Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Feyzin les Razes on the number 60 bus

Feyzin les Razes (an old postcard)
It was 3:30 in the afternoon and it was very sunny outside, albeit a little cold, so I decided to take the number 60 bus from my stop near the city centre this afternoon and continue on out to the end of the line, which is Feyzin les Razes, a small community on the outer limits of the city. It is 25 kilometres from my apartment and the trip takes 45 minutes.

Feyzin les Razes is a small neighbourhood on the outskirts of Feyzin, a community that has existed since its 11th century beginnings as a hamlet. The hamlet developed into a village, and the village began to expand in the early 1800's when industries were set up there. Modern-day Feyzin is synonymous with the chemical production factories that employ many of its inhabitants as well as the enormous Feyzin petrol refinery.

So, off we go to the end of the 60 line. The first site of note I see on my way out is a football stadium, that of l'Olympique Lyonnaise, one of the biggest clubs in France. Am I a fan? No. I come from Liverpool and as such would be hung from the nearest lampost if I ever went home and said I supported anyone else but Liverpool or Everton. I'm a Liverpool fan as it happens. But I digress....

After that the bus heads out into what were previously uncharted waters for me, the vast industrial estate on the South-West of the city that is a major employer in Lyon and the surrounding region. Here's the entry to a construction materials factory. It belongs to Lafarge, the biggest conglomerate in the world in its sector.

Lord knows what happens here. Is it a factory? Is it art? Is it place where cranes can have fun painting symmetrical patterns in the sky and building new buildings?

Wow!! I'm in an urban transport bus rolling through the countryside for a few kilometres!

Here we are in Feyzin les Razes. End of the line. And what's the first thing I see? This. It's an ominous-looking tower of steel and tubes and pipes that does god-knows-what at the petrol refinery that is a major symbol here. One of the biggest industrial accidents in France's history occurred at this refinery in the Sixties, when the reservoirs exploded, killing and injuