Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Rabbits in the Window

I imagine this window in Loches with its cutesome dangling rabbits was one of the most photographed corners of the attractive southern Touraine town during the summer tourist season. The owner also sets out a small table and two chairs, for use by people wanting to write postcards. It is utterly charming.
Fungi Foray: The Association de Botanique et de Mycologie de Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine is holding a fungi foray at the Etangs de Narbonne on Saturday 9 November. Meet at 2 pm in the carpark of the Maison-pour-Tous de Joué-les-Tours (from Boulevard Jean-Jaures turn into rue de la Douzillere. The Maison-pour-Tous is at the foot of the water tower).
Grocery Shopping:  Our monthly food budget is €300, split roughly half and half between the supermarket and the market. I used to shop twice a month at the medium sized SuperU at La Roche Posay, about 12 km away, and twice weekly at the market in Preuilly, plus have a twice weekly dairy delivery and visit the boulangerie daily and the butcher and deli occasionally. Just recently I have changed tactics, and I now shop once a month at Auchan in Chatellerault, about 35 km away, and once a month at Loches market, as well as my local Preuilly shopping. Last month this resulted in a significant saving, the equivalent of one of my SuperU shops. It's due to a combination of two things. First, Auchan has a better choice of items that I like, an excellent own brand budget range and a lot more bulk buys. Second, replacing a supermarket shop with a big market shop seems to mean spending less, albeit on a slightly different selection of products.

My choice of Auchan as my current supermarket came about after trying the big SuperU in Loches, LeClerc and Lidl as possibilities. None of them quite came up to scratch. I would rate the supermarkets in this area as follows (from best to worst, based on a matrix of my shopping habits, product preferences and value for money): Auchan, Carrefour, SuperU, LeClerc, Intermarché, Dia, Lidl and Aldi. (Note that there isn't a Monoprix anywhere within cooee.) This is an entirely personal list, taking a number of things, not just price, into account, and I am aware it will be controversial with some readers.
Movember: I'd like to remind everyone that moustaches matter. If you meet a MoBro, please support him with a contribution to his fundraising pot this month. The funds go towards men's health research and programmes.


  1. Our shopping habits...

    Regular [more than monthly]...
    Grand Pressigny on Thursdays for market and other shopdays as needed, LeClerc, Lidl, Terre Y'Fruits...

    Once a month'ish or less... [entirely Pub dependant unless passing]...
    SuperUs/Intermarchés, Simply Market [Auchan... only occasionally for the big Chatellerault Auchan], direct from producers and Aldi[very, very occasionally]...
    Also once a month'ish...
    Descartes Market

    There isn't a Carrefour close enough... wish there was sometimes, their Pub shows good value quite often...
    and Dia is dire [or the one at Descartes is... haven't tried another]!

    Almost all veg from potager...
    meat from village plus local producers...
    fruit in the main now from Les Petits Vergers stall and the lass from Le Grignon when she is there [mainly for her 'sparrow grass, strawberry and salad season]
    Oranges... Lidl... Spanish Navels, juicy good and keep well.
    Other citrus from whoever as needed... often Terry Frootz because of quality.

    Out and out bargains... recommend keeping an eye open in TerryFrootz for their 4€ trays...
    recently we've had a whole box of mushrooms, topped with some perfectly good veg [to supermarket standards] in one and 4 kilos of equally perfectly good Oxheart, Ananas and Black Krim tomatoes along with peppers and o'bergines... the toms were selling at 6.50€s a kilo!
    Offers of such things, and those like Whole Salmon, are processed on the day for the freezer/dehydrator/bottle with remnants converted to soup or stock.

    Taylors of Harrogate tea... kind friends!!

    Fuel from whichever garage is cheapest [St Maure Intermarché and Chatellerault Auchan/Le Clerc... locally Descartes prices highest, WizzerssurCrooze next and Rich Posers SuperU usually cheapest]... except for the power tools and other garden machinery... always garage in Le GP[close, convenient and needed].

