Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Modern Times

Do you know the song ‘Le Plat Pays’ by Jacques Brel? It pays tribute to ‘Les Flandres’, a region in the north west of Belgium where the Brel family originally came from. I even believe that some relatives of his are still living in the area.

One of the lines reads "avec des cathédrales comme uniques montagnes" (Where cathedrals are the only mountains). The region is very flat and the only silhouettes that stick out in the completely horizontal skyline are bell and church towers. Being close to the North Sea, the fields are often battered by raging winds.

If Jacques Brel had been French (sorry to disappoint those of you who assumed he was), he could have written a similar song about La Beauce, a windswept plain between Paris and Orleans. Here, however, Brel would not have sung about ‘cathedrals being the only mountains’, the Beauce’s skyline being dotted with old windmills. At least, that was until recently!

Last June we were struck by the way modern times have caught up with the region. We can only assume that the traditional wooden windmills that were used for grain-grinding, water pumping, etc are still there, as the landscape we drove through on our way to Amboise is now dominated by endless rows of wind turbines. According to an article on the internet, there are no less than 200 of these gigantic structures scattered over the area. And there are plans to build even more of them.

Personally, I think wind turbines are an excellent and nature friendly alternative to reduce the use of fossil fuels. But seeing these huge wind turbine parks overtaking the countryside and spoiling the view, made me, nevertheless, a little bit sad.



Anonymous said...

I the right place they look majestic in the wrong place, a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a well loved friend"


PS The quote is from Prince Charles and is always used in the UK press to ridicule him.

ladybird said...

GG: Very well put by Charles.