Sunday, July 23, 2017


Esprit de clocher

Here's a handy French term that encompasses the notions of both small-mindedness and local patriotism and accounts for village rivalries, village quarrels, and chauvinism. Esprit de clocher is an old expression used to express the idea that one's world view doesn't go beyond one's own village. In short, parochialism.

Despite its meaning, we're using as illustration for this term a photo of an elegant bell tower which is an architectural curiosity for its locality.  The tower's lead-covered dome, dating to the late 16th century and entirely restored, is of Spanish style, atypical to its French Brittany department, the Côtes-d'Armor. In addition, elements of the façade of this neo-Gothic church, l'Église Notre-Dame et Saint Mathurin in the village Moncontour, are borrowed from the Italian Renaissance style.   Moncontour is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.

un beffroi:  a belfry
un clocher:  a church tower, a bell tower, a steeple
une cloche:  a bell

©2017 P.B. Lecron

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