La Brocalou le Titoustock – French Antique Store

“Je n’en ai pas besoin, mais…”

Those are words I constantly tell myself when I’m at a flea market or brocante (antique or secondhand shop) and come across something that I like (or want). Piles of gorgeous French linens, mortars without (or without) pestles, French jam jars, and no longer loved café pitchers, get a once-over from me, as I ask myself that question: “I don’t need it, but…”

While I’m asking myself that question, I might share a photo on social media, and soon others are chiming in with other questions, like “Where do you put all that stuff?”

For the record, I don’t buy everything that I touch, or photograph, although it sometimes seems that way, I suppose. I do use a lot of the things that I buy for cooking and baking, although I think people would get irked if I posted a cake recipe that was made in some highly unusual (and unusually sized) cake pan or tart ring that I found in the bottom of a box at a flea market. So being a people-pleaser, I do practice more restraint that people imagine.

What I do buy, or more specifically, where I put it all, can be answered in L’appart, my book about building my kitchen.

So those enquiring minds (or inquiring minds) who want to know “Where do you put it all?” can rest assured that I didn’t buy everything shown in this post. Although I did regret not buying this baguette cutter, even though I don’t need it, mais

But another question I get is, “Where is this?!” which I’m happy to answer here. While it’s true you can score things at Paris flea markets and thrift shops, most of the good stuff is found digging around outside of the city. So you need to get out of town, like we do in the summer.

When looking for antiques and cast-offs at flea markets, I tend to focus on kitchen stuff, so imagine my surprise one day when we were driving near Angoulème, and I made Romain pull over when I saw a “Brocante” sign, something he’s now used to. I think he’s the only Parisian I’ve ever met that will ever back up for anything. And for that, I’m thankful, because it happens with great frequency when we’re on road trips.

A favorite shop is La Brocalou le Titoustock, although to call two giant hangers packed with stuff a “shop” is kind of a stretch. Shopping there is more like a tournament, and you never know how, or what, you might score.

An eagle-eyed follower on social media pointed out that some of the things that I referred to here as being in an “antique store” don’t qualify as antiques. True, I think the unofficial definition of an antique is something that’s over thirty years old. And the unofficial definition of a collector is if you own three or more items of something, you’re a collector.

Being well past thirty, and having a fair amount of things in numbers greater than three (whisks, spatulas, café au lait bowls, used kitchen knives, cake pans, cocktail glasses, etc…I won’t go on, because someone will ask where I put it all…), I don’t mind being called an antique myself (although I would prefer to be described as “vintage”) but I definitely add to my various collection(s) every time I shop here. And sometimes, I start a few new ones.

Yannick Pons, the owner, presides over the place, and it takes me at least 10 minutes to get in the store, because there are so many things out front to look at before I even step inside…

Some things have seen better days (as have I), so you need to sort through stuff, which I don’t mind. But unlike other stores, Yannick has organized things by “type,” so you’ll find terrines lined up in one place, crockery in another, enamelware grouped together, and books and records stacked in separate bookshelves.

Romain has been a good cohort in my search for things. Not just because he has a station wagon, and goes through brake pedals as fast as I go through French butter, but because we’re not in competition for the same things. Whew!

He also has a lot more patience than I do when antiquing and is more intrigued by things like books and pamphlets about regions in France, than he is over absinthe glasses and apéritif pitchers.

I added a few things to my collection(s) on this trip, including an old knife, some bottles and jars, and glassware, which I use daily.

I purchased a mortar and pestle last time I was here, but it’s somehow developed a chip in the lip, just sitting on my counter (hmmm….) so I am sticking with what I’ve already got – warts, chips, and all.

I’m also overstocked with French jam jars, too, as is Yannick. I love the beautiful shapes of them, some old and some more recent. All are lovely, but I left them for others. You’re welcome.

Drinks pitchers are something that falls into the “tiny cordial glasses” category: Things that look charming, and you’re sure you’ll use for all your subsequent next dinner parties. But somehow, you never do. Still, it doesn’t hurt to admire them.

I didn’t design my kitchen with a place for a bottle dryer, but I wish I did, because after rinsing and washing all those bottles I use for house-made apéritifs, I’ve been balancing them in my sink with a Rube Goldberg-like maze of contraptions, crafted from various items around my apartment, holding them vertically in place until they’re dry.

