Saturday, 1 September 2012

Belfries in northern France

The Town Hall and belfry in Boulogne sur Mer on a postcard dating, I think, from the 1950s.  Maybe someone who knows more about cars than I do can make a more accurate guess.

The Calais Town Hall with its belfry, along with the Burghers of Calais and the lighthouse.  Another unused card which this time probably dates from the late 1960s.

This time I know the date precisely because I sent it to myself last month.  It shows eight of the belfries in the Nord Pas de Calais region of France.

In northern France and Belgium there are many similar belfries, symbols of the power of the alderman rather than the church through bell-towers or the lords of the manor through castle keeps.  They were symbols of the wealth of a town but often they were watch towers too.  Some of the architecture was really quite unusual.

56 of these towers are listed as a group by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.  The Belgian belfries were listed in 1999 with the French ones added in 2005.

The fact that there are clocks on the towers allows me to tie in fairly loosely with this week's Sepia Saturday theme.

A click on the button will take you to the Sepia Saturday blog.
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  1. I think that you are right on theme ... what a great take on the prompt photo. I enjoyed the lovely tour. I don't know that much about cars, but those strike me as being made in the 40's.

    Kathy M.

  2. I agree with Kathy about the cars being from the 40s rather than 50s. I too enjoyed the tower tour. The varied architecture is really intriguing.

  3. On the first picture I think I see one or two Renaults 4CV and two Peugeots 203. Production of those cars started in 1947 and 1949 respectively. So the 50's is certainly not impossible, if my eyesight doesn't let me down...
    To me it's kind of funny that the French call these clocks "horloges". A "horloge" in Dutch is a wristwatch.

  4. I hesitate to say this but....were there any bats?

  5. I'll admit I had thought about the bats as well, great cards.

  6. I think a book that shows styles of cars, hats, dresses, and shoes over the years would be so helpful in dating old photos and postcards.
    Now I'm curious about the bats too.

  7. I know that one at Dunkerque as I spent a month there in the 1960s at the Dunkerque steelworks.


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