"Where, how, what?" - Practical tips and information
Here are some practical tips to help you find your way around during your visit in our area.
1. Petrol stations:
The nearest petrol station is about 3 km away, just before the Pont de Tancarville (on your right: TOTAL, usually more expensive than the next petrol station "Elf" a bit further down the road) or in Saint Romain de Colbosc (first round-about, on the carpark of the "Carrefour Market" supermarket. You have to pay the lady sitting in the little hut at the petrol station exit).
By the way: Diesel is called "Gasoil" and is pronounced "gazval".
In the village there is a bakery (Sunday afternoons and Mondays closed) with a little grocery shop where you can buy basics (milk, butter, fruit and some vegetable).
There are 2 supermarkets in Saint Romain de Colbosc, only 4 km from la Cerlangue. Right at the first round-about there is "Carrefour Market", the second one ("Super U") is on the N15 on the way to Le Havre. Apart from that there are shops like a greengrocer's, pharmacies, the post office, butchers, bakeries etc. on the main square in the centre of Saint Romain.
In case you want to go for the "Total French Supermarket Experience": there is a big "Leclerc" shopping centre right after Gainneville on the N15 (towards Le Havre) or you can go to Montivilliers to the "Auchan" shopping centre.
The 2 main shopping centres in Le Havre are "Centre Coty" (city centre) and "Docks Vauban", a brand new shopping centre in the old dock buildings near the station.
3. Cash points:
The next cashpoints are in Saint Romain on the main square.
Saint Romain is popular for its big and lively market. It takes place every Saturday morning on the main square and is a good occasion to explore the little town.
For more information about local markets click here.
5. Stamps, Letter Boxes and Post Offices:
You can buy stamps in most bars, newsagents and "Bureau de Tabac".
The nearest post office is in Saint Romain on the main square. If you are looking for a letter box in our village: there is one on the car park in front of the town hall next to the church.
Open pharmacies and chemists are easily recognizable by the huge green cross flashing above the entrance door. The French are, as they admit themselves, a people of hyperchondriacs - pharmacies can therefore be found nearly everywhere!
7. Doctors and Hospitals:
There are several good GPs in Saint Romain de Colbosc. But as all GPs in France, they do only diagnose, delegate or write out a prescription as they don't have any equipment in their practice/surgery. For each visit you have to pay 22 EUROS in cash or French cheques (no credit cards). You then have to try and get reimbursed once you are back home.
If you have a serious problem, it is better to go straight to the hospital to get treatment in the "Urgences" (Emergency Room").
The nearest hospitals are in Lillebonne (10 min.), Harfleur (20 min.) and Montivilliers (20 min.).
You will find addresses and telephone numbers for hospitals and doctors in our garden house.
8. Cash or credit card? - Paying the French way
Of course it is no problem to pay in cash wherever you are in France. But usually the French love to pay by credit card. Even tiny sums are no reason not to use the "carte bleue".
Good to know for foreign visitors: if you use your credit card in France, you will need your secret code to avoid problems.
9. In a restaurant
If you want to enjoy French cuisine in a restaurant, there are 4 main rules to consider to avoid being immediately spotted as a foreigner.
Rule number 1: When entering a restaurant, do not just sit down at an empty table (except in a bistro or a bar). It is usually the waiter or waitress who shows you to your table. Therefore: if you want a nice table a friendly smile can do wonders!
Rule number 2: Even if your French school book told you so - NEVER EVER call a French waiter "Garçon!" If you want to attract the waiter's attention, just hold up your hand when you see him coming along, try to catch his eyes and say "S'il vous plaît!" (Please!")
Rule number 3: Even ordering a coffee in France needs an initiation. If you order "Un café, s'il vous plaît.", you will probably find yourself in front of a tiny little cup with very strong black coffee. If you want milk, you have to order it ("Un café au lait!"). A decaf is called "un déca".
If you usually drink tea it doesn't mean that things will be easier for you. If the French order "un thé" they mean black tea. Herbal tea means "une infusion" or "une tisane"- the choice is usually limited to mint tea.
Rule number 4: When you want to pay, procedures are defined by where you are. In bars or bistros you can pay at the counter to save time. If the waiter left the bill on your table when serving you can either leave a French cheque or the money in cash on the table and leave.
In a restaurant it is best to try and catch the waiter's eye, then perform a little pantomime (scribbling with one hand onto the other hand's palm) and, if the waiter is close enough to hear you, say: "L'addition, s'il vous plaît."
If you prefer to pay by credit card you have to show it to the waiter. He will then come to your table with his little machine where you have to enter your secret code. If you pay in cash it is possible to leave the correct sum on the table and leave.
And one more rule: The French rarely give tips as they very pragmatically think that the waiter's salary is included in the restaurant's prices. Nevertheless it is always a nice gesture to leave some cents on the table after you paid.
10. Restaurants nearby
Although there is no restaurant in the village there are many occasions to get an excellent taste of the local "cuisine" not very far from La Cerlangue. You will find a restaurant list in our garden house or at www.pagesjaunes.fr.
The nearest restaurants are in Tancarville (3 km) or in Saint Romain de Colbosc (4 km). And for those who don't want to take the car but don't want to cook either: every Saturday evening there's a "pizza man" in front of the church selling freshly baked pizza!