Auvergne Holiday Cottages view
Auvergne Holiday Cottages Introduction text
AuvergneLarge1 - Visitor Information - Shopping and needs

(* open Sunday morning, closed Monday)
Post Office, at first sharp bend; last mail collection at 3.30 p.m. weekdays, 11.30 a.m. on Saturday
Bank, Crédit Agricole, below Post Office, open Tuesday to Saturday. Cash dispenser.
Bakeries. See Bakery Note page 5. We use the lower one, open on a Monday. *
Recycling point on Riom road at the 2nd bridge. Also some containers near the 1st bridge.
“ Shopi”, a small supermarket off main street on right. Closed Sunday except sometimes in July and August. Open on Mondays. Butchery section and sells plain bread.
Chemist (pharmacie, green cross), main street on right.
Doctors: Condat – at the Health Centre 04 7169 6659
Dr Decorde @ Condat Mon, Tues & Fri 10-11.30 & Thurs 4-5.30
Dr Catin, Condat Mon-Fri 8.30-12.30, 4-7 p.m. & Sat 8.30-12.30
or Dr. Decorde at Marcenat 04 7178 8383
Riom-ès-Montagnes, group practice at 24, rue Alfred Durand. Phone 04 7178 0014
Riom surgery times: mornings, just turn up. Afternoons, by appointment only.
Church Sunday services: Egliseneuve 11 a.m., Riom 10 a.m., Condat 6 p.m. (Correct June 2009). Churchgoers of all denominations prefer Egliseneuve. *
Petrol and diesel at the Peugeot garage at the roundabout. Shopi has a 24/7 plastic card only pump. *
The local people’s marché de pays is on Wednesday evenings in summer. You can eat and drink there, often to music. Condat’s Tuesday market has disappeared.

Post Office, grocer (Casino), chemist, etc.. The bakery changed hands in September 2000, still good bread but they no longer make almond croissants, longingly written about in the past.
Wednesday street market with cheese, fruit, etc., plus plants, live poultry (for growing) and other things such as cherries, honey, garlic, etc. depending on season. The Arche Auvergnate has closed. The old chap who used to sell traditional wooden hay rakes, Mr. Parrot, and once lived in the Sweet Little House, died in his nineties in February 2002.

Closest bakery to Laquairie for your breakfast bread, open on a Monday. Also a good restaurant, L’Amandine (see page 8 & menus at the back, after the index).

Besse15 Egliseneuve1
Besse8 Besse2

A great starter on Monday morning...
Besse’s Monday market is well worth a visit, especially as shops and the Simply supermarket in Besse are open on Mondays, because of the market. (For other Markets see next page)

Supermarkets and more shops in Riom-ès-Montagnes (ès means “in the”) and Besse(-en-Chandesse) where Simply, part of the Auchan group, is a good supermarket, particularly for wine. Bort-les-Orgues has two supermarkets.
The nearest big supermarkets (hypers or hypermarkets) are in Clermont - Leclerc, Auchan, Géant Casino, from the autoroute follow signs to Aubière. In Clermont city centre there are car parks at Centre Jaude and Place Jaude (take your ticket with you and put it in the machine on your return with the payment asked for, your ticket is then returned so you can get your car out). Or you can park & ride into the city centre by tram.

Cash dispensers in Condat, Riom-ès-Montagnes (2), Besse (2), etc..

Street markets
Monday Besse
Wednesday Egliseneuve / Salers / & 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month Riom-ès-Montagnes
Thursday Champs sur Tarrantaine
Friday Murat / Champiex
Saturday Riom-ès-Montagnes / Issoire (best local market) / Bort-les-Orgues
Sunday Lanobre / Clermont city centre antiques market and nearby flea market

Bakery note:
The lower bakery is our first choice (open Monday, shut Wednesday). The upper bakery is reliable. The Egliseneuve bakery sells a range of bread and some patisserie.
Bread: a large, ordinary loaf is just called a “pain”, pronounced pan - ask for un pain, deux pains, etc.. Baguette, parisienne and ficelle (string) are progressively thinner. The five blobs with one in the middle is a marguerite (daisy), the stick with lethal spikes (good for self defence) is an épi (an ear, like an ear of wheat), a ring is a couronne. Rye bread (pain de siegle) is often quite hard and may be intentionally sour. Pain de campagne and pain meule are more substantial, perhaps made with stone ground flour. Épeautre is spelt, a type of triticale. Names vary in other regions.

