in.
There were a few finds that I wish had been mine.
As it was time to leave we were told that we were going to make a stop on our way back to the chateau and hopefully do a little more treasure hunting.
Truth be told..I was tired and really ready to relax, eat dinner and get packed for my trip to Paris.
I had no idea where we were going.
We drove to an old, abandoned hat factory.
From the moment we drove up I could feel this was special.
Something I have never experienced and will never have the opportunity to do again.
The owner of the hat factory unlocked the doors and let us in.
Let us find our treasures among the remains of a once bustling factory.
It was surreal and overwhelming.
You could feel the excitement of all the women and their need to search quickly and find treasures before someone else could scoop them up.
As everyone rushed to find whatever gems this old building held....I stepped aside.
I do that.
When others are really excited.... I mellow.
When everyone rushed one direction ....I went the other.
When everyone was gushing, giggling, yelling about this amazing experience...I was quiet.
I don't know why I do this.
I am not the quiet girl in the group. I have never been.
While everyone else was focusing on the ribbons and millinery I was falling in love with old drawers, stamps, scissors.......
I didn't mean to be drawn to all the old woods and metals...while everyone else had their arms full of rich, vintage colors.
My heart started to race a bit just dreaming of taking these items back home.
When the owner told me he could not part with them I wanted to hide them, steal them, take them anyways...but I did not (I swear).
Where I explored it was more quiet.
I was able to capture parts of the factory with my lens that I didn't want to forget.
Gee, the owner, saw my quiet and interest and walked me around the factory explaining everything to me in French (which I could barely understand).
I nodded and followed.
I let him show me the machines and show me how hats are sewn.
I think it made him happy to show me around a place that had once been so much of his life.
In the end I had my small pile of ribbons, millinery, labels that I had collected and I waited anxiously for the amount that he would want for everything.
Looking back I can not believe the dark corners and boxes I stuck my hands.
I half expected to see a rat at any moment and I searched anyways because I knew this was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad we were all a little fearless that day.
(Cathy showing off her box of vintage treasures)