Farewell Roanne

(This looks like a video, but it isn't.) ‘Vivre à Roanne’ is a monthly magazine about the town we have had the pleasure living in during the last two winters. The front page of the April-issue shows an aerial picture of Le Canal latéral de Roanne à Digoin (the right hand low corner of the picture), our port, terminus of the canal - partly hidden by the letters O and A, the town of Roanne and last, but not least, the river Loire herself. As explained before the river is connected to the port, thus feeding the canal permanently.

The port as seen from the end, the south-west. It looks huge and indeed it is! A walk around it is really good exercise, covering a distance of close to 1½ kilometers – or almost a mile.

The first picture shows three river-crossings, being a weir in the foreground and two bridges. The first bridge is a traffic one, the one in the background a train bridge. This picture was taken from the traffic bridge, connecting Roanne and Le Coteau. Visible are the train bridge and the mountains in the background. Yes, we are living in the Loire valley.

When living in the Midlands of the UK, Atherstone to be precise, we often took the train for shopping in Nuneaton, a town of over 80.000 inhabitants. From where we lived it was only a ten minutes journey. After arriving in Roanne we learned, to our surprise, that Roanne, France is twinned with Nuneaton, UK! As one should expect there is a Rue de Nuneaton in Roanne. Not the most spectacular one, one has to say.

Nuneaton did a slightly better job. The’ve got a Roanne Ringway, no less. We still have our contacts in the UK, as is proven by this picture. A bit of an awkward cut admittedly, done by us for reasons of privacy. Hopefully no one recognizes the shoulder. Its owner, that is.

As this is the final blog about Roanne a picture of our favourite supermarket cannot be left out. Here it is: Simply Market. Sounds really French, eh?

When looking for real quality food there’s Les Halles Diderot – just opposite of Simply. Both Simply and Les Halles are situated on walking distance, making our shopping-life just easy.

Inside Les Halles all sorts of food are to be found. The fishmonger is not be lacking. And there’s more – a lot more. Bread, meat, chocolate, cheese, coffee, vegetables, flowers, wines, spirits, you name it.

Not the first picture here of our favourite outdoor café. We are not giving away its name, as it is painted on the outside only four(!) times. There’s just one customer visible, which is an exception we can assure you. This one customer is 50% of yours trulies, by the way.

Since 1978 Roanne has its own ‘Centre Universitaire Roannais’, an auxiliary branch of L’université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne. The campus is named after Pierre Mendès France who was, as the French would say, ‘un homme politique’. Roanne university is what is called in France a ‘IUT’. If interested see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_Institutes_of_Technology.

Next to the university building another impressive one is to be seen: Roanne’s ‘Médiathèque’. It was opened in 1997 and contains over 120.000 documents, printed as well as audio-visual, provides internet-access and so on.

One of France’s famous chefs, Michel Troisgros, has his main restaurant (and hotel) in Roanne. This is what the building looks like opposite the train station; the entrance is to the left – around the corner. A few miles from Roanne there’s a small airport. We are told that people arrive by private plane just to have dinner at Troisgros’ restaurant. He is that good! It is striking that the restaurant is permanently closed-off by blinds, apparently to stop passers-bye from staring at celebrities having lunch or dinner inside. How would that feel for the rich and famous when being inside? We have never been inside. Why? See the next picture. More about the Troisgros family on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troisgros_family.

Troisgros’ menu, as on display outside. At least they are not secretive about their prices. Enlarge the picture and start saving money! As is visible on the picture before this one, next to the Troisgros restaurant there’s another one by the name of ‘Le Central’, owned by the Troisgros family as well and nicknamed ‘l’Annexe’ for obvious reasons. The latter is fairly popular (one can look inside) and more in our league. We were invited by friends to have dinner there. It was excellent, superb, really first class. Go there if you can…

…and if everything fails, Roanne houses loads of restaurants. For every taste and every wallet. For instance called ‘La Marmotte’…

‘La Vie est Belle’, an example of another cute small restaurant in Roanne. There are hundreds of them and it is really beyond us how they all seem able to survive.

We had to make a picture of this shop-window, it was just too tempting. A real doggy-bed for one’s favourite little pet, who would ever have thought of that? The shoe is just funny and would very well suit a little cat we suppose. Compared to the bed the pouf and bag are more or less ‘normal’. This looks like another miraculously surviving shopkeeper. Perhaps he/she is rich for some reason and mortgage-free.

On the edge of the square in front of the town hall –see two weeks ago- there’s a stall where one can buy ‘raw’ milk, straight from the cow so to speak. There are vegetables too and it’s all automated. Enlarge the picture and you can read a lot of information, the price for one litre of milk, € 1,00, included. There’s a choice between bringing one’s own bottles or buying them from a dedicated and integrated vending machine. Ingenious! And successful too, we are told.

A picture of this little shop cannot be lacking because one of us two considers this one an absolute favourite. The lady inside is very friendly and helpful and she has accessories and jewelry to our taste. Ever heard of ‘Nature’? See http://nature.fr/fr/#!home/. This shop must have survived because we have been very supportive…

This building is Roanne’s ‘Maison de la Musique’. We are talking now about the other half of the two of us who has had lessons during two consecutive winters in an attempt to master the baroque oboe. It has been a great joy we can assure you. Teacher: Pierre Makarenko, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOfwISsreYU. He has always been really inspiring!

Today, Sunday the 12th of April 2015, is our last Sunday in Roanne. And a good one too! It’s almost summer, 21C/69F in the afternoon. It has been wonderful to be here but we have decided that it is time to move on, the main reason being our desire to be closer to our family and friends during the winter.

Next winter we hope to be in Antwerp’s Willemdok, pictured here. We are absolutely looking forward to living in this beautiful and interesting city. A heartfelt 'thank you' to Roanne and all the people we have learned to know whitin and outside its port. We’re sure that we will meet several of them again – be it on our own boat or while cruising the waterways of France, Belgium or even The Netherlands. Au revoir!!!!