Cheese note: “fermier”, produced by hand on the farm, has more taste than the creamery made “laitier”. Cantal is a hard cheese a bit like cheddar, “jeune” is mildest, “entre deux” is middling and “vieux” strongest. We prefer the vieux. The best place to buy Cantal and St. Nectaire is at Parpaliex. Go up through Chanterelle, round Le Bac, turn left, go along the lane for about a mile, through the untidy farm on both sides. La Montagne de Parpaliex is a large farm on the right, on a ridge. Go into the yard on the right and into their little shop. A St. Nectaire costs about €12 and is good as you can get. Their Cantal is sold by the kilo. They also generally have butter, cream, eggs, etc..
Raymond, the cheese man at Egliseneuve market on a Wednesday has excellent Fourme d’Ambert (a blue from east of here) but does not usually sell Gaperon.

The Department of Cantal has more appellation cheeses than any other department, ten I think. Most often seen Auvergne cheeses are Cantal, Salers, St Nectaire, two blues - Fourme d'Ambert and stronger Bleu d'Auvergne - and the delectable but little known Gaperon which is made with pepper and garlic but does need to be ripe. Bleu de Trizac, Murol and the unusual mild, soft, blue Carré d'Aurillac are lesser known & worth trying too. Tome is a generic type (or can be young Cantal) as is Montagne which may be 25% fat content as against 40 - 45%. You may also find other local cheeses such as Bleu des Neiges and many types of goats' cheese.
People generally cut the rind off, except for Gaperon and cheeses eaten very young. St Nectaire rind is best removed, some enthusiasts like Cantal rind, often cutting it off then eating it last!

In charcuteries you will find local air dried sausages and hams (jambon sec / de montagne, cooked ham is called jambon blanc or jambon de Paris).

Wild boar (sanglier), venison (chevreuil from roe deer, cerf from a red stag, biche from a red hind), hare (lièvre) and other game is often on menus in autumn, as are wild mushrooms. It’s fun, good exercise and a lot cheaper to find your own.

Opening hours

Sundays in Condat: the bakeries and Casino for groceries are open to noon but mostly shut on Monday. The same shops open on Bank Holidays, including Christmas morning.
In summer, Shopi also opens on a Sunday and sometimes Casino on a Monday.

Typically, shops open 8 am to noon and 2 p.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. Bakeries may open and close earlier. Post Offices close at the last posting time, generally between 3 and 4.30 p.m..
There is usually a shop open somewhere, bakers, grocers even hotels staggering their closing days and holidays.

But be warned, by the time you finish that leisurely breakfast and get on the road, whatever it is you're going to see may be shut for lunch. For example, the cable car from Super Besse used to close from 11.30 am to 2 p.m. We know a café that shuts for lunch. The major electrical retailer Conforama does not open until 10 am then closes again from noon to 2 (“one must eat” they explained). Chez SNCF you can find Left Luggage firmly locked when your train departs.
It's not always easy to fathom. Shops that close on Mondays may open if Monday’s a public holiday.

Banks open Tuesday to Saturday (except for some city centre banks that open Monday to Friday). Cash dispensers, see page 4.

Bank Holidays - jours fériés or jours de fête

New Year’s Day
Easter Sunday & Monday
Labour Day - 1 May
Victory 1945 / VE Day
Ascension Day (forty days after Easter)
The Monday after Pentecost (7 Sundays after Easter). Officially abandoned in 2004, but widely taken as a holiday)
Bastille Day - 14 July
Assumption (always 15 August)
All Saints Day (1 November)
Armistice 1918 / Remembrance Day
Christmas Day (many shops open in the morning)

New Year’s Day / Jour de l'an
1 January
1 January
1 January
Easter Monday / Lundi de Pâques
21 April
6 April
28 Mars
Labour Day / Fête du Travail
1 May
1 May
1 May
VE Day / 8 Mai 1945
8 May
8 May
8 May
Ascension Day / Jeudi de l'Ascension
29 May
14 May
5 May
Pentecost Monday / Lundi de Pentecôte
9 June
25 May
16 May
Bastille Day / Fête Nationale
14 July
14 July
14 July
Assumption / Assomption
15 August
15 August
15 August
All Saints Day / La Toussaint
1 November
1 November
1 November
Remembrance Day / ArmIistice
11 November
11 November
11 November
Christmas Day / Noël
25 December
25 December
25 December

For France see
and for public holidays around the world: