Sunday, September 19, 2010

Busy town

In the last couple of weeks our town has been extremely busy.

First off was the French TV Film Festival. We stole this one from Saint-Tropez! The red carpet was out at the cinema on the port and the TV film stars arrived in town. The journalists that cover the event are more famous than the stars in most cases, but never mind.

Next was the boat show. I’m not really that interested in boats myself; I was born inland. Last night was the enormous firework display on the port to close the show. We forgot to walk to the outskirts of the village to watch from a distance. To add to the confusion La Rochelle’s rugby team, who are now in the first division, were at home playing Biarritz yesterday afternoon. La Rochelle lost. I imagine there was a lot of ‘fun’ in the bars after that.

Many of the monuments in France were open for free this weekend. Rob’s most unfavourite weekend. People don’t like waiting to go in – fire regulations and 600 year old uneven narrow stairways mean alternating one way traffic up and down. The staff at the Arch de Triomphe were on strike (pensions). Olivier has been home to work with Rob this weekend – it’s probably his most unfavourite weekend too by now.

The 22nd will be the day without cars, in town. It’s very well organised and was invented by our late Mayor Michel Crepeau. Out of town car parks and buses will be free. Unfortunately some people seem to think they can do as they like on bikes* and skate boards and it can become quite dangerous. We all receive a leaflet with reminders about safety. There are games and sports and information on keeping fit and eating well. The idea is that people will take up using public transport, it’s easy to hire bikes and electric cars in town and there is even a boat bus.

* When he was younger my brother was engaged to a girl whose mother was accidentally knocked over and killed by cyclists.


Caroline said...

I remember getting a free hire of a bike at the harbour by just leaving my passport as a deposit. Not the worlds best bikes but a great idea. Covered a lot of ground I would not have done by foot.

The area round the harbour seemed to be closed to traffic every evening and created a marvellous atmosphere with loads of people out and about.

Caroline xxx

Graham said...

A day without cars! That's an idea for every town to follow.

Re. the film festival, I very rarely know who any 'celebrities' are now. But I don't think I'm missing on anything somehow.

JulieJ said...

sounds like a lot is going on down there in france, it is good to be somewhere where the mayor takes an active role in getting things going. enjoy car free day!

Anji said...

Caroline: They've recently bought in new bikes and automatic dispensers - though you have to join up first. It's still closed to traffic on summer eveings, nice to saunter along and watch the buskers. How long ago were you here?

Graham: I think our town manages because thinking about it it follows the old city walls. I'll have to check that now... I'm with you on the celebrities. We rarely watch TV

JulieJ: Thanks for visiting. mayors have to earn their money here. We seem to get good ones. Our car is only used once a week. I work at home and Rob rides his bike into town.

Bill Y said...

Hi Anji, I've been to France a few times. There was lots to admire but there was also Thierry Henry!

Caroline said...

Anji, I think it was about eight or nine years ago since we happened upon La Rochelle and stayed in a hotel on a corner facing onto the harbour just where the pedestrian barriers for the evening stopped. Somehow we missed visiting the tower though we loved the town.

We do not drive through France so much now and generally use the routes through the centre with occasional bits of free motorway to get from one interesting place to another. The west coast motorway tax became too expensive!

Caroline xxx

Dru Marland said...

We had a bike hire scheme here recently, with a few hubs around the centre... it failed miserably, perhaps because there were too few bikes in too few locations. I like the idea of a car free day; if that were suggested in Bristol the motorists lobby and the local paper would raise a humungous shitstorm. As they do when the slightest restriction of car movement is proposed.... enjoy your day!

cassie-b said...

That's a lot going on at one time. Pretty overwhelming, I'd say.

Anji said...

Bill Y: I think Mr Henry is admirable too, but not for the same reasons as you.

Caroline: The motorways are expensive, but not too crowded.

Dru: I heard that the bike scheme had failed in Bristol. La Rochelle is reasonably flat - I think that might help to get bums on bikes.

Cas: We live out of town so we admire from a distance most of the time.