Saint-Aignan is in the process of getting a new "downtown" these days. On the south side, outside the old medieval quarter, a new shopping area is being developed. The Super U supermarché out there is being turned into un hypermarché, expanding to twice its former size. A fairly recent addition to the neighborhood is a big produce market called Terre Y Fruits — a name I don't really understand, but a concept I really like. Another big store in the neighborhood is called Cassy's. It's a bread bakery and pastry bakery combined, with a big parking area and both indoor and outdoor seating for people who want to have tea or coffee and a sandwich or sweet pastry.
There are two reasons for so much new development. One is the presence of the Zooparc de Beaval just a few minutes farther south. Annually, hundreds of thousands (maybe a million) visit the zoo to see its white tigers, manatees, exotic birds, and, especially, its giant pandas from China. All those people — whole families, including countless children of course — need places to buy groceries and eat breakfast and lunch. And they need parking, since I'm sure nearly 100% of them arrive by car. There are at least three new hotels nearby, and another one under construction. More and more houses and apartments around the town are being turned into vacation rentals (gîtes ruraux, Air Bnbs, etc.) You should see the miles-long traffic backups across the area on fine weekend days in summer and during school holidays year-round.
I certainly don't like the traffic, but it's not heavy 365 days a year the way it was in the San Francisco Bay Area. But I do like the bread and pastries from Cassy's (made and baked on site, they say) and, especially, the fresh produce at Terre Y Fruits. It seems to be very well managed, with reasonable prices and beautiful fruits and vegetables that seem to be carefully carefully maintained so you seldom see anything in the store that looks like it's past its prime. Above is a photo of some of the priduce I bought there yesterday morning — apricots, plums, cherries, etc. I also got delicious tomatoes and two of the most perfect avocados I've ever seen, along with a big head of local lettuce of a type (salade multifeuilles) I'd never seen before.
Meanwhile, we're having a rainy weekend with high temperatures in the upper 60s in ºF (between 15 and 20 in ºC). It definitely feels chilly. That brief idea about getting some kind of air-conditioning in the house seems like a distant dream. Or nightmare.
Glad to hear that you are feeling better, Ken. Also glad to hear there are more shopping options for you. There seemed to be a lot of places that were closed last time I visited. I’m in Uzès in the south now with the same friend whom you met. It is hot here but bearable during the day if we close up the apartment we are renting and open up at night. We are loving the huge outdoor market and the medieval streets. Hope all continues to look up for you.ReplyDelete
I have vivid memories of Uzès from when I went there in 1970. I was on a semester abroad program in Aix-en-Provence at the time. I think Uzés has changed drastically from back then. I'd love to go back one day. Nice to hear from you.Delete
Well, this sounds exciting! I can't really say that I grasp just where this is, though. I'd be interested in looking on Google Streetview... what streets are involved in this area of new construction, Ken?ReplyDelete
It's along the route or avenue du Blanc, south of the part of Saint-Aignan where you stayed.Delete
Those new markets sound wonderful. I was at Marie's this time last year. This week we are going to see our son and family- it's almost been three years since we've been together.ReplyDelete
Off to California, eh? I haven't heard from Marie in a while. I'd love to go back to Rouen one day, but such a trip doesn't seem to be in the cards for now.ReplyDelete
Yes, San Diego here we come. Marie is in Canada for a few weeks. I hope you get to Rouen before too long.Delete