17 July 2013

Saint-Aignan comeback?

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.


  1. Thanks for the stroll around your town of Saint-Aignan...very nice.
    Love the new banner.

  2. That last street shot is especially
    appealing...the people and the
    colorful shop fronts. Would be
    nice to step out one's door into
    just such a scene.

  3. I came across this online a few minutes ago.

    "Traditional French dishes made with seasonal produce are served in the restaurant, and you can enjoy an aperitif or tea and pastries in the lounge at La Renaudière."

    Sign us up!

    It's actually for a hotel at Chenonceaux.

  4. Particularly enjoyed this post. The photos make us look forward to returning next year.

  5. glad to hear & see that the town is coming back.....it was pretty dead a few yrs back when we were there....looks much better now....

  6. It does look great, and that new banner photo is wonderful!

  7. Yes, Ken, I think your new photo for the banner is really striking! A whole different feeling you have shared with us today about your nearby town.

    My town is also enjoying a renaissance that was just remarked on the NPR (National Public Radio) station. Perhaps this resurgence is happening everywhere - I hope so! We all need to get back to where we were before 2007/8 hit us!

  8. Love the new banner. I would keep it up for a very long time.

  9. I LOVE the new banner photo; really shows off the charming town in which you live!

  10. Glad you see Saint-Aignan differently now! I myself was surprised by its liveliness when I visited in June and spent 'a night on the town'. Yet B. told me that the woman who runs the 'Facile' store in Saint-Aignan said that the region is considered as a 'zone sinistrée' (economically speaking). I wonder why! Martine

  11. Hi Martine, you were right — Saint-Aignan does seem to be getting livelier. Until now, I've always thought of Montrichard as the livelier town. People around here said that the reverse was true 30 years ago, but Saint-Aignan went into a slump. The policies of the mayor and the town council have a lot to do with it, I'm sure. And yes, this area and the Sud-Touraine are 'zones économiques sinistrées', I'm sure. Tourism is about the only business going around here, and Sud-Touraine doesn't even have much of that.

    Melinda, I agree with you. We probably got our house for a good price because the town was in a slump. In all these little French towns, your perception of the liveliness or dullness of the place can be shaped by so many factors. Did you visit on a Monday? Everything will be shut up tight. Was the weather gray? The place can look dreary and dingy. What time of year was it? And on and on.

    Carolyn, there is a Renaudière at Chenonceaux and another up near Blois in the Cheverny wine appellation. I think Renaud was and is a common family name in this region.


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