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I've had many emails asking about the shopping, the wine and cheese. Hopefully this post provides some insight into our French shopping & supermarket experiences to date.
Most shops are closed on Sunday and Monday. Nearly all shops (except large chain stores) are closed for lunch between 12-2pm. Banks are only open in the mornings (till 12:45) on Tuesday - Fridays.
The weekly shop: Every week we travel to Fumel around 26km or a 30 minute drive. While there is one other closer supermarket, the LeClerc at Fumel/Montayral is a good size store with a wide selection of goods, it is open every day except Sunday. The supermarché is also the cheapest place to fill up the car: diesel (gasol) is around €1.25/litre and petrol (essence) €1.50/litre.
Some supermarché facts:
The quality of the following pictures is a bit dodgy, I was trying to avoid looking like a total dork taking photo's in the supermarket.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
I had another question from the ladies of the St Vincent de Paul Opportunity Shop in Timaru. They asked me to explain what a Bastide town is?
A Bastide town is generally described as "any town planned and built as a single unit, by a single founder". They first appeared in 1222 and the last Bastide was built in 1372. They symbolised (and assisted with) the demise of the feudal system as farmers who moved their families to bastide's were no longer vassals of the local lord: they became free men. These towns attracted trade which in turn attracted more people and the communities thrived.
The bastide towns were usually built to a strict grid layout, with equal space allocated to each house. The grid centred on a square, which often contained a market hall and sheltered arcades around the edges. There was usually a church, often fortified, built adjacent to the main square.
Really these bastide towns were just large sub-divisions built on borrowed money by greedy property developers chasing real estate riches back in 13th Century.
It is quite interesting, today most small villages still have two of everything (at least). It seems to solve the problem that if you fall out with your baker then you can still get bread from the other boulangerie in town.