19 January 2011

La Mairie

When we need anything administrative or official done, we go to the mairie in our village. It's pronounced [may-REE] and it's a feminine word: la mairie. It's where the mayor — le maire — has his or her office. In bigger towns, the same building is often called « l'hôtel de ville » — that's what it's called in Saint-Aignan, for example, and in Paris.

I guess in English it's the village hall, the town hall, or city hall.

I had to go to the mairie a couple of days ago because I got a letter from the tax authorities in Blois asking me whether the work on our house had been finished and whether we had filed a declaration saying as much. We had, actually. I thought the mayor's office, where we filed the papers, would have notified the tax people. I guess they hadn't, but they said they will do so now.

Often the mairie in little towns is in the same building that houses the elementary school. That's the case in our village. You'll see Ecole de Filles — Girls' School — and Ecole de Garçons — Boys' School — engraved in the stone on either end of the building. Nowadays, there's a more modern classroom building located behind the mairie.

You'll also see, in front of the main entrance, a monument dedicated to the memory of those who died in past wars. For such a small (but very old) village, the mairie is quite a grand building.


  1. What a beautiful building, I'm sorry I missed it when I was there but there was a little problem with the weather. :) I'd love to see more photos of the village.

    I've seen so many war memorials in small towns and villages in France and every one of them has made me feel sad when I've read the names.


  2. i dont remember that building ....we walked thru st aignan a few yrs back and i remember tha main street thru town, an old church near the center & then we walked up some steps to the chateau for a nice view across the river.....where is the mairie located?

  3. In English English the village hall would be the equivalent of the salle de fêtes. The hôtel de ville or mairie would be the town hall or council offices.

  4. Just what we need here. In New Zealand there is a trend for bigger and bigger administrative units. Nothing with a local flavour is regarded as useful. But I want local.

  5. The Mairie is always such a handsome building. I really like ours in LGP - the front looks smart but the back has a magnificent flight of stairs to the entrance.

  6. "For such a small (but very old) village, the mairie is quite a grand building" One would expect no less in France.


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