    That's been an interesting exercise!!

  2. We use Auchan and Lidl weekly. We have found Lidl Chatellerault, on many occasions, has better quality veg than Auchan and it is cheaper. There is a small Carrefour in Richelieu which we hardly ever use. Intermarche and the marche in Richelieu is expensive which is why we travel, the savings more than cover the cost!

  3. Tim: Descartes is that bit further for me and I never think to shop there. There's a Terre y fruits in Ste Maure, did you know? Most of our fruit and veg comes from Ô petit verger, who come to the Preuilly market too. The nearest big Carrefour is Tours, and we shop there for bits and pieces when we are up there for work. Fuel for the car comes from SuperU Loches, with the added advantage that they have free air.

    C&E: I agree that the savings make the travelling worth it. I was sceptical at first, but the purse is seeing the benefit. I don't buy much fruit and veg in the supermarket, just citrus and tomatoes in the winter. I do buy most of our meat at the supermarket, and Auchan seems so much better than the others for meat.

  4. We really like Auchan at Chatellerault and declare we could live there every time we step through the doors!

    Here in Derbyshire we have a fairly new Tesco just down the road. It's handy, but the shopping experience is not a pleasant one, largely due to the nature of the other shoppers you have to rub shoulders with, I'm sorry to say, which has more to do with where it is, not what shop it is.
    I prefer to go a bit further afield to Sainsbury's where things are more civilised, and the prices seem similar. We also go on every-so-often pilgrimages to Waitrose, where the prices of basic goods are also the same but you also have the opportunity to choose from a wider range of less common goods.
    Most of our savings have come from eating differently and not wasting food as well as eating out less often.

  5. We aren't in France enough to make a judgement as to which would be best for us long term. I mostly go to either SuperU in Loches or Intermarche in Yzeures. Occasionally I use the Simply Market in Ligeuil. Whilst we are both working price is less of an issue especially as we still consider ourselves to be 'on holiday', and I buy things I'd think twice about buying in the UK. However when we retire price and value will most definitely become very inportant.

    In the UK Sainsbury would be my local choice, although if there was a Waitrose closer I would shop there, judiciously selecting the bargains!

    I think to shop in bulk you have to be organised and plan rather better than I do at present. Otherwise my stocks of out of date coffee could pile up!!

  6. Jean: I'm glad it's not just me who likes Auchan in Chatellerault. It's laid out sensibly, stuff advertised is actually in store, they have stuff I'm going to use in the right size packet for the right price -- so much less frustrating that some of the other supermarkets.

    Gaynor: I'm a very organised shopper -- that's why I don't get on with Lidl -- they are way too random with what you will get on any given visit. And surely you don't have to worry about the coffee -- you just buy a single packet at the beginning of the year and leave it in the cupboard open but barely touched for 12 months. If there's any left over at the end of the year it just means you don't have to buy more any for the next 12 months.

  7. In Saint-Aignan, our best supermarket by far is SuperU. The Intermarché in Noyers-sur-Cher is more expensive and less well stocked but has some products (coffee, meats, wine, and other things that I go there for specifically). At SuperU they have a lot of checkout lines so the waits are not too long. Intermarché is almost always a pain because you have to spend so much time standing in line there. There are also some products I go to Dia for; the Saint-Aignan Dia is well stocked and well managed.

    I hardly ever go to Auchan. It's 25 miles north on the south edge of Blois. It's overwhelmingly big and too crowded. But I do like to go to the Grand Frais produce market for the selection and the low prices. As I wrote today, I like the Netto supermarket in Montrichard for bargains. It's somehow connected to Intermarché.

    Markets: Saint-Aignan, Montrichard, Contres (all similar in size and choice), and sometimes Selles-sur-Cher (much larger). Loches is too far, as are Blois and Romo. I haven't been to the Amboise market, the largest one in the area, in years.

  8. And....
    I like the wabbit window!