Sunday, February 10, 2008

Change on la Rue Béteille

I think you've already picked up the feel for today's post. No scenic wonders -- although you will get a glimpse of Notre Dame de Rodez before the end, I promise.

This morning's subject is la Rue Béteille. Unless you're a Ruthénois/e or know Rodez well, the street means nothing to you.

But to those of us who drive up it constantly, the name conjures up immediate imagery: sooty buildings that have endured decades of traffic, including trucks before the days of la Rocade, the small ring road that allows vehicles to go around Rodez rather than over and through it; a depressing number of shut-down shops; a pervasive sense of gloom.

And to think all of this is changing as I write! I had better start getting out of my car on this street, as I did Friday afternoon, and fast.

Imagine: in thirteen years of driving up la Rue Béteille I had never noticed the former Midi Libre office above.

And it's a good thing I caught it yesterday, because it's on the very lower left of something big that's going on here:

Lest anyone misinterpret me, I'm not criticizing. I don't think a lot of passers-by will miss places like the Midi Libre plus dumpster cranny, nor this forlorn former barber shop:

La Rue Béteille is indeed in desperate need of a facelift, and I'm not sure there's much room for either of the above storefronts in the process.

After all, the street leads directly to the historic town center, and as such is a kind of gateway to scenic Rodez. I've often joked that it's a good thing it's one-way because visitors might be tempted to turn back -- as I was the first time I drove up it in 1995, knowing that the Rodez area would be my new home.

Yet it presents a few hidden treasures that I had better snap before it's too late. Sure, some are of interest only to weirdos (like me) who feel overwhelming urges to stick their noses against windows of abandoned structures, or even find a way to get into them.

Others, like this door, present a true sense of mystery:

I'm glad I captured it yesterday, because here's how it fits into the big picture:

I have a feeling it's not long for this world.


Vienna for Beginners said...

What a find, I shall be back often.
Now I know where I should have put my previous comment. ;-)
I will be back! :-)

La Belette Rouge said...

Your posts have featured a lot of change and construction lately. There's this post and the tractor (loved that picture). Are you in a mood of renovation? ;-)

Betty C. said...

Belette -- Rodez is going through a major period of renovation and reconstruction, the biggest since the early 90s (before we lived there.) So since the blog is about Aveyron but ends up being mainly about Rodez (because that is practically the only place I ever go), change is a big theme these days, true.

Randal Graves said...

Think of your snapping photographs as documenting the passage of time, a frozen moment, the ephemeral captured. In the grand scheme of things, important? Perhaps not, but we are a sum of those seemingly insignificant things. Plus you'll never know what you'll come across!

Jann said...

I loved the picture of that door~And I would hope it is still standing! I don't mind a little renovation when needed.. but... love the idea of more restorations-there is so much that traveled through this door! You and I would do well together with our trusty cameras off the beaten paths and retaining a little of the past in our photo albums.

Cécy said...

It's going to be interesting to see how this street evolves. You'll have to do some updates on it. I do love that door too.

Betty C. said...

Randal -- That's exactly how I feel about what I'm doing on FP. I sure wish all this had existed when I moved here 13 years ago! I'm sure a lot of gems have disappeared since that time.

Cécy and Jann -- This is a part of a major street upgrade, so I will be trying to update from time to time. I just noticed them gutting -- but keeping -- one of the huge, old buildings across the way from where I took pictures. I'm glad there's going to be more light in the day now!

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Great pictorial! I can only imagine what it will look like after they are done...

Betty C. said...

CC -There's a lot more where this comes from, and on this very street. I had better start clicking away now while the weather is nice...although gloomy weather would give a certain feel to the street too.

KarmaGirl said...

Found your blog by hitting the "Next Blog" button...coincidentally it brought me to your site. As an Olympia native myself (who ended up in California), I enjoyed reading your posts...but especially, I love your Wordless Wednesdays. I'm a student photographer and found the eclectic collection of photos fun to look through. I'm sure I'll be visiting again...

All the best!

My Inner French Girl said...

Dear Betty,

This is a great photo montage. It really offers an insightful slice of life in Rodez, not to mention of your own life! Merci for sharing these views of your home.

I love doors, by the way. I take photos of unusual ones when I travel. The double doors in the last photos are indeed very intriguing!


Anonymous said...

(a bit off topic here)
Looking at the first photo, I wonder how the garbage system works. Now I know that there are recycling areas at strategic locations (I remember taking recycling bags to the end of the street when I was there last), but I wonder how the garbage system works. Part of the tax? or Pay privately? Just curious. Seems like a silly question, but I am too stubborn to close the window and not post.

Betty C. said...

No problem, Colleen, I'm delighted to talk about garbage. The garbage collection system is part of the "taxes d'habitation," basically the local taxes. It's all a lump sum, but you do see on the detail of the taxes how much of your payment is going to "les ordures ménagères."