And occasionally, due to my flawed engineering and miscalculations, I’ll awake to a loud crash in the middle of the night. So I’m now on the lookout for a bottle dryer, one that’s Paris apartment-sized.

In another era, I was a collector of 50s and 60s things when I lived in a mid-century modern house in California. Items from that époque don’t seem to jibe with my current aesthetic, but as my mother often said (when driving me around early Saturday mornings, with a list of garage sales in our town), it never hurts to look.

Before I wrap this up, I will confess that did come home with two others things that I didn’t mention: Two gracefully vintage porcelain molds, to add to my collection of French pottery. The sizes don’t correspond to any recipes that I have, or would come up with to share (unless anyone out there has a couple of soufflé molds that also are 6 7/8- and 8 1/3-inches, or 17.64 and 21.08cm), so I will probably end up admiring them from afar. But still, I couldn’t resist them. And into the back of the station wagon they went, along with the rest of the stuff I bought.

Le Brocalou le Titoustock
2, route du Four à Chaux
79190 Mairé Levescault
Tél: 06 12 30 87 98

Shop hours can vary. The owner, Yannick Pons, often posts them on his Facebook page. You can send him a text/SMS (rather than call) to see if he’s open as well. He speaks good English.

Related Links

My French Pottery

Antiquing Outside of Paris – A shop with a good selection of vintage housewares, located less than an hour outside of Paris

Our Tour de France – Post with other addresses in France for antiquing

Paris Thrift Stores and Flea Markets

5 Tips for Negotiating at French Flea Markets (Marjorie R. Williams)

The Marché d’Aligre – Daily outdoor market and flea market

La Tuile à Loup – French pottery store in Paris


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73 comments

  • August 17, 2017 11:36am

    I love going to brocantes. Down here in France profonde, near Carcassonne, the shops are wonderfully unpretentious, full of treasures, and priced reasonably.
    Yannick’s is admirably well organized. It would be such a pleasure to browse.

  • August 17, 2017 12:12pm

    My kinda place! I agree that best finds often happen out of major metropolitan areas. I live in central Kentucky, and have scored madeleine tins, a Limoges tea service, and even a gugelhupf mold… all at local flea markets and antique shops!

  • Charlotte K
    August 17, 2017 12:18pm

    I nearly pass out at all those earthenware casseroles. I have such a thing for those.

  • Leticia
    August 17, 2017 12:34pm

    I went to a marché aux puces in Nantes, I had a feeling I could score some 19th century photographs for a price that wouldn’t break the bank.

    I was right. I got 5 photos including one of a woman in a bike for 15 euros. Outside Paris is the way to go, less tourists, less competition and reasonable prices. Not to mention the pleasure of haggling in French.

    It was the most I could imagine carrying in a trip that involved a few legs on low cost airlines. They now live, framed, in the wall of my living room.

  • Angela De Marco Manzi
    August 17, 2017 4:10pm

    Poor Yannick would have to drag me away from this shop kicking and screaming. I love everything you have shown in these photos. Many thanks!!

    • Alexandra
      August 18, 2017 1:33am

      Me too. I just loved this article and all of the pictures. I would want one of everything. I loved how everything was displayed. What fun places to visit.

  • gwyn
    August 17, 2017 4:17pm

    wow, these photos made me swoon. so much character in all those pieces. and they are lo lovingly displayed. so very much fun.

  • Rachel
    August 17, 2017 4:27pm

    The brown pottery mold with the painted flowers reminds me of a similar kugelhopf mold I purchased in the town of Soufflenheim (spelling?) near the German border. The pottery was broken many years ago by my little girl–I have always wanted to go back to the town and buy another!

    • Titalina3
      August 18, 2017 2:38am

      Rachel, you are right. This is the famous “Soufflenheim” pottery, Soufflenheim being a village in the French département Bas-Rhin. I guess you could even order online.

  • August 17, 2017 5:23pm

    Thanks for all the great photos! In the antique trade an “antique” is anything over 100 years old.

  • Claire
    August 17, 2017 5:31pm

    I’m too old to say OMG, but OMG!!!! You’d never get me out of this place. A dream come true for this flea market junkie. My only regret is that, on my yearly trips to Paris, the silly airlines have these weight limit things that SO cramp my style. Thank you for these lovely photos. SO jealous!

