Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Shopping in France

Don’t you just love shopping in France? As far as fashion is concerned, trends are always a year ahead and - in general and compared to Belgian standards - clothes are less expensive.

I have a weak spot for accessories: scarves, handbags, (fake, yet handmade) jewellery, kitchen wear and table decorations. My friend knows that I get very easily carried away when it comes to shopping. He therefore generally tries to steer me the other way each time we approach a shop selling these items. Sometimes, however, when he likes the object too, he will buy it for me.

My favourite shop is located in one of the outbuildings in the grounds of the Château de Villandry, which is mainly known for its impressive and unique gardens. This shop specializes in a vast choice of handmade jewellery and other objects that have been created by local artists. One of the most amazing items I ever saw there was a necktie made of … wood! Depending on what you’re buying, prices are very reasonable. This really is the place to be if you are looking for a nice and original present from France or when you want to treat yourself to a unique handmade piece of jewellery or any other decorative object.

But there are more shops like this in the Loire Valley. Like the one next to the entrance of the Château d’Ussé. A narrow door leads into a labyrinth of rooms with low, beamed ceilings. The shop’s assortment is varied and the place looks a bit like Ali Baba’s cave: scarves, handmade necklaces, earrings and bracelets, clocks, kitchen towels and decorative paper and linen napkins, nicely wrapped bars of soap, shampoo, shower gel, colourful plates, cups and cutlery, garden ornaments … You just name it, they’ve got it!

And then, last June, we discovered this attractive shop with its unusual outdoor display. It’s located along the narrow main street of Candes Saint-Martin. Unfortunately, the romantic bench didn’t fit in the boot of the car … so we left is just were it was for other tourists to admire!



Nadege said...

I have some catching up to do reading blogs. I really enjoyed the one about the chocolates. I think more and more people are getting into them (maybe because of the anti-oxidents). I love Swiss chocolates but don't mind at all all the others as long as they are delicious (not too sweet). I would love to go to Belgium and try them all. Thank you for the tip of not buying them already boxed. Too bad you couldn't get that bench into your car. It is very pretty.

ladybird said...

Nadege, If or when you're planning to visit Belgium, just let me know in time. I'll have a box of chocolates waiting for you ... + a sightseeing tour of Brussels, including the best chocolate shops ! Martine

Jean said...

Martine - I love shops like this. Full of all the little bits and pieces that we love to buy and cherish. The shop at Ussé is indeed an Aladin's cave. There is also a couple of lovely ones in Chinon. In fact you're right, they're everywhere in the Loire.
This is why Nick always takes me shopping on Monday - when most of them are closed !

ladybird said...

Jean, Nick's a very clever man! I'd better not tell my friend about this ;)!