Thursday, January 9, 2014


Place Notre Dame
Place Notre Dame in the heart of medieval Villefranche de Rouergue is lined with beautiful old buildings and arcades.
Pedestrian and vehicle arcades line the Place
 It's the home of the Saint Martial Hospital built in 1348-49 during the Black Plague. It serves as the parvis for Collegiale Notre Dame church constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries.
Doors of the Notre Dame church opening onto Place Notre Dame

This large open space also hosts the weekly market drawing hundreds of local shoppers as well as tourists year 'round.
Thursday morning is market day in Villefranche
And the Place has been a place of confusion, construction, chaos and say you don't see it? Let's back the story up just a bit...

A committee decided that this big open space would be perfect for a fountain and secured the funding to build it...over 300,000 euros, in fact. Ground was broken in early April this year with the promise that all the construction would be completed by the time the hordes of summer tourists arrived.

This is what the Place looked like throughout the summer...
Photo courtesy of La Depeche
People were not happy...not the market vendors whose stalls were pushed into the tiny ruelles of the medieval town, not the local shoppers, and certainly not the tourists. The Place was a mess all summer. Our story has a happy ending, though. The work was completed in late November, and the fountain was inaugurated in style...
Photo courtesy La Depeche
Photo courtesy Aquaprism
You see...all the fountain workings are embedded within the cobblestone paving. When not in use, they disappear, leaving a flat, usable surface

Clever, huh?

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