Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Election

The Presidential Election in France is this Sunday with the second round in two weeks time. It is said that in the first round the french vote with their hearts and in the second round with their wallets.
I, being an etranger and not allowed to vote.

In every village there are the statutory 10 boards in place for each party to attach their quickly defaced posters.

Election cards have been sent to all voters. ( A note on this, the mayor's secretary posts her letters in the postbox on the front of the bar. In this she posted J's election card, which was collected, sent to the area sorting office, put in a postman's van and delivered back to where it was posted from!!)

As one of our regulars put it  "left or right---------------

---------it's all bollocks!"

So the choice is Sarkosy if Snow White will release him for another term in office

or Hollande

I can't believe that the french will vote for Hollande, they still haven't forgiven Germany for running their country in the 40's

Friday, 6 April 2012

French Life: Postcodes

In the UK postcodes are very specific. Our last house in Lower Stondon had a postcode that covered  40 houses, but in France it is not quite as easy.
We live in 86400, the postcode based around Civray. It is well over 100 sq kms and is 20km x 17kms at its peak. There are 11 towns and villages in 86400 and approx 9000 people.
This as you can imagine makes life a little difficult for posties and other delivery drivers.

But their headaches don't end there. There are the hamlets. (hameau) hamlet  is a group of dwellings in rural areas , generally too small to be considered a village , and with no church . The basic element is very often a farm .(wiki.fr)

Our village of Champniers, population of 350 is made up of the main village and 21 hamlets. These range from two or three houses to maybe 25. They have no road names and normally no house names or numbers. Instead they use the generic address Lieu dit.   Lieu-dit (plurallieux-dits) (literally said-location) is a French toponymic term for a small geographical area bearing a traditional name. The name usually refers to some characteristic of the place, its former use, a past event, etc. (wiki.fr)
So if a Jean Smeeth lived in  Somewhere a hamlet of Champniers, the address would be Lieu dit Somewhere,  86400 Champniers.   Good luck to the DHL man I say!!!  Where do they start?  

But postcodes are important as they identify the department of the town or village. France has many duplicated place names and the postcode will identify which department or county they are in. There are two Champniers approx 100kms apart. There is us in 86400 and also a suburb of Angouleme postcode 16430 

We have had a number of people turn up here, looking for the airport, hotels or the out of town shopping centre that the larger Champniers is known for.
Surprisingly, they don't always take their mistake in good heart normally blaming the Sat Nat rather than the person who programmed it.

When Bonnie Tyler sang about being Lost In France perhaps she was heading for Saint Savour. 
As can be seen below there are 12 places of that name plus another 3 that are very similar
But it's not all bad. French road signs are normally excellent and will help you find your destination