Bellac
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Go "brocanting" in Limousin
A recent relaxing stay in a tiny village in Limousin, revealed that apart from the morning jaunt to the boulangerie for croissants, there wasn't a heck of a lot to do in that part of the French countryside. What it can offer, however, is some excellent bargain hunting opportunities. Here the brocantes - a combination of junkshop and antiques market - are housed in out of town warehouses and they're a treasure trove. Furniture, furnishings, jewellery, books, kitchenware, vintage clothes and accessories - and most of them going for a song. Even when I wasn't in the purchasing mood, I found the brocantes endlessly fascinating as a sort of Museum of Everything... Bellac has a number of good brocantes, as does the nearby Chateauponsac; local literature (from either the library or the tourist office) will tell you which markets are opens at which times. Check before you go - and remember France takes a long lunch-hour, so nowhere's open between 12 and 3!
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