Monday, October 3, 2011

Remembering England & France 2010 - Day 6

Sorry for the confusion on trips days - we actually traveled two days/dates due to the time of travel, so Day 5 should be Day 6...

- Day 6 -

Early morning on Day 6 we took the Rail Europe train 2 hours south of Paris to Briare, France.

Briare is a quaint town on the Loire river - home of the Bapterosses Museum (Musée dela mosaïque et des émaux de Briare-le-Canal).  

 Jean-Felix Bapterosses established an extensive factory that produced millions of china buttons, mosaic tiles, and beads for 100 years, 1850-1950.  The factory has ceased making buttons and beads, but actively produces tiles.

Jane Quimby friend and fellow button collector has worked with the museum since 2005 enlightening the button world with historical documentation on china buttons. 

It was through Jane we learned of the Briare factory dump where years and years of seconds, overstock, end of the day sweepings and outdated styles of beads, buttons and tiles had been 'dumped' decades ago.

This dump - a real archeological dig, measures more than three football fields and is said to be 20' deep.  It is large enough that it can be seen in satellite images.

Tara & I knew we must find the dump!

It still amazes me that Tara & I as two non-French speaking American women traveled 4,800 miles without a map to dig in a button dump.

Our map to get to Briare was... follow a street to a path by a canal... follow the canal to a foot path... through the trees...and we found it!

The train station in Briare is a step back in time.   

It is a quaint and beautiful town with numerous waterway canals, healthy gorgeous flowers and lovely mosaic artwork on benches, buildings and bridges.

Here are some photos of Briare, France

Train station


 The Canal de Briare - the aqueduct of Briare

 Town Square and church
Mosaic tile art

 Healthy gorgeous flowers

The 'Dump'
Look to the far center of the photo to see two small openings in the trees, the light area in these openings shows the dump continues 
further, further and further

Over the years vegetation has grown up threw the discarded beads, buttons and tiles.  It almost resembles a gravel bar until you look closer 
 This close up show mainly small tiles & beads

 Just getting started

 I am standing in an hole dug by someone else 

 Tara begins her dig
 A little bit of morning drizzle 

 We dug the hole a little deeper - Tara is standing in it 

Beads and two (pastel pink and yellow) self-shank china buttons!

We spent 9 hours digging and would have stayed longer, but dusk was nearing with a light drizzle of rain - it would have been unsafe to try and find our way out of the woods after dark on wet slippery china treasures.

It was an AMAZING day!
We hope to return to Briare for another dig.

Day Seven is a travel day returning to Paris and then on to London, England.

Come back tomorrow for Day Eight - Fourteen

and join us we remember London.


  1. wow i cant believe you where able to leave. i think hubby has trouble lettin gme go overseas since he knows i might not come back

  2. Oh my goodness -- can I come along for the next dig?! Amazing!

  3. This is just so amazing! I love that you spent 9 hours digging!