We were walking home the other day when we noticed a lot of activity going on in a storefront that had been for rent ever since we arrived here. One advantage of living where we do is that there are lots of businesses close by so when we need something it’s often just a few steps away from our front door. We were curious and excited to see another shop opening since it would just enhance what is already a great neighborhood. After a few days of cleaning and painting it was time to post the name of this new enterprise on those sparkling front windows—La Repasserie—an ironing shop. How unique is that?
I don’t think that we’ve ever seen an ironing shop before. There are dry cleaners here but a place where you can take your clean but wrinkled clothes is new to us. That made me wonder what other businesses exist that we might think of as unusual. The first that popped to mind is the confiture or jam/jelly/preserves shop that recently opened in town. Frédéric, the owner, shops at the open air market a block away for in-season fruits to make his delicious confitures on the spot. We know that because it’s the same place we buy our fresh produce with the difference being that we get a bag of plums, for example, and he takes them away by the case. Next to his place is the new bagel sandwich shop, still a novelty, at least in this part of France and not far from there is the button shop for every kind of thread and fastener that you can imagine.
In the next block from the ironing shop mentioned above is the brand new Cabinet d’Infirmier that many of us might recognize better if the sign said “Nurse’s Office”. Here, if a nurse wants to strike out on her/his own outside of a hospital, they establish their own storefront practice which seems unusual to us but since there are several such offices in the city, I guess it’s pretty commonplace. You know what else is commonplace here that we didn’t see much of in the US: bakeries, butchers, seafood shops, cheese shops, pastry shops, chocolate shops, wine stores, and épiceries that combine a bit of each of those specialty shops into one. Sure, there are also well-stocked supermarkets surrounding the city, but with all of these unique stores and passionate food experts right outside our front door we feel that it’s definitely business as un-usual!