The village bakery is 400 metres from our gates, and is open from 5 a.m. every morning. It is a family business and sells a huge variety of bread, croissants, brioche, cakes and tarts. For large groups it is best to pre-order.
The centre of Saint Omer is a really fun place to wander. It has a mix of restaurants and cafés, but also interesting shops on the Rue de Dunkerque. It is at its best on Saturday morning when the largest local market of the region assembles in the Place du Marechal Foch.
Centre Commercial Auchan
Ten minutes from the house, between Saint Omer and Arques (off Avenue des Frais Fonds), there is a shopping mall and commercial area that contains the largest supermarket you will ever have been in – Auchan – as well as every other French shop you have ever heard of, including a Decathlon selling sports equipment.
Le Chais wine shop
This is a proper wine shop – although it should be said that it does not discriminate against other types of alcohol and there are masses of beers and spirits too. You can find everything you need here – in the sort of cave that was the inspiration for Majestic in the UK. They have a website and are happy to deliver to the chateau if you order a few cases.
Wizernes has a highly recommended butcher, and a patisserie that makes cakes that outdo even our own Hallines bakery. Hallines and neighbouring Wizernes are quiet villages, but on Sunday morning there is a strong turnout for the market in Wizernes. Local produce – and a chance to see the locals!
If you take the Eurotunnel to France, the first junction you come to as you leave the train is for Cité Europe. This is an enormous shopping centre that has attracted so many outlets to its malls that the centre of Calais has been left looking a little bereft. But Cité Europe has everything, including a Carrefour supermarket. Worth a visit if you need to stock up before you get to the house – as you will be passing – but otherwise most things are available closer to the chateau.
BUTCHER, YES. BAKER, YES. BUT NO CANDLESTICK MAKER. SORRY!
PLEASE FORGIVE US!