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Old February 19th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #1
GM
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Portrait of a French town : Paimboeuf (pop. : 3,093)

The little big town of Paimboeuf is located in western France, in the Loire-Atlantique department, on the south shores of the Loire's estuary.
Its population was of 3,093 inhabitants in 2007. It peaked back in the 18th century (1793 : 4,509, even though it was probably even more populated before, but it doesn't exist earlier stats than those of 1793) and reached its low point in 1896 (pop. : 2,134).
Paimboeuf has a very little municipal area, even for French standards, with only 2 km² (or 0.77 sq mi). Thus the density is pretty high : 1,527 inh./km2 (3,950 inh./sq mi).

Paimboeuf, now, is a very little town, but it used to be (back in the 18th century and early 19th century) a much more important city and one of the big ports of France. It was actually the outer harbour of Nantes before being replaced by Saint-Nazaire in this role.

I find Paimboeuf very interesting because, despite its very small size, the town contains all sort of urban landscapes : an old centre with some grand buildings, some charming streets, decaying buildings, industrial areas, housing projects, and, of course, the typical suburbia.

The pics were taken on last monday, by an usual cold and rainy winter day, and last thursday, by a stunningly warm and sunny winter day.
So, here is Paimboeuf :

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2- The Loire and the quay :


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7- On the horizon towards east, the tall chimneys (220m) of the Cordemais' power station, the biggest coal power plant of France :


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18- On the other side of the river, we can see the oil refinery of Donges (the second one in France, behind the one in Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseilles) :


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20- The town's hospital :


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23- The back of the massive neo-byzantine catholic church of Paimboeuf :


24- The front of the church :


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26- Western France is still very catholic... there are tons of Chrisitan monuments like this all over the countryside and in the small towns :


27- The "monument aux morts", in memory of all the soldiers from Paimboeuf fallen for France during WWI and WWII. These kind of memorial statues are found all over France, in each town and city. We can see on this one 4 names for the WWII, and 53 for the WWI :


28- The elementary school of Paimboeuf. There are also a middle school and a "professionnal highschool" in Paimboeuf.


29-The courtyard of the school :


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31- The firefighters station of Paimboeuf :


32- The "Gendarmerie Nationale" station of Paimboeuf (Gendarmerie is kind of like a military police. Its role is the same than the police but it patrols exclusively the rural areas and the little towns) :


33- The old town hall :


34- "Little Saïgon", a vietnamese restaurant :


35- Some buildings are rather decayed :


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37bis- The old post office :


38- The old abandonned art deco theatre of Paimboeuf :


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40- Judging by the movie posters and pictures still on the front of the building, the last movies showed at this theatre were "Amadeus" and "Les Ripoux". Both two great success at the French box-office... back in 1984 !


41- Another closed shop :


42- Playing "pétanque" :


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46- Over the rainbow :


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48- A strange mosaïc in a dark alley of the town :


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50- A "Beluga" flying over the Donges' refinery. Belugas are very big planes used to transport the different pieces of airbus planes between the differents building sites. There are several Airbus plants in the Loire's estuary area, so it's a common sight.


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52- On the horizon towards west, we can see the long Saint-Nazaire bridge, where the Loire river meets the Atlantic Ocean. Saint-Nazaire is world-wide known for its shipbuilding industry, especially in the domain of the cruise ships (such as the Queen Mary II) :


53- There is something burning on the other side :


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56- Big tankers on the other side of the river. The port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire is the fourth port of France (behind Marseilles, Le Havre and Dunkirk) :


57- An angry pink teddy bear is looking at me !


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62- The alley leading to the cemetery :


63- The water tower, highest structure of Paimboeuf :


64- Towards the outskirts of the town, typical 1950's-1970's houses :


65- Then the little housing projects of Paimboeuf :


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68- The abandonned train station of Paimboeuf. The train station was used for passengers until 1939, then the trafic was closed to passengers and the train line used only for the local industries. It definitevely closed some years ago in 1998 :


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71- The "suburbia"... most of the French people in western France now live in this kind of neighborhood :


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75- New houses being built :


76- The local supermarket (Super U is the most common retail chain in western France, particularly in the rural areas and in the little towns) :


77- New appartment blocks :


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That's all !

Last edited by GM; February 22nd, 2011 at 12:50 AM.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 06:34 AM   #2
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Peaceful.

Lovely town!!
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Old February 20th, 2011, 06:53 AM   #3
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WOW, just looking at this thread I am coming up with some idea of how western french towns look like. It has a mysterious feel to it that I find appealing.

The work is amazing, you did a great job showing the complete picture of Paimboeuf.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 11:21 AM   #4
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Really beautiful, very nice place
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