‘Surviving Patisserie School–Life in a French village Part 2’ was first published on bee-bakes.com, September 2, 2015
This is becoming like a ‘Rough Guides’ to Yssingeaux! Here is some more information about life in the village because, as you’ve probably guessed by now, it’s virtually impossible for me to write a paragraph about something, I have to write an essay…why did I ever think that a blog was a good idea? Maybe I should just write that book that people are always telling me to write, but then knowing me, I would end up like Douglas Adams and write a trilogy of five books…
There are lots of places to eat, drink and be merry in the village when you’re not hard at work at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie, as you’ll find out. However, just to give you an idea of what’s in town I’ll tell you about a few places. You have to keep an eye on opening times because everything closes early, except for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Most places are in the centre-ville and there are many options around Place du Maréchal Foch. There are a couple of more formal places, but generally I just wanted to take it easy when I went out after classes so I didn’t check them out, though I kept meaning to! Here are a few of the more casual places, oh and there’s always McDonald’s near SuperU if you can be bothered walking to it!
The Kebab House
Place du Maréchal Foch, 43200 Yssingeaux
Let’s start with the most chilled. The Kebab House owner/operator is very nice, the kebabs are pretty good and sometimes it’s the only thing actually open in the village—take a loyalty card.
7 Avenue de la Marne, 43200 Yssingeaux
The other option for being open when everything else is closed is the amusingly named L’Open. It claims to be a pizza restaurant, but honestly, the pizza tastes like it’s freezer-pizza, so try the other things on the menu which are good. It’s also a big place, so there’s usually room.
8 Boulevard Saint-Pierre, 43200 Yssingeaux
They staff are very friendly, food is nice and it’s tucked away in a corner behind a mural so it’s sometimes has room when everything else is full. I always found the chef and staff friendly and up for a chat, but it can close if there’s not much business.
32 Rue du Maréchal Fayolle, 43200 Yssingeaux
It probably has the best pizza in the village and a nice atmosphere.
Le San Jordi
1 Boulevard Saint-Pierre, 43200 Yssingeaux
I didn’t even know the name of this place until I just looked it up because I just called it the ‘Sandwicherie’ which is says on the sign and is may be a play on words! It’s very ‘budget friendly’, but the food is ok and the portions are huge…frites, frites, frites. They also have a loyalty card and the people are nice.
There are several bars and cafes in town, but as usual check the opening times! Most of the places are along Place du Maréchal Foch and there are some I’m not mentioning because I can’t remember their names! Here are a few options:
5 Rue Blanc, 43200 Yssingeaux
This is a small bar in the centre, but I just checked and it says it’s permanently closed, so check out if it’s still there or not because it was in March 2015! It’s pretty much opposite the Kebab House in town. It somehow ended up with the nickname ‘the pirate bar’.
Place du Maréchal Foch, 43200 Yssingeaux
This bar has a great selection of beers, especially Belgian beers. It gets pretty busy, but isn’t too bad. I seem to remember there was a bit of a ‘locker room’ theme going on in the back…
Place du Maréchal Foch, Yssingeaux, Auvergne
Central Bar does good coffee and has a wide selection of drinks. The owners are really friendly, welcoming and will let you practice your French! When the weather is warmer, they expand across the road and the centre is filled with people relaxing and chatting in the sun.
20 Place Carnot, 43200 Yssingeaux
When I was there 2014/2015 it was a cafe/bar, but their blog looks like it used to sell regional foods. However, the people who have it now are really friendly, speak some English, make good drinks and play retro music—love it.
Bar a Boss
Place de la Victoire, Yssingeaux, Auvergne
I walked by it all the time, but I never went…they always played sports on the big screen.
There are further options if you wander for 15-20minutes down Avenue du Huit Mai 1945/D988 to Planète Bowling where there’s a bar, karaoke, bowling, pool tables (billiards) and other games as well as a pizzeria, but I never actually sampled the food. Beyond the bowling there’s a big bar/restaurant called Le Canne a Sucs and they do a fine burger, and then the infamous Kripton nightclub…which is really just another nightclub, but fun if you want to dance…
Lieu-Dit la Guide, 43200 Yssingeaux
Brasserie la Canne A Sucs
ZI la Guide, 43200 Yssingeaux
ZI la Guide, 43200 Yssingeaux
There is a lot of walking to be done in and around the village and the best thing to do is just get out on a lovely day and wander. There are often beautiful sunrises/sunsets so take the time to climb one of the hills to see. One walk that I did often with my dog was to climb the hill with the cross on it. This is what I usually did:
Walk along Avenue de la Marne as if you were going out of town.
Turn right into Avenue Mal de Vaux.
Turn right onto Rue Louis Jouvet and then head up the hill. It can get a bit steep, so watch out in the snow! Once at the top, there’s a lovely panoramic view over the village, the chateau school and beyond.
Try going down on the opposite side of the hill and come out on Rue Jean de Bourbon. Follow that around and turn right onto Chemin de Saint-Roch then turn left when you come to Rue Saint-Roch et voilà! You’ll be back in the centre of the village!
Another nice good walk was to go up the hill behind the school—a really lovely walk amid the trees! It’s probably a good idea to try it when it’s dry because there seem to be a lot of heavy vehicles that go up there. It’s also possible to walk along La Siaulme, the little river that you cross when walking or driving to the school.
The school organised my place for me just outside the centre circle of the village and I was lucky enough to have an apartment on my own. If you end up with the apartment on Rue de l’Éternité, then you’ll be in my old digs! And you can benefit from me having cleaned the walls of that place because, let me tell you, it was a little grey when I moved in… It’s a basic, older style apartment, but it does the job for five months and, as someone who saw a lot of interesting student housing situations when studying her undergraduate degrees, this place was heaven in comparison! Here are a few tips about the place.
If the neighbours on the first floor are still the same ones as when I was there—I’m assuming they are—they’re the type of French people who adhere very strongly to the ‘no noise after 22h’ rule. I found this out when I left the apartment with some people at 22:30 one night and laughed and then found a “make no noise after 22h” Google translated sign on the door the next morning. It became a bit of a joke, even with the landlord of my apartment who laughed and said I should only tip-toe around the apartment. Speaking of noise: I hope you have some ear plugs as there is a ‘water hammer’ issue in the bathroom which is next to the bedroom and will wake you up every time the aforementioned neighbours use a tap until you get used to it! Hmm what else…oh if you’re there in the winter, you’ll have to keep the heaters on low all day otherwise you’ll freeze and note how the temperature changes as you ascended or descended the steep stairs! ..oh yeah, the stairs! Have fun with those!
The best thing about the apartment was the view from the kitchen and lounge room over the village and to the hills in the distance when the sun was setting…lovely!
Most of the other apartments the students had were of a similar or better quality, although sizes varied. Everyone had internet access, heating and cooking facilities and most had a washing machine and really, it’s only five months and most of the time you’ll be cooking up a storm at school!
So that’s enough rambling for now. I hope it’s helpful! Enjoy your time in Yssingeaux if you decide to take a course at ENSP.