Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Went to a French car boot sale (Brocante)

(I've given up trying to post these historical entries from our Easter holiday on the right day as it seems to mess up the RSS feed. Instead I'll just post them as I write them)

After our M20 holdups and dash for the ferry we arrived late at the Gite and weren't planning on getting up all that early.

Of course the kids had other ideas and so on the Sunday we decided to go to a French car boot sale.

There are lots of different types of street markets, car boot sales, Vide Grenier's and Brocante's in Brittany and this one was typical of many we've been to, it was held in a village sports hall on the other side of Pontivy.

I don't know if you've seen the BBC 1 daytime TV programme where two people (with their English expert) go to a French antique market, buy up various objects and curios, and then take them back to the UK to hopefully sell for a profit, but our experience of French antique markets is that they're extremely variable and on the whole the quality is seems to be lower than in the UK. Quite often some of the stuff being sold is broken, dirty, worn out and/or overpriced. We've seen furniture that requires serious renovation going for hundreds of euro's and tables piled up with stuff that would be better served in the public tip than in a charity shop.

Vide Grenier literally translates to 'empty loft' and so you get the idea of the sort of things you will find there!

Having said all that though some of the things are quite nice and we've bought a coffee table, a kids bike, games, toys and old fashioned farm equipment for good prices to put in the Gite. I think you have to be prepared for the quality, that's all, and not be surprised if you don't buy anything. At this one we went to the boys bought a couple of Playstation games (€2 each) and we bought a picture (€5) for the Gite.

Afterwards as it was lunchtime we had saucisse et frites from one of the stalls with lashings of tomato sauce for the boys and mustard for me. Absolutely delicious!

Sitting down and eating what was a very simple meal that had cost only €7.50 for all four of us (£5) it reminded me just why we love France so much. It's not necessary to have fine meals and expensive wine, even the humblest frankfurter and french fries can be heaven on earth.

Afterwards at home I took down all the gates to the Gite. Last year one of the driveway gates broke and in January I spent the weekend rebuilding it. Several other of the cross pieces and uprights were rotting through and I thought it'd be a simple job to replace the broken bits.

On taking down the gates and cutting new cross braces I found out that I'd insufficient wood and didn't have any undercoat paint either. Trip required to the shops next day.

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