The outbursts of Jean Gabin and Jean-Paul Belmondo seem very dormant at the beginning of February in Villerville (Calvados). The village theater of the film “A Monkey in Winter” (1962) is in the depths of the low season. But on the descent, along the departmental road where Belmondo had fun playing the bullfighter with the cars, a banner caught the attention: “Villerville is looking for its baker”. “There’s just the supermarket that stocked bread, otherwise you have to take the car,” confirms Jean-Jacques, a resident. The first bakery is located in Trouville-sur-Mer, six kilometers away.
In 2018, the municipality bought the premises of the old pharmacy, due to a lack of a buyer following the death of the professional. “Our challenge is to install an artisanal bakery and pastry shop there, with a range of products,” explains Mayor Michel Marescot. Covid and the period of high inflation have slowed down the town hall’s projects. As well as the discussions with two interested young people, who finally gave up at the end of 2023. “It’s a regret, because they were talented. They helped us move the project forward,” greet the elected officials, wishing them good luck. Since the display of banners at town entrances, “we have received several applications. Two or three files, from people in the region, are already holding water.”
Too optimistic activity forecasts?
Like its neighbors on the Côte Fleurie, Villerville has a summer side with more than 4,000 inhabitants and a winter side with 600 to 700 residents. “I think this bakery can survive,” says Fabien, “while it is fully established in the village. There is a lot of traffic here. And we can go there on foot. I also think of the people in the surrounding communities. » Some are more nuanced in the town, noting the dead calm at the start of the year and considering that elected officials are very optimistic in their activity forecasts. But the town hall praises the location, along the departmental road at the entrance to the village, and does everything to make the offer attractive with 350,000 euros of work undertaken.
The premises are 150 square meters. 90 downstairs for the shop and the ovens, 50 upstairs for the pastry workshop. The site has brought the place up to standard (the premises is not equipped with equipment) for such a business and all that remains is the tiling, painting and road finishes, for a few minute parking spaces. As for the terms of the agreement, Éric Estrier, the deputy mayor, explains: “We ensured that the rent is as smooth as possible. It will gradually reach 1,400 euros. The 5,000 euros entrance fee can be paid later. The goal is for the professional to build up cash flow. »
“Just before welcoming you, we showed us around the premises,” Emmanuelle Mellot-Kristy, another deputy mayor, tells us. With the work, interested people can plan ahead. » Villerville hopes to decide in the coming month. The bakery and pastry shop should open at the beginning of 2025, or even earlier depending on the project.