  • NJ cook
    August 17, 2017 5:45pm

    For Customs purposes I think an antique must be over 100 years old. May have changed since I needed that info. “Never trust anyone over 30!”?

    Toward the end of your post I think you meant “I couldn’t resist them,” not “I could resist them,” in which case you wouldn’t have taken them home.

    Happy shopping!

    OOps! I was posting so many pictures (because I was so excited) I goofed there. Thanks for letting me know : ) – dl

  • Violette kogut
    August 17, 2017 5:49pm

    I am french and I go to an antique shop, here in the States it has a little room full of treasures and junk…I call this place “bric à brac” yes it is fun to dig out something one can never find in a dept store.
    I bought a painting for my kitchen, a bottle of wine and some grapes on a table.
    It takes the entire wall, je m’en fous, it looks great.
    Cheers.
    Violette

  • August 17, 2017 6:03pm

    David,

    I love your site! The food, location, stories are all fabulous. I love this shop with all of the antique cooking items. I would go mad here, I am afraid. I have to be careful about buying any items or I will be moving to the hoarder stage. Anything vintage or antique deserves to be used and loved daily.

    • August 18, 2017 8:54am

      It’s almost like you took the words out from my mouth! I always try to refrain from visiting these kinds of shop because I know I’ll fall in love with everything and will end up buying a lot of things that I don’t need/don’t have a place to display.

  • Karen
    August 17, 2017 6:14pm

    That was a fun tour of the shop…thank you for taking all those shots! Almost as much fun as being there. Nothing more enjoyable than shopping for unneccessary things.

  • August 17, 2017 6:34pm

    What an absolutely splendid “shop”. Of course my entire day would be spent there and the rest of the tour would be ruined! Thanks for showing it to us, David.

  • B Collins
    August 17, 2017 6:35pm

    I love the Emmaus shops, where I hunt for repaired linen cloths, crockery, French books on birds of the region and chairs. Some of my favourite finds have been a Villery and Bosch WC basin, 1950’s spindle back chairs, a V and B fish platter, and daintily printed pillowcases. My mother, when with me at the local brocante, has found metres of terracotta garden edging, delicate blown glass blue dessert bowls, and once at a vide grenier, I found a beautiful baguette cutter like the one in pic on the blog, which I love, btw, (the blog). My mother sends your postings to me.

  • Sharon
    August 17, 2017 6:42pm

    Dear David, I am still in love with antique markets and second-hand stores after all these many years in Germany. Not quite the same as France, but still charming and oh-so-tempting!!! I am no longer allowed to buy tea towels because there is NO MORE ROOM!

  • Diane
    August 17, 2017 6:46pm

    Beautiful! And for your bottle-drying needs

  • Judi Suttles
    August 17, 2017 6:46pm

    You should have bought the baguette cutter – would look cool in the kitchen.

  • Aliana
    August 17, 2017 6:56pm

    David, did you notice the shorter/smaller bottle drying rack which is displaying egg beaters, utensil, etc? I love your posts – always so interesting and helpful!

  • August 17, 2017 6:57pm

    First of all… the items at this brocante are unbelievable, just in the amount of the wonderful things available.
    I am now 64 years old and I’ll say this… all of a sudden, things I saw often, things I expected to see, things I loved but felt as though I didn’t need, disappeared. I look back now and wonder, what was I thinking passing that up? I am also limited by space, but at the same time, surrounding one self with things that make you smile is worth a lot.

  • ron shapley
    August 17, 2017 7:23pm

    I dreamt(dreamed) I was a hand made basket on Antiques RoadShow. The appraiser noted I still had a tightly woven bottom..

  • HH
    August 17, 2017 7:35pm

    A splendid post today. I swooned over the 2-tined cooking fork, which is one of my weaknesses. And the linens—oh the linens were lovely. Sigh.

    • August 17, 2017 11:35pm
      David Lebovitz

      I think I held that for about 3 (or more) minutes, wondering if I should buy it : )

  • Franko
    August 17, 2017 9:22pm

    every photo makes me swoon. i would love to see more photos of absinthe glasses and related things, since i collect them. and don’t get me started on kitchenware and bakeware. omg.

