Winterising!

I don’t know if it’s even a word but this is what I had done to the car yesterday. It was due a service and revision of  the computer and so on (all too technical for me), and seeing as we are into mid-September, the garage performed the pre-winter checks. Living in a rural area, my options for getting a car service are a bit limited. The last time I took it to a Renault approved garage in Ruffec (approx 20 mins away) which is great being close-by, but I’m not convinced that they did a very thorough job, so this time I returned to the main dealer where I bought the car, in Niort, a 45 min trip away. They wanted the car first thing so I needed to get my act in gear, but not before snapping a picture of the gorgeous sunrise.

DSCN5265With little traffic I arrived in good time only to be left standing at the counter for 15 mins! When I did get served it took another 15 mins to check the car in. Honestly, the French have NO concept of customer service! I was told that it would take 90 mins to service the car but I knew better. With such wonderful weather I decided to walk into the city centre, at least grab a coffee and to have a whistle-stop look around Niort. The city has recently been given the rather unfortunate and rather dubious title of the ugliest city in France. Of course it is the opinion of one media writer, so not very representative at all. I have been here many times and even though it isn’t the prettiest of cities, I don’t find it ugly. There are some fine buildings, open places and tree-lined boulevards.

DSCN5278Perfect coffee-stop and place to people watch.

DSCN5270Niort’s oldest church, eglise Notre-Dame, begun in the 1400’s

DSCN5271Looking more like a Victorian rail station, Les Halles is a magnificent glass and steel market from 1869 which is a bustling space on market days.

DSCN5268The old pillori dating from the 1500’s stands on the site of the mediaeval pillory. Up until the revolution this was Niort’s town hall.

DSCN5273The Donjon dates back to the 12th century when, after marrying Eleanor of Aquitaine, the English King Henry II attempted to shore up his new lands by building spectacular castles like this. How much easier today’s political climate would be if the English had held onto their own little part of France! 🙂

So, that’s just a sampler of the ‘ugly’ city for you. Back to get the car, which of course wasn’t ready. Winterising obviously takes more time than expected, especially when it was 33c in the early autumn sun!

A Bientot!

About Al in France

Dreams do come true and I am now retired and living with Maggie, my chocolate labrador, in France in the Deux-Sevres. I love travel and photography and hope to combine both interests here to make a record for myself, and somewhere where I hope you will get to enjoy a part of my life in this region, in France and further afield when I get the opportunity. Please feel free to follow and comment. A Bientot!
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