Tuesday, 30 December 2008
The Swedish Giant
Monday: to Toulon to visit the Swedish giant, Ikea, to buy the last items for the kitchen we've been renovating for a long, long time but that's another story...
Ikea has this huge store just on the outskirts of Toulon, an hour and a half drive from our house. The place is always busy no matter what time or what day you go and, wishing to capitalise on its success, of course, the company had plans to open a store about a ten minute drive from Valbonne. The plans caused a huge furore; though the intended site was in Mougins, it bordered the neighbouring commune of Mouans Sartoux and would have had a much greater impact on the vibrant shopping centre there. M-S is also a well known traffic bottleneck even without adding in a popular furniture store and the traffic it generates. Here's a link to a local blog if you'd like to read about the traffic problems the superstore would generate.
The row raged for months with increasingly bitter demonstrations, public meetings and petitions for and against but in the end, to my relief, Ikea was refused permission. The roads here are narrow and winding and were not built or intended for the amount of traffic they carry now let alone in the tourist season. Adding more cars to this mix would make moving around doing daily chores intolerable. As to the jobs the store would have created; If we're all buying at Ikea, existing furniture stores will be forced out of business as there's only so much furniture anyone needs..