Thursday, 29 November 2012

Nothin' much changes....

They say that nothing much changes in French villages and often as you drive swiftly through you could be forgiven for thinking so. However, appearances can be deceptive.
Charnizay has undergone a few since we moved here in August 2010.
Former Post Office
First the Post Office moved from the front part of a house opposite the Mairie into the Mairie proper. The house it once occupied is now for sale and has yet to find a new owner.

Mairie cum Post Office
Then we were presented with the plans for our new Salle des Spectacles, to replace the old and dowdy Salle des Fetes; you can read about it here and here. This is still an ongoing project. Originally due to open in time for 'le Quatorze Juillet' last summer it will now be ready, we are told, by the Spring of 2013. Meantime the Salle des Fetes continues to host village events. We are told that the library will eventually move into the Salle des Fetes.

Salle des Spectacles: coming along nicely
Then in August the village café/restaurant Gargantua closed. The people who had taken a two year lease with a view to taking on the licence from the then owner perhaps found they had bitten off more than they could chew. In fairness they were up against some stiff competition. Just up the road in St Flovier, the Auberge de la Source offers super home-cooked food on their daily 'menu ouvrier' at €11.00 and the Gargantua's cooking could not match up. Trade was thin and they left. Happily the owner ceeded the licence to the village and the Mairie has supported a local village lass who has now taken on the management of the re-named Relais du Dolmen. It re-opened at the start of the month. We've popped in for a coffee and to buy newspapers several times and the place now has a much more welcoming feel. The Relais provided an excellent spread to go with the vin d'honneur at the recent Commémoration [Remembrance Day] so we are going have lunch there soon and see what it's like.
Relais du Dolmen
Then sadly, our little village shop closed. The husband of the lady who ran it is seriously ill and sadly things continue to go steadily downhill. They also run a small shop in Bossay sur Claise and for her to continue to come over to Charnizay and run our shop was too much. It closed on the 31st of October. She hasn't found a buyer so we're not sure what will happen in the future. There is talk of, in time, incorporating a slimmed down shop with the Relais du Dolmen. We'll see. At least we still have the butcher and the Relais functions as a depot du pain and sells newspapers... oh, and take-away pizza!


Desolé c'est fermé












16 comments:

The Broad said...

You've given me food for thought about our own village in the Lot. Since we bought our little house.15 years ago there have, upon thinking about it, been a lot more changes changes than I've realized before now...

Susan said...

Glad to hear the restaurant has reopened -- I hope it is as good as the original Gargantua.

Pollygarter said...

We'll have to give it a try too! Fancy joining us?

Jean said...

It's a such a shame that you have lost your village shop. They mean more to any village than just a place to buy your bread and milk.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@The Broad - they can kind of creep up on you sometimes...

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - we'll let you know

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Pauline - sounds an excellent idea :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jean - I know but we are hopeful that in time the Realais du Dolmen will take over the role [to a degree anyway] rather like l'Escalier in Ferriere Larcon.

Vera said...

I feel guilty that we do not support our local village shop, but it is quite some distance away from us so I do not support it like I should. This I will try to remedy when time permits!It would be a shame if it were to close as it gives life to the village. Hope you enjoy your meal at that new eatery.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vera - we didn't use the shop on a daily basis either but we did try and make use of it occasionally to 'chip in' our support as it were.

Perpetua said...

Our commune is much smaller than yours, but it did still boast a bar/epicerie when we bought 10 years ago. Sadly the owners retired and couldn't find a buyer to continue the business, so the building is now a holiday home. :-(

I'm glad you still have your restaurant and that the Salle des Spectacles is progressing towards completion. And wow, you have a library!

the fly in the web said...

Visiting friends...whose village has a superette and three hairdressers...I met the butcher at the superette who knew my old village when it had eight bars, two butchers, two greengrocers, a grocer and a hardware store...

Where did it all go?

To the big out of town supermarkets.
Which is fine if you have a car.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - indeed we do :-) It is small but even boasts a selection of books in English. The Early Years/Primary children at the village school visit regularly.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fly - Exactly; the more elderly in the village are now even more reliant on younger family members to get them to the shops.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

It sounds like your village is quite a lively place even with the closure of the general store. I hate to see these little French villages slowly slipping into ghost villages.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@LindyLou - indeed it is with another event this weekend; but we do hope that at some point the Relais will expand into a basic shop as well.