We are actually having a summer. The weather has been beautiful since July 2, which was the last time it rained. Temperatures have slowly risen to highs in the mid-80s F and we are enjoying time outdoors, finally.
The Renaissance wing of the Château de Saint-Aignan
One specific time we enjoyed outdoors was Sunday morning in Saint-Aignan. We took our friends Tom and Harriett into town to have a look around. It was le 14 juillet, and we ended up marching in the Bastille Day parade for a few minutes, behind the band and the firemen.
Rooftops, chimneys, and the massive church tower in Saint-Aignan
We went up onto the upper terrace of the château, and I took the photo that is the new blog banner above (assuming you are reading this in July 2013 — I change the banner every few weeks or months). We went into the church, and down into the crypt to see the ancient wall paintings.
Inside the church in Saint-Aignan
We walked through the narrow streets of the old town down by the river. We checked out the new cheese shop in town — nice, but very expensive. We went to do a little shopping in the little Coccinelle grocery store across the square, and there I bought a cheese for two euros that was identical to one on sale for twice the price in the fromagerie.
One of the main intersections in central Saint-Aignan
I think Saint-Aignan is picking itself up and dusting itself off after several years in a slump. I'm sure the increased attendance at the Beauval zoo has a lot to do with it. The two pandas the zoo acquired from China a year or two ago are a national attraction.
Down in the vaulted crypt of the Saint-Aignan church
Many more shops were open on a holiday Sunday morning than I expected to see. Many more people were out and about. Maybe it was just the nice summer weather that made the place seem livelier and more attractive.