04 January 2014

La céremonie des vœux, c'est aujourd'hui

This was the announcement in a recent newsletter from the village mayor's office and on the web site. Les vœux are the mayor's official New Year's greetings and good wishes to her constituents. Attendees will be offered a glass of wine at the end of the event.

Samedi 4 janvier 2014 à 11H

Cérémonie des vœux du Maire à 11h suivie du verre de l'amitié

Vous êtes cordialement invité à cette rencontre amicale. Afin d'organiser au mieux cette réunion, merci de vous inscrire auprès du secrétariat de la Mairie ou par mail.

I tried to RSVP by mail — that means e-mail — but the two messages I sent just bounced back. I picked up the phone and quickly confirmed that Walt and I would attend. It'll be our first time. The town hall is just two miles from our house. The mayor is our neighbor, and she's been in office since 2008. The next municipal elections will be held in March, and I don't know if she intends to be a candidate for a second 6-year term. Maybe she'll talk about her plans at the ceremony this monring.

The village skyline

I thought I'd post a few pictures of village scenes that I took a few years ago.

The village is officially called une commune in France. It consists of the village center — le bourg, or "burg" — and a collection of hameaux or hamlets, little settlements or groups of houses scattered around the commune's 12 sq. miles, or 32 sq. kilometers, of territory. Saint-Aignan is the larger town nearby; it's two miles in the opposite direction from our house. About half of the village's territory is planted in grapevines, I imagine.

La mairie — the village hall

There is a church in the village center. There's a grocery store/bakery, a café-tabac, the municipal library, and the village hall, or mairie [may-REE]. There's also a building called le château but it isn't especially grand or impressive. There are tennis courts, and there's a campground on the banks of the Cher River behind the church.

The village war memorial, or monument aux morts

I don't know how many hamlets (which are sometimes called villages, as opposed to the bourg)  surround the village center. There are quite a few of them, including ours, which is called La Renaudière. Nearby, I'm familiar with La Chotinière, La Besnardière, La Janvrie, Grand-Maison, Les Bas-Bonneaux, and Les Hauts-Bonneaux. On the other end of the village there are Le Vou, Riboy, Le Bas-Guéret, and Le Haut-Guéret. I think there are many more but some are sort of hidden in the woods at the end of little roads that I haven't ever explored.

Driving into the village on the road from Saint-Aignan

The population of the village is about 1,100. The altitude ranges from a low point of 64 meters (210 feet) to a high point of 186 meters (610 feet). I think we live at about the highest point in the commune — at least that's what I've been told by one friend who was born here. The population density is 35 people per sq. kilometer — that would come to about 90 people per sq. mile. (For comparison, Paris has a population density of more than 55,000 people per sq. mile!)

The village church, dedicated to Saint Martin, and a typical house

There's no bridge over the Cher River in the village except the new autoroute (tollway, motorway) bridge and the other end of the village from us. There's no exit or entry ramp in the village, so there's not much traffic. To get on the autoroute you have to drive a few miles in one direction or the other, cross the bridge at Saint-Aignan or Pouillé/Thésée, and then drive a few miles along the other side of the river to get to the only ramp in the area.

The river walk along the banks of the Cher River

The city of Tours is an hour west. Blois is 45 minutes north. Orléans is 90 minutes away, and Paris three or four hours, depending on which road you take. Our village is at the extreme eastern edge of La Touraine, the western edge of Le Berry, and just across the river from La Sologne, which is part of  L'Orléanais — the three historic provinces come together at Saint-Aignan.


  1. Our ceremony date hasn't even been announced yet. Last year it was on the 10th. We don't get posted invitations, there is just a notice on the town notice board and in the paper. It's in the evening, so serves as apéros.

  2. Vous ne le regretterez pas . Ces manifestations sont souvent très sympa et vous permet de mettre un pied dans la vie locale. Merci aussi pour le monument aux morts , pour une petite commune comme St-Aignan combien de noms sont inscrits ? Le savez-vous ? je serais curieux de le savoir.

  3. Superbes photos motte1947@gmail.com

  4. Superbes photos motte1947@gmail.com

  5. So many memories seeing your pictures. They are wonderful. Spent many a happy caravan holiday in Mareuil swimming in the river (not sure I would recommend that), fishing and even playing with one of the kids from the PTT that used to be in the village (don't think it is there any more!). Even think I had my first sip of wine at the fête des lumas at the age of about 6. My parents now have a house in Les Martinières (other side of St. Aignan & Noyers) and we are coming over to stay for a week in mid-January. Hoping for some better weather though so I can get out on my bike.

    I've really been enjoying your blog.

    Enjoy your drinks this afternoon.


  6. Bonjour Ken,
    Signe des temps, après dix ans ininterrompus de vie en France et presque autant de "bloggage", ton blog est maintenant infesté par ces sales Français! LOL [MDR pour les initiés].

    Comme toi, ton blog est donc devenu complètement bilingue, francophone et francophile! Toutes mes félicitations!

    Quand on crée un néologisme, il faut être sûr de l'orthographe. Je me demande s'il faut deux G ou un seul à "bloggage".

  7. P.S.
    Pour paraphraser Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully, le célèbre ministre d'Henry IV:
    "Blogage et cuisinage sont les mamelles des Bouleaux."

  8. I got up today and checked on the euro and flights from IAD to CDG.

    Then I came here and saw your photos. These are just the kinds of photos I want to see these days, of village streets and riverbanks and typical houses.

    It's been too long since we saw France.

  9. It's rather like paradise, where you live. I especially like the fourth photo - such pleasing colors and I can never resist that bend in the road. Who knows what wonderful things lie beyond?

  10. Ahh, very interesting that there is a town get together like this. And-- this is where the mayor will be showing your photos? I look forward to hearing about it. :)

  11. Bonjour Cousin,

    Je croyais que j'étais la seule à avoir remarqué les nouveaux mais vous m'avez battu de quelques heures.
    J'espère que vous n'êtes pas sous la neige dans votre coin.
    On vous envoie nos meilleurs voeux pour l'année 2014.
    It is balmy today : -10 C in lieu of -27C

  12. Bonjour CHM, je ne sais pas si ce que je fais tous les matins s'appelle 'blog(g)age' ou bien 'bloguerie'! Ou autre chose...


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