November 11, 2013

Les Cloches

When looking for a new apartment to move into with the French boy for this last semester in Troyes, after several mediocre apartments, we walked into one where I had a coup de coeur (love at first sight).

It was luminescent. There was a puit de lumiere (a lightwell / a skylight) in the center of the building that provided light for the living room. The apartment was facing a little used street, and had beautiful big windows letting in even more light. There was even natural light in the toilet and bathroom, thanks to the puit de lumiere.

In Troyes, while the medieval timbered houses are charming, they let in little light. To finally find an apartment, in the city center, on a pedestrian street, with this amount of light was exceptional. But it wasn’t only the light.

Looking out of the living room windows, the neighbor’s beautifully kept flower garden was visible.

Chez les voisins.

The kitchen came complete with an oven. The living area was huge, with an archway. There were two bedrooms, each with a view of the neighboring medieval church.

l'eglise as seen from the bedroom window.

And there lay the problem. Churches in France aren’t simply for Sunday morning service. They are for all the time. Church bells ring for the hour on the hour, and some even ring every 15 minutes.

I knew this though, and so I asked our realtor straight away if this particular church came with ringing bells. She assured me it did not.

Totally enamored by the apartment, we signed the lease.

After living here for about two weeks, while reading the local newspaper, the Frenchboy had some bad news. The newspaper announced that they were going to be putting bells back into the church next door.


  1. There is a 12th century church that sits a top my back garden... the bells... OH THE BELLS!!!! At first they drove me nuts but now I'm used to them (my dog on the other hand HATES them), but sleeping past 7am is impossible.

    1. Gosh! At least you're a morning person! If I couldn't do a gras mat' on saturdays and sundays I wouldn't be a happy camper, haha. Here's to hoping I'll be moved out before the bells are moved in!

  2. I figure people in France would be less willing to be reasonable about letting you out of a lease since one of your concerns came to fruition after you signed! Your lease was contingent on there being no bells, so I'd argue that the lease is no longer valid once the bells start!

  3. Hello!
    I noticed that you have been living in Lille and since Iam eventually about to go there working as an au pair I would like to ask you some questions about the city:
    What did you enjoyed the most about the city?
    It there much activities to participate in?
    Do you know if they have anything special for au pairs in town, I mean some meeting-groups etc?
    The pros and cons about Lille?
    I would be so thankful for your opinion! :-)
    Best regards, Josefin
    you can aswer me on

  4. I just stumbled across your blog, admittedly trying to clarify how to say "are you s******* me?" in French... very helpful, this blog of yours. ;)
    I'm trying to learn French so I can someday visit and not come off as a complete moron. Glad to have found you!


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