LA VIE EN FRANCE / LIFE IN FRANCE: THE VILLAGE
Let's continue our walk into, and around, the village of St Georges de Reneins...
This house faces the chateau's wall (shown in posting 456). I love the way its owners
have tarted it up ready for Spring - although painting your shutters this colour is not
always a popular thing to do in these parts.
I pass this metalworker's house just before I reach Church Square.
With its seductive combination of care and neglect, it's much more typical than the house at the top.
This splendid old distance-board is attached to a wall as I enter Church Square.
It tells passers-by what 'departement' they are in (Rhône), the name
of the commune (St Georges de Reneins) and distances to the nearest communes going west.
No-one seems to know where 'de Reneins' originates, although it may be a corruption of 'd'arenes' - 'of the arenas'. The main road through the village is the ancient Roman road from Lyon to Paris and there may have been an arena where the church is now.
My first view of the spendid eastern end - the apse - of the church of St Georges, which is built on a slight rise and dominates the square. In England, this architectural style is called 'Norman';
in France, they call it 'Roman'.
Directly opposite the apse is the 'Cosy' pizzeria and café.
It's almost never open, which is a shame - their pizzas are lovely.
A little to the right of the pizzeria, this rather grandiose building
used to be the 'Mairie' - the Town Hall. Every commune, however small, has a Mairie. Many years ago, they moved the local one to the outskirts of the village; this building is now the Post Office.
The church is to the left, off picture.
The village fountain. I've never seen it working
and I suspect that the serious crack in its base means that it never could.
The pizzeria and Post Office are behind the trees.
On the other side of the church is another village necessity -
the 'Pompe Funébre' and 'Marblerie' is the undertaker and monumental mason.
I'm looking west now; the village fountain is on my right.
The street directly ahead leads to the station. To right and left at the lights is the main road through the village - the old Roman route I mentioned above.
The shop you can see centre-right is the best bakery and patisserie in the whole of France.
Of which more later.
The shop to the left, by the zebra-crossing, is one of the village's estate agents...
...and here it is.
'Immobiliere' always seems to me to be entirely the wrong word for an estate agent, but there you are.
Incidentally, a house like the ones we've seen on our village walk
would set you back a cool €250,000 or so.
I'm on the main road through the village now - this is the church's western end.
The illuminated flashing sign says 'Welcome to St Georges de Reneins'. All communes have signs like this. They are used to promote local activities -
and, if there aren't any, they tell you the date, time and temperature.
The shop on the left is a pharmacy, of which France seems to have one for every five or six citizens.
'Parking' means 'car park' (and not simply 'parking').
The steps up from the street to the church.
I love these steps.
The hideous green flashing pharmacy sign - one of the ways you know you're in France -
is on the left.
The village's central roundabout, looking north. The church steps are on my right.
Ahead lies Belleville, Mâcon, Dijon and - ultimately - Paris.
Great care is taken - and much money spent - on the roundabout, and to often stunning effect.
The display changes every year. Last year, I was treated to a giant, metallised 'tastevin' - the special cup used to taste Beaujolais wine. This year, the wine-making process is illustrated with real, tied, vines, furrow-ploughs, barrels, presses and a tasting hut. It's lovely.
On other roundabouts, there are oversized wine-glasses and old, preserved wine-presses.
The same roundabout, looking south. You can see the church's west end, centre-left.
The main wine-making areas of Beaujolais are to the right (west); straight ahead lies
Villefranche-sur-Saône and Lyon (which is about 30 or so miles away).
TO BE CONTINUED...