Make sense of... French vide greniers

Spring heralds the return of warm weather, longer days and lighter nights – and the start of the vide grenier season. This is France’s take on the good old jumble or car boot sale.

The term vide grenier literally means “empty attic”, and it offers a chance to get your hands on serious second-hand bargains, from clothes and shoes to toys, small electricals and just about anything else.

These sales often take place on the street or in public squares but can be held inside sports halls.

Depending on which region you happen to be in, they may also be known as foire aux puces (flea market), foire à tout (Normandy), réderie (Picardy), pucier (Dauphiné), bric-à-brac (Centre-ouest) or troc et puces.

Confusingly, they are called brocantes in Belgium, which in France is generally reserved for sales held by professionals.

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