  • Stephanie
    August 17, 2017 9:58pm

    Such a lovely and charmingly written post. Made me miss the ease of French markets. We are taking our daughter on her first trip but our only stop in France is Strasbourg. One year I am going to have to rent and just do my own thing, spending hours just digging up history in flea markets and second hand shops. Thanks for rekindling the romance!

  • Ruth
    August 17, 2017 11:01pm

    I am speechless with wonder at all these great kitchen things.

  • Pat Garvey
    August 17, 2017 11:19pm

    David, the oval shaped crockery,( with covers)things, what are they used for?
    Can they go into an oven?
    I have one and don’t know what to do with it. What can I cook in it?

    • August 17, 2017 11:34pm
      David Lebovitz

      Those are for making terrines and pâtés, and they can go in the oven. I also sometimes use mine to make cakes, since the smaller oval size is nice for gift-giving. Larger ones could be used to braise a chicken in, but the ones shown are for making charcuterie.

      • Bebe
        August 24, 2017 1:58am

        I have used my larger one to do a chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. Did have to seal the vent hole in the lid with a little foil.

  • JuliaKateLucy
    August 18, 2017 12:44am

    That bottle rack/hedgehog, with all the funnels hanging off of it, is the perfect size and shape to be a Duchamp replica. That’s the one I would have asked to bring home. I love the terrine with the rabbit head top, too. I’d love to be able to find a hand crank, Mouli grater, too.

    • August 18, 2017 9:09am
      David Lebovitz

      Those metal mouli graters! I swear, one of my few wishes in life was that they would start making them again. The plastic ones are really (really) flimsy and don’t work nearly as well as the metal ones. With carrot salad so popular in France, you’d think it’d be worthwhile to bring back the metal ones. Maybe someday…

  • Joyce Adams
    August 18, 2017 1:29am

    Love the photos, glad you found a few gems to add to your collection!

  • Lisa Vogel
    August 18, 2017 2:17am

    Oh my, a Marie Brizzard pitcher! That’s a wonderful memory of my first adult beverage served back in the 70’s.

  • LWood
    August 18, 2017 4:47am

    Love. Love. Love. Thanks for all the pictures. They transported.

  • Heidi Aronson
    August 18, 2017 6:06am

    Browsing by your side through all this beautiful stuff was such a balm after having to spend all day here in Amerikkka. Thanks and cheers from Berkeley!

  • W
    August 18, 2017 8:56am

    Thank you so much for this!!! I looked up a place mentioned in one of your older posts, la chiffonnière (if I remember correctly), but it seems like it’s closed? Called the phone no. but it doesn’t seem to be registered. Do you know if they’re still in operation?

    Are the prices in this shop reasonable? Does one have to bargain? And do you really check out brocantes/vide-greniers spotted while on the road? You must be lucky. Each time I spot a sign, it’s either over or not happening yet. And I agree. You got lucky with a partner who’s willing to screech to a stop.

    What is that Bretagne card Romain is holding? It’s cute. And tell me you brought that black kugelhopf mould back

  • Pat Milito Strauss
    August 18, 2017 3:55pm

    Ahhh. Again, after my own heart. I can not pass up a vintage store, yard sale or ” flea market”. I can stay all day and dig.
    As you have noted in the past how Americans say” oh my god!” That was my first thought when I saw all that amazing pottery, pitchers, ecetera , ecetera ( as The King and I said).
    Love the jam jars. My grandmother was french and insisted we call her Bonne Maman. So I always buy that french brand jam. I have to, AND save every jar.
    Anyway. Thanks again for letting me dream.

  • Pat Milito Strauss
    August 18, 2017 3:58pm

    Ahhh. Again, after my own heart. I don’t can not pass up a vintage store, yard sale or ” flea market”. I can stay all day and dig.
    As you have noted in the past how Americans say” oh my god!” That was my first thought when I saw all that amazing pottery, pitchers, ecetera , ecetera ( as The King and I said).
    Love the jam jars. My grandmother was french and insisted we call her Bonne Maman. So I always buy that french brand jam. I have to, AND save every jar.
    Anyway. Thanks again for letting me dream.

  • August 18, 2017 4:40pm

    These are some great pictures of rustic kitchen stuff. I would be like a kid in a candy store.

