Thursday, November 02, 2006

Of A Great Man and A Roundabout....

This must look as if I've really got into the theme of death but no, don't worry this is about a roundabout......and a memorial.

The French came late to roundabouts at least in this area. When we first arrived there were few indeed and at junctions Napoleon's rule of Priority to the Right still held sway.
The roundabout though is a much more sensible way of dealing with motor traffic; I mean no offence to Napoleon here.
Now they're everywhere and many are"sponsored" by local landscape gardeners and garden centres to showcase their work, an excellently practical idea which we all benefit from. In fact I've stolen a few ideas myself for my own garden.

Now to the second part of the story;
sometimes you come across a person who has the gift of living well (I don't mean in a hedonistic sense) who manages to cram so much into their life it makes you dizzy. Such a man was Coluche who started his career as a stand up comedian, became a film star, set a motor cycle speed record and stood for President of France. Impressive career but now listen to this: he worked actively to combat racism and in 1985 set up an association called Les Restaurants du Coeur. which helps to feed the socially marginalised.
In Winter occasionally their volunteers stand outside the supermarkets and ask people to buy with their shopping one or more items from a list. Such an easy way of giving.
Coluche had a passion for motorbikes and died at the age of 42 in Opio in a road accident.
His fans and there are a multitude have erected this memorial near where he died and every year on a Sunday near the anniverary they turn up here on motor bikes in their hundreds to commemorate this great man. You really have to see it; it's unbelievable. No one could wish for a finer tribute.

A couple of years ago after this informal service his fans left a sign naming the newly constructed roundabout "Rondpoint Coluche"and there the sign stayed, a reminder of a good man,......for a few months until the local Mairie, the council, quietly replaced the sign with the more geographically correct "Rond Point du Piol."

Something to do with politics, I believe. Coluche was, after all, a socialist. These days, it seems it's not enough to be good.


Jippy said...

Hi, I liked your blog. I stopped by because of NaBloPoMo. I can't remember if you involved or if I linked to you from a member. LOL It doesn't matter I enjoyed my time on your blog.

cityfarmer said...

I just adore those spiring evergreens

takin chances said...

I also got here from NaBloPoMo.

South of France, huh? I must say I'm jealous. I live in the south of the USA. I'll be making my first trip to France in the spring.

Great story about Coluche.

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

Oh! Just found you via ma mere "Savvy City" wonderful!

lost in france said...

Nothing to add about Coluche, but more about roundabouts. I had never seen one until I went to England for a vacation (holidays) and rented (hired) a car. I remember only once forgetting which side of the road to drive on -- it was coming out of a roundabout.

Somehow, I think those things (roundabouts) are dangerous, and at least in France, make-work projects for friends of the local politicians.

There is a suburb outside of Toulouse -- Colomiers, where Napoleon's rule still applies. As it is probably the only place in the area where this is true, it is hazardous as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Angela,

I decided to answer your message here to be sure you'll see it. Like that I can also say that I loved this post =)

Yes, me too I'm already tired with this National blog posting month. Thought it would be quite easy, but it turns out to be quite I challenge (and we're just on day 2...)

Anonymous said...


I'm doing a review of all the "A" blogs for the nablopomo :) I stopped by and saw that you like to get comments from your visitors.

My husband and I were fortunate enough to visit Paris... I wait for the day that we can return and see more of the countryside.

b/sistersshoes said...

Just lovely, what a man and why is it that such a fine human being would die so young? A question I intend on asking sometime.

We have a couple of round-a-bouts...I love them and now, I'll love even more :D

love to you Angela,
XXX darlene

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

wonderful post, angela ... and a nice way for you to also pay tribute to a man who was most impressive in the best of ways.