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.