10 November 2010

Our village

We don't actually live in the village. We live about two miles from the center, which means from the church. We also live two miles from Saint-Aignan, which again means from the church. Because Saint-Aignan is a larger town — it has three or four times as many people living in it, and many more businesses — we go there more often.

The church in our village

We live in a hamlet, which is a settlement, or group of houses, with no church and, most of the time, no shops or other business. That's the case in our hamlet. It's just nine houses, four of which are inhabited only seasonally or periodically. Only one of the other five houses has more than two people living in it. There are no children in the hamlet, but several sets of grandparents.

The main street through the village on a quiet day —
that's the café/tabac on the right.

In our village, which we normally drive to, there's a church, a library (open two mornings a week), a post office (open mornings only), a supérette (a little grocery store with a good butcher counter), a boulangerie or bread bakery (closed on Wednesdays), a hair salon/barber shop, an elementary school, and a café/tabac (selling magazines, hot and cold drinks, and cigarettes). There's also a château, which is used for lectures and exhibits and where groups can rent overnight accommodations, and a campground behind the church, on the banks of the Cher River.

The center of the village, around the château
and church, is a big park with a campground.

The population of the village, or "commune" as it is known administratively, is about 1100, at last count. That comes to about 34 people per square kilometer (that's 88 per square mile). In Paris, there are 20,800 people per square kilometer (about 54,000 per square mile). Our commune covers an area of 32 square kilometers (12½ square miles) and most of that territory is fields, vineyards, and woods. Paris is 105 square kilometers.

The château is not one of the really picturesque ones.

The church in our village doesn't have its own priest. It's part of a circuit. The priest holds services all around the area on different days. Not being a church-goer, I don't know how often there are services in our church. But I do know that there are funerals there. I attended one just about a year ago. There must be weddings down there from time to time too.

Looking down toward the campground and the river

The things we go to the village center for are haircuts (once in a while), the post office (sometimes we go to Saint-Aignan instead), and bread (but not often, because the baker has an employee who makes the rounds, delivering bread four days a week, and we buy bread from her). Once in a while we have to go to the Mairie, or village hall, where the maire (our neighbor the mayor) has her office.

A view of the village church

We can walk to the village, of course, and we've done so a few times. We could also ride our bicycles, but usually we drive. As I said, our house is equidistant from the village and the town (Saint-Aignan), so we usually end up in town for the open-air market, supermarket, restaurants, pharmacy, doctor, and dentist. We can walk to town or ride bikes (we've done both) but normally we drive. It takes just a couple of minutes — it's two miles — and there is essentially no traffic. If you're shopping and have things to carry home, you need the car.


  1. Your hameau sounds like some we have out in the country around our town.They are so charming! But having kids, it's more convenient to be a "townie" so that they can get around on their own.

  2. Well, now... somehow knowing that you are in between the two places helps me picture your world a little better. Very nice. Merci bien :))


  3. It sounds peaceful, but not without life. Very nice.

    I live in a township in northeast Ohio which is 22.5 square miles and has a density of 418.9 people per square mile. The population is about double what is was when we moved here thirty years ago. But still very nice.

  4. You've managed to make the non-picturesque château, quite picturesque.

  5. The château looks quite picturesque to me. But of course near you are the magnificent ones.
    Kerry Hand

  6. Very pretty indeed. I have a mental image of a girl on a bicycle with baguettes in the bike's front basket.


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