  • sillygirl
    August 19, 2017 2:35am

    I was afraid to look at the photos for fear I would see something I desperately wanted!

  • Hillary
    August 19, 2017 7:18am

    Unless “Yannick 000” is the latest robot model, I think perhaps you left a placeholder in for his surname in your last paragraph?

    • August 19, 2017 10:12am
      David Lebovitz

      I’m somewhere with very limited internet so sorry about the goof. His last name is Pons. I’ll fix it when I’m somewhere with an internet connection again. Thanks!

  • Kay Quirk
    August 19, 2017 8:23pm

    David, you have a great eye for photos. Such a fun posting!

  • debdahlin
    August 20, 2017 3:45am

    Bonjour, My husband and I are coming on Tuesday! We’d be happy to bring you Zip Lock Bags !!!

  • Margaret N. Wayne
    August 20, 2017 4:58am

    Hi, David,
    Your postings and photos are great. Nevertheless, the librarian in me suggests one more proof-read. And the French teacher in me wants to suggest epoque (rather than epoch) — with the accent that I can’t type.
    Keep it up! These newsletters are great fun. Margaret W.

  • sharon Berg
    August 20, 2017 8:27am

    Sorry to be pedantic (sometimes I can’t help myself), an antique has to be 100 years old. Anything newer is either vintage or a collectible. At 64, I’m vintage but definitely not collectible. Who’d want to collect 64 year old women?

  • Kim B.
    August 20, 2017 12:47pm

    This is nothing new, but your photos are so gorgeous, with such texture. Thanks for another delightful post. I’m so excited about the apartment book, now I understand why you were mum here on the whole ordeal! Saving it up! Given your talent for writing with wit and insight, I know it’s going to be great.

    • August 21, 2017 11:37am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks! The place (and all the objects) really captivated me, so it was a pleasure to share it with you and others. Appreciate your kind words and hope you enjoy the book : )

  • Susan
    August 21, 2017 12:07am

    An antique is something that is at least 100 years old, otherwise it’s a collectible. I love your flea market posts, and I so enjoy viewing all your treasures (wherever you decide to put them!).

  • Nathalie
    August 21, 2017 9:38am

    I tried to go by there this weekend but the address is wrong…it is a residential street, no brocante to be found…sigh.

    • August 21, 2017 11:30am
      David Lebovitz

      Sorry you didn’t find it. I gave the address that is on his business card and website, so I assume that that’s the right address. I added his phone information, so since you were in the vicinity (the town and route are extremely small – so wherever you were, you weren’t far), it’s too bad you didn’t call and make it there.

  • Wanda Bowring
    August 21, 2017 6:00pm

    Hello, I’m a reader because I love the way you speak. It makes me feel happy.

    I don’t care about typos and in fact like them because it’s just one more reminder that you’re a real person. Leave perfectionism for neurotics.

    Im not interested in the things you like but love that you love them and share your happiness with others.

    I no longer cook or eat the way you do but love reading your recipes and greatly enjoy your food and home pictures.

    Thank you David; for being you and for allowing the rest of us to live happily, vicariously and through extension of your generosity.

  • Cris S.
    August 22, 2017 1:11am

    I loved seeing all the pictures and hearing your experiences. I’d love to ‘visit’ along with you for all your stops, so publish them as often as you’d like! Also, this was great timing because my job is annoying as hell right now and I needed a reminder of why I work. So, every great once in a while, I can travel and buy!

  • Will
    August 22, 2017 11:53am

    Why does French ‘junk’ look so much more appealing than American ‘junk’?

  • BananaBirkLarsen
    August 22, 2017 5:17pm

    What beautiful things! I have, literally, run out of room in my kitchen for new cups and bowls and have had to stop looking through the kitchen aisles of thrift stores because if I do, I know I’ll end up buying something anyway. I have started a small business re-selling thrifted purses, shoes and jewelry online mostly to avoid this problem.

