Saturday, 23 July 2011

I am lost!

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Everybody who has travelled in France knows the most common French road types; N for Route Nationale, A for Autoroute (often toll roads) and D for Route Départementale. Not difficult to figure those ones out. Not so common are the Routes or Voies Communales, often small roads, managed by the Communes themselves. The C-roads are generally indicated on detailed maps, like the Michelin road maps or the detailed IGN-maps; for obvious reasons the road numbers are often omitted on those maps. They are however certainly mentioned on the Cadastre maps. As an example: our house is located on the side of a path called “Chemin de desserte” (connecting path) between another path, called Chemin rural dit de Coureau (the name of a farm and a brook at the end of the path) and the “main” road between Bois Dernier and Chazeux through Chazelle, the Voie Communale no. 3 de Bois Dernier à Chazeux. Needless to say, that a sign indicating C3 is nowhere to be found.
On one of our trips through the neighbourhood we stumbled upon an old road sign. Since I like those archaic things, we stopped to take some pictures. The sign displayed a type of road I had never heard of, a Chemin vicinale ordinaire, indicated on another sign as V1. The dictionary gives for Chemin vicinale as meaning local road, byroad. I have not been able to trace back the age of the sign, but given the state of the sign and the rarity of it, it would not surprise me if they go back to the time before the war. Cormatin, as far as I know, has only one sign like this, Cluny has a few more. They are normally fixed on the walls of houses at street sign height, often on a street corner.

In the more recent system the road has been rechristened as C1, which is shown on a road sign opposite the former one. Funnily enough, the spelling of the place names does not give much of a hint to the age either. On the old signs the place is called Rimont; on the (possibly) newer sign it says Rimond, and on another, brand new sign the place name is back to where it started: Rimont!
Still anybody there who can follow me?

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