brocante

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We spend some of every summer in a cottage in Normandy. Whilst we are there, one of our favourite treats (in addition to the glasses of kir and plates of croissants) is to take a trip to a brocante or vide-grenier (roughly the French equivalent of a car boot sale). Somehow the thrill of searching for bargains is far greater when the items in question are paid for in Euros and bargained for in French! You never know quite what you will find at a vide-grenier. The ones that we frequent, in rural Normandy, are a mixture of the antique; the retro; the charmingly distressed; the pedestrian and the downright tacky. My magpie eye is drawn to the colourful glassware; the well-worn linens; the gilt picture frames and above all the vintage cameras. This year, however, my pragmatist husband won out and we did not come home with a broken camera but with a pretty blue and white cake stand plate, an art deco style Pernod jug and a pair of gloriously kitsch aperitif glasses. The boys? Not for them the pretty or the kitsch. They managed to score a ride-on Claas tractor and trailer which just about made their holiday.

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