19 April 2008

Tours — the town, not the activity

One of the realities of life in Saint-Aignan is that from time to time we need to go to Tours, a city of 200,000 about 40 miles west of us, to find and buy some special item that we just can't get in our small town. We went yesterday and we got to take our first-ever ride on the new autoroute from Saint-Aignan to Tours, which shortened the travel time by nearly half (and lightened the porte-monnaie by €3.70 for the toll).

Old houses on the Place Plumereau in old Tours

One item we can't get in Saint-Aignan, and the reason for our trip, is paint in custom-mixed colors. Our hardware stores here (Bricomarché and Mr. Bricolage) don't mix paints. You can only buy the colors that they happen to have on their shelves at any give time. So yesterday we took a trip to Tours with our current visitor, Chrissou P. from California. Chrissou has spent a lot of time in France so I don't think she felt that this was time wasted that she could have instead spent sightseeing. (At the same time, I'm sure it wasn't all that exciting for her.)

More church art — a carved figure
on the exterior wall of a church in Tours

We are planning to paint our kitchen over the next two or three weeks. That's another reality of life in Saint-Aignan. Our house still needs some decorating touches, and the kitchen is a room we have long hestitated to start renovating. The scraping and sanding and emptying of cabinets will mean that we won't have use of the kitchen for several days... if not weeks, because we don't work very fast.

But since we also don't work and have plenty of time, and since the dollar is extremely low, we try to do redecorating work of this type ourselves rather than hire someone to do it. We've repainted two bedrooms, two bathrooms, the entryway, and our big living/dining room over the past four years.

One wall in the kitchen, cabinet doors taken down.
We have to move all this stuff out now.

Anyway, despite a snappy, exasperated (and exasperating) salesman at the Leroy Merlin store (a kind of Home Depot DYI center) we got what we wanted and in a quantity that we think will do the job. When we finish, the kitchen walls will be Mexican Yellow. We also bought some new hardware for cabinet doors. Doors are off some of the cabinets and it's time to start emptying them and scraping and sanding the walls.

For some color, here's a picture of
the restaurant where we had lunch in Tours

After the DIY excursion, we drove into the old center of Tours (the big-box stores are in the suburbs, of course) for lunch. And after a lunch salads, we took time to walk through the oldest part of the city, which is the restaurant-y and student-y Place Plumereau neighborhood. For once, it wasn't raining (yet).

The rain came in a hour or so later, as we were driving back to Saint-Aignan through Montlouis, Amboise, and Chaumont-sur-Loire. We took the river road, and noticed that the Loire has a lot of water in it at this season. That's not surprising, because it hasn't stopped raining here in France for months and months.


  1. Yellow is my favourite colour for kitchens. So many people are frightened of using it for decorating though. Your 'new' kitchen will look lovely, I'm sure.

  2. I love your french kitchen and think it will be fabulous in yellow.

    Just seeing that restaurant photo made me homesick for France. It was so inviting.

    Happy painting days to you and Walt.


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