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Tuesday, august 22, 2006

Buildings in France

For the time of year, the temperature has been below average for weeks. Campsites and places of entertainment complain bitterly that tourism is dramatically low. First because of the canicule and now because of the cold.

But the French are spoiled as we know now. An outside temperature as from 24 degrees (we have not yet experienced less) is indeed to low for the month august but well... but if they can't swim, everyone is upset. Outdoor swimming is almost like granted, and this isn't possible right now because the temperature of the water doesn’t reach above 20 degrees.

To us everyday is a blessing because the sun is generous in this country and we haven't had the need to put on our coats for weeks now.


At one of those days when the Netherlands were drenched, we were here. Don't think you can find my fat but between these people, because I hid behind the camera.

Usually when Ruud has finished work at the end of the afternoon, we jump on our bikes and ride into the hills with our children. And then you discover that France has suburbs and holiday villages which are as ugly as similar locations in the Netherlands.

Fietsen in de heuvels

Me and Deirdre on one of our innumerous bicycle excursions through the hillsides

Because the French also want a brushed lawn with a swimming pool, a barbeque, a swing where you never see a child playing. The maison en pierre holds no charm for them and its appearance is only retained if the house is used as a Gîte or Chambre d'hote, because the tourists love it. And if not the old farms and houses are covered with a layer of irremovable plaster (crepe) and painted in preferably soft pink, soft yellow or grey brown.

Franse vinex locatie met pelouse (gazon)

The ideal house for so many French

Approximately 10 kilometers from Espalion is a little tourist village called Bozouls. It thanks its popularity from a little attractive gorge (small canyon slit out by river) that's definitely worth walking through, but around it is a peasants hole not worth mentioning where between the dozens of tasteless new buildings - with a lot of luck - one can find a nice old building.

In one way or another, this ugly village weekly attracts many thousands of tourists from all regions. Would it be for the playful little train that leads you through the gorge in a hurry? But then you'll see the least attractive part and miss out on the beautiful bits.

Fantastisch mooi maison en Piere in de Gorge van Bozouls

A maison en pierres at the bottom of the gorge of Bozouls

In any event, the fine thing about this country is that with the least of effort one can evade the ugly bits. You only have to enter a sideway and find yourself in the garden of Eden, where at the end of the day delicious smells ascend from the roadsides, where you're surprised by the gentle murmur of a small waterfall and where all sorts of strange insects crawl in the moss.

Met de fiets op pad
Ruud and Halldor

Within walking distance from our future home we found the lovely twelfth century Église de Perse (on the pilgrim route) with a marvelous bell tower and numerous Roman ornaments and figurines.

Ornament / waterspuwer van de Église de Perse

A sweet little monster beneath the roof of the Église de Perse

Around the church is a cemetery, where generations of mortals after their death want to remain near the building that once was the pulsing center of a community. And by the way, it looks it still is, between the many old and caved in graves, there are also new ones.

Église de Perse

Église de Perse

The next day we went out on bike we discovered -at a short distance from the Église de Perse- a farmhouse with a very blatant tower. Later we found out this was the Église de st. Pierre de Bessuéjouls, a small church originating from the eleventh century, which is also found on the pilgrim route.

Eglise de st. Pierre de Bessuéjouls

Eglise de st. Pierre de Bessuéjouls

In the garden we found a stone coffin broken in two with the vague outlines of a human carved in the stone. When we admired the outside and prepared to hop on the bikes again, we saw a little boy coming out of the entrance.

Would it be open? The old access door could be opened by pressing a button and pull the handle at the same time. Ah, I thought just like at Compu'Train! There too were confused clients because the door wouldn't open after repeated ringing. Till I arrived of course and unveiled the secret of that door that could be opened by themselves and without force.

 De klokketoren van de église de st. Pierre de Bessuéjouls

The bell tower of the Église de st. Pierre de Bessuéjouls

We walked inside and in the back of the church we saw two tiny entrances to the stairs. Ruud barely fit the narrow corridors. After twenty steps we reached a lovely Roman chapel.

mariabeeldje met kind, in de église de st. Pierre de Bessuéjouls

A statue of Maria with child, so inviting

In the middle of the space was an altar, woven with decorations in stone, and everywhere this beautifull Roman figurines. We were astouned completely by this beauty wich reveiled itself to us unasked.

Halldor heeft de foto van het mariabeeldje met kind gemaakt

Halldor made the picture of the Maria figurine, but was furious because "you made me take that picture, but I wanted to photograph something from myself."

Meanwhile Ruud and I are delighted by this region, which has in every season as it seems, to offer something worth looking at, listening at, smell, taste, to do and insja-Allah we will stay here the rest of our lives, or at least longer than six months.


Ik ga van een huis naar een kerk emigreren

posted by Ruud at 02:06  |  send an e-mail

next column ( aug 24 ) - previous column ( aug 19 )




Augustus 2006
- French coffee
- Snake spotting
- School in France I
- Buildings in France
- The Market in France
- Homesick
- Biking in France
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
June 2008
March 2008
February 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
July 2007
June 2007
April 2007
March 2007
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September 2006
Augustus 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006


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