  • Maureen
    August 22, 2017 5:33pm

    I think vintage is over 30 years and antique is over 100 years old. YMMV

  • Kate Turner
    August 22, 2017 8:48pm

    Thanks a lot David! Partly because of you, I have spent far too much time scouring unlikely places and returning home with things like linen sheets, slightly chipped Quimper candlesticks and weird kitchen items. I now even have a set of plastic children’s doll dishes from that lady at the Marche d’Aligre who presides over all those open boxes and drives a hard bargain. Don’t even have little kids or grandkids at the moment, but you do need to be prepared. I’m not sorry I have any of these things (though my son may regret the table-top croquet set I forced on him), and using the cobalt blue juice glasses that cost almost nothing often brightens my day. But when it comes to where to keep these treasures, it does get interesting. And that’s even true here where we have infinitely more space than you can dream of there. You’d think the solution would be to stop looking for these things, but maybe it’s better to pass some on to other people from time to time. And continue to enjoy your recommendations for more.

  • Francoise Puniello
    August 22, 2017 9:20pm

    I could die from French Antique envy just looking at your beautiful photographs. We received a similar Moulinex electronic set as a wedding gift in 1970. The spiney thing that attaches to the emmersion blender is for attaching itself to brillo to scrub pans. We had to use it with a huge transformer in the US which limited its use. Thank you for your lovely posts

  • Lydia
    August 22, 2017 10:41pm

    If you really want a bottle dryer, check baby shops/websites for a baby bottle drying rack. It’s not your esthetic, but it might work!
    Lovely post, as always. Looking forward to your new book.

  • Bebe
    August 23, 2017 5:58pm

    Thank God I wasn’t with you! Not that I wouldn’t love to meet you, but I’d have been overcome and gone crazier and bought so much stuff. And all of it would have had to be shipped to Southern California.

    Did that once at Dehillerin and now have an assortment of heavy chef’s grade copper pots (nothing but the best for this girl) that need to find a home. Barely used, some pieces new. Mercifully I have forgotten what they and the shipping originally cost me. My next assignment is to unload these somehow.

    What is it with us and French cooking stuff, especially vintage and at the source? I found myself looking longingly at the souffle dishes…

    • Gloria Urban
      September 2, 2017 2:59pm

      David…a million thanks to you for such an entertaining post. Like others earlier, I have serious envy issues just drooling over your tempting pictures…but I am grateful you took the time to share so much eye candy.

      I once bought ( for 50 cents) a Mouli Persil grater…in its box. It works very well…I get a kick out of using it and imagining the route it must have taken to reach a thriftshop in western Maryland. Such are the lasting benefits of thrifting!
      I’ve pre-ordered your new book …so eager to read it. Your charming, conversational writing style always makes me feel like you are speaking right to me…I bet all your readers feel that way.
      So….please keep writing for all of us who cannot live the sweet life in Paris…but are working at it elsewhere.

  • August 24, 2017 4:00pm

    Everything in this shop is so interesting. Great photos. I would love to spend a few hours browsing for random vintage items….

  • Linda Yuen
    August 25, 2017 3:18am

    Love everything shown and written about! One question – in the Perfect Scoop- are any of the ingredients in grams or ounces? I would like to make the mangoe ice cream but would like a specific amount….

  • Linda Yuen
    August 25, 2017 3:18am

    Love everything shown and written about! One question – in the Perfect Scoop- are any of the ingredients in grams or ounces? I would like to make the mangoe ice cream but would like a specific amount….

    • August 25, 2017 5:42pm
      David Lebovitz

      The recipes are all in cups, tablespoons, etc, as well as grams, milliliters, and metrics. You can get a look inside the pages on Amazon using the “Look Inside” feature. Note that the UK edition does not have cups and tablespoon measurements.

  • Dee
    August 27, 2017 12:52pm

    The question after reading this is…where do you put it all? Ha ha! Someone had to ask right?

  • August 28, 2017 1:17am

    American farm house, Paris apartment…nearly the same thing. I also scour thrift shops and antique stores for kitchen items. Most recent was a fabulous cherry stoner. On my list of things to keep my eye out for is a cider press.

  • September 3, 2017 12:54am

    Agree; something absolutely perfect about those two molds.

  • Riva
    September 3, 2017 4:48pm

    Romain sounds like a willing chauffeur for you and your treasures. But I’m glad to learn that he has his own collecting interests!

    Thanks for a delightful post.

  • Norma
    September 4, 2017 3:37am

    I am shocked someone has discovered & posted about my favorite brocante!! It is near my inlaws & when visiting, make a special trip there. I always get lots of “treasures”! It IS off the beaten path !

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