Sunday, July 25, 2010

old world / new world: church bells

I've been trying (trying!) to not rant on about all the frustrating things in France. The fact is, France is a country with a huge history and very strong culture and some things are the way they are because that's the way they've always been done. Coming from a young country where changes and improvements are made for the sake of efficiency, I sometimes find myself asking "why?" when I know a much simpler solution exists. Changing the minds of the French is difficult and they will always defend the old way, even if it's inconvenient. All that is to say that I've come up with a new category of posts, called old world / new world. It's not so much a rant topic as a comparison between the new world of my home country and the old world of my adopted country.

To start things off, I thought I'd mention a positive thing about the old world: church bells. Every village and city has at least one church and most, if not all, have church bells. On the hour and the half-hour, time is marked with the appropriate number of rings, with the half-hour getting one ring. This goes through the night, making sleeping with the windows open a bit of a challenge for light sleepers! On Sundays, Feast days, as well as for weddings and funerals, there is a longer ringing ceremony that lasts a good 10 minutes. In my village, there are two bells that are a tone apart and they ring independently, sometimes taking turns (ding dong, ding dong / dong ding, dong ding) and sometimes hitting the mark together (diong, diong). Whether I'm lying in bed, working in the garden or preparing a meal, I always enjoy this marking of time and events.


  1. I love to read your posts. You are confirming the fact that one of the things on my "bucket list" is to see France. :)

  2. I am Caitlin's mother-in-law, and after reading Caitlin's blog about church bells in our village, and made reference to your blog, I had to see what you thought of bells in France.

    Our bells truly have a very unpleasant sound, but I too like the idea of the attention that is given to the events in the village through the bells.