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.