Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Heart of the Village


The Post Office in 2006.
For the past four months the centre of Preuilly has been in upheaval. The parking in front of the post office and the town hall has been completely dug up and redesigned. The new look is definitely an improvement and more practical, and includes a couple more parking spaces than we had previously.

The Town Hall in 2006.

The aim has been to beautify the area in front of the town hall to reflect its past as a grand town house. The idea is to create an agreable space for residents and somewhere that will be enticing to visitors. Around the beautified public space will be the doctors, dentist, pharmacist, post office and shops. 

One of the main thoroughfares in the town became an obstacle course. I was amazed that no elderly folk were accidentally squashed while work progressed, as there was no practical alternative to walking through the midst of the works if you live our side of town and wanted to go to the butcher, baker, bank or charcutier.

The council has bought the post office sorting office and it is being converted into a surgery for two health professionals. Although the mature linden trees from the parking space in front of the post office have gone, the area has been terraced and the curb dropped so access is easier. New trees have been planted. More parking has been created around the back of the former sorting office, new surgeries.

The main intersection in town gets a new curb.

The parking in front of the town hall has been dug up and will be converted to lawn planted with roses and shrubs. Two parking spaces remain, one for people with a disability, one with a charging station for electric vehicles. There is also a bench, bike racks and a new digital town notice board.

The works were the subject of considerable local interest and conversation. Residents were almost always to be encountered standing amongst the works and discussing it. I was by no means the only person who regularly photographed the progress.

Down the side of the town hall the one way system has been reversed, to encourage people to park in the existing spaces behind the building.


Initially most of the residents and quite a few councillors were skeptical about this project, but now that it is finished, the reactions are generally positive.

The intersection at rue des douves has been narrowed in rue des douves itself plus in front of the Episervice and pharmacy, to slow traffic down and stop people parking right in front of these two shops. A blue parking space and pedestrian crossing has been provided for the pharmacy nearby.



The mayor, in black on the left, inspecting the work. Two old women stopping to chat, in the road and right in front of the works.
A typical traffic jam, exacerbated by the works. Pedestrians are requested to cross to the other side, but there was no point, since there was works on both sides and no footpath on either.

Rolling the new pavement and grouting the newly laid setts that lead up to the steps of the town hall.


The new parking in front of the post office.

Charging station for electric vehicles. It is mandatory for villages above a certain size to have one. Preuilly is one of the last villages in the area to install one.

2 comments:

  1. Looks good now, doesn't it? You can tell you're becoming more French calling a parking area a parking :).

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    1. I'm not sure that referring to parking like that is franglais for me. I think I've used 'the parking' for a long time. I can't tell whether it's a post 1970 Australianism or something I picked up in the UK though. I do definately have some verbal ticks that I've acquired since moving to France. The one I notice the most is using the phrase 'don't hesitate (to call, ask if you have further questions, etc)'. I don't recall using this phrase before we moved here, and it is a direct translation of 'n'hésitez pas' which I see and use all the time in French.

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