Coucou, mes amis!!
We’re starting our last week in beautiful Saint-Omer, just as I was beginning to become a true “Audomaroise” – what they call people from Saint-Omer. We are accustoming to local habits, including those concerning retail shopping (see below) and will attend the upcoming Grande Braderie-Brocante de Saint-Omer on Sunday, where 200-300 merchants will display their wares all along rue de Dunkerque, rue des Clouteries and Place Victor Hugo.
Some customs are rather strange to us. Last week, every merchant had signs in their window announcing “Ventes Privées” and this week, those signs have been replaced by “Soldes”. Ventes Privées are sales for regular customers or those who receive an invitation from the retailer. In contrast the regular “Soldes” can only take place by law twice a year, on dates stipulated by government decree. The summer sales this year take place during a four week period, from June 22 to July 19.
Last weekend, we took a short excursion to the coastal city of Calais, just 30 kilometres from here. It was a quick 30 minute train ride from Gare to Gare. It was a super hot day, so we took shelter in a cool Brasserie, where we enjoyed a lovely seafood lunch.
Next day, we visited the Calais open market where fish and seafood of all kinds took the premier spot.
We took a walk down Rue Royale, where we were sure we visited over 30 years ago when we travelled on a day trip to France for the very first time from London, via train and Hovercraft. Still, we remembered little from that first trip, in part I think due to considerable redevelopment in the harbour area since.
We walked down to and through the port, where we could see the ferries plying their way to and fro, to Dover and beyond, carrying both vehicular traffic and now, we understand, foot passengers as well. Next time, maybe a ferry ride to Kent and Canterbury?
We were impressed by Calais, a lot of which (not all) was rebuilt after the World Wars. The town is now recovering from the effects of Covid and is hoping to see the return of some 60,000 visitors that used to frequent the beaches and other attractions.
We loved the city hall with its magnificent belfry, and the humorous spectacle of the beachside dragon attraction.
Two final pictures before I sign off this post. The first is a Flemish-style building in Saint-Omer, currently housing a hairdresser, built in 1614.
The second is a refreshing, pink, not-so-strong beer with its accompanying signature glass, brewed by Goudale, the local brewery. Gary tells me raspberry figures in the recipe. Do you find such things in Toronto?