Monday, August 17, 2009

Blue Cow Roundabout

Roundabouts have become a major feature of French roads in the last decade or so.

This is an excellent thing for safety, compared with any cross-roads junction, with or without traffic lights.
Personally, I find it a good thing for my nerves too, as any hold-up is obviously due to the amount of traffic & not to some absent idiot having screwed up the timing schedules for the lights.
I don't have any proof, but I suspect the overall waste of time & energy is lower for roundabouts than for traffic lights or Stop signs as well.

Having belatedly adopted roundabouts, the French are doing a nice job in decorating them.
Very few are left as vulgar pieces of traffic chicanery.
Most are lovingly adorned with ordinary or extraordinary floral stuff, which is very pleasing.
Sometimes with real or simulated historical remains or icons of local industry or folklore.
I think I shall have to start a collection of photographs on this topic…

Leaving Commercy (in the Meuse, which never sounds like a good thing to be in) recently, we were surprised to see a very original roundabout.
Not decorated, as might have been expected, with giant Madeleines (Commercy is the home of the madeleines referred to by Marcel Proust in "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu".) but with big blue cows.
And inexplicable wavy red lines.
And cascades.
And canon balls.

Back home, I have discovered that it is the 1999 creation of eccentric-looking artist/sculptor Patrick Hervelin.
And that it is called "Les Trois Godelles" (Godelle apparently being local dialect for cow).
But I still have no idea of the significance of any or all of it.
Definitely not boring, anyway.

Parting thot: "Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." - Frank Zappa

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