Sunday, 12 April 2009
Around much of rural France you see a large number of derelict or semi-derelict buildings as young people continue to move to larger towns and cities in search of work. They are no longer interested in rural or small town occupations. As a result the towns and villages have fewer amenities to offer, and the outward flow continues.
In the picture above you can see a typical old property, left to go into ruin. The situation may have been worsened by the French inheritance laws which insist that no property can be sold without the agreement of all offspring of the owner.
Judging by the stacks of roof tiles outside, this house is going to be renovated. Typically, this will be done by foreigners, or by Parisians looking for a holiday home. Some small towns are almost completely closed up during the winter months, when no visitors are there. Alternatively, houses for renovation are bought by British (mainly) people looking to make a new life in another country. There are some places where there are few French people left.
It's quite a problem. It must be preferable to have buildings maintained, but the influx of holiday home owners or non-French people does change the character of a place completely. It's not a problem confined to France. Parts of Wales and south west England have similar situations.
Go to Small Town Snapshot Sunday to join in and find more small town shots.