Saturday, 24 July 2010

Bayeux Braderie

The annual Bayeux Braderie is timed to fit neatly into the middle of the month long summer sale period. As with most matters in France, sales too are ruled by legislation and paperwork and shops may only hold full sales during specified dates (normally January to early February and late June through to the end of July). So the Braderie is just one more opportunity for shops to capitalise on this and display their goods out on rails, trestle tables etc along the length of the High Street. Also a chance to sell off shop fittings and sometimes personal goods (such as the four cane chairs which we felt were just too good a bargain to miss!) All these sit side by side with more typical market stalls which have been set up specially for the two day event. A real mixture then of market, vide grenier and summer sales – a shopper’s delight.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Return of direct flights to Calvados

At the end of last week CityJet launched its new service to Deauville. With the demise of Skysouth early in 2009 Calvados had been left without an airport offering direct flights to the UK.

Now Calvados is closer than ever with the flight from London’s City airport taking just an hour. The service currently operates two flights a day each way on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays with prices for a one-way trip starting at £59.

Deauville and Trouville offer a huge variety of property choice for prospective purchasers, whether it be for a chic holiday apartment, for investment or for a permanent move. But don’t just take my word for it, book a flight and come to see for yourself. And of course, if you would like any help or advice that is exactly what I am here for.

Friday, 25 June 2010

The French Lunch Hour

…. or, 90 minutes or two hours. In many larger towns and cities shops closing for a period anywhere between midday and 14.30 may be less common these days, but here in Bayeux, as in most of Calvados, businesses close for lunch for at least 90 minutes, except of course for those most important to the French; that’s boulangeries and pharmacies but not banks!

This is one of the practicalities of day to day living in France that many newly arrived from the UK find somewhat exasperating and difficult to come to terms with. However, it does have its advantages: roads and motorways are quieter, parking over the lunch period is normally free, out of town supermarkets remain open but will be less busy – although the pay-off for this may be far fewer checkouts open.

But this week it has taken on a greater significance for me. With the start of building work on the former car park adjacent to my apartment uncannily coinciding with the start of our current bout of glorious weather, never have I been so appreciative of the long lunch hour. It is an all too brief opportunity to throw open the windows and balcony doors while we too have lunch before the unwelcome hour of 14.00 approaches and all must be closed again to protect ourselves from the thunder of pile driving and excavations that will continue through the summer afternoon.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

A little bit of sunshine

Wandering through Bayeux this morning to take pictures for a journal article that I have just completed I encountered the fellow above who was also enjoying the sun. I'm just glad that the family dog isn't a labrador!

Monday, 3 May 2010

An Introduction to Calvados

The other evening I received a phone call from the mayor of a small village some 5km from the coast. He was aware that I was looking for a property for clients in the Bessin region of Calvados and he thought that he knew of a suitable property. Ignoring the formalities of telling me more about the house and the price, he invited me to meet him the following evening.

Driving into the well kept grounds of the Mairie, it was to become apparent that this was indeed emblematic of the pride that both the mayor and most of the other 300 inhabitants have in their community. The mayor suggested that, if I cared to, I accompany him to collect the keys.

We spent the next hour or so strolling around the pretty village, stopping at a rather impressive farmhouse where the keys were kept. I could only regret that the owner had done such a wonderful job of restoring the barns – how I wished these were still ‘a renover’. Frequently waylaid by villagers of all ages, the mayor pointed out places of interest and we finally we arrived at the house that, happily, might indeed be a suitable option for my clients.

The object of the visit had been to view a property, but I came away with far more information than that, a real insight into this particular small community. The mayor had taken the trouble to give up his time on a Saturday afternoon (a Bank Holiday to boot) to welcome this ‘stranger’ to his village and to share his passion for the region. In my experience this is by no means unusual – this is Calvados and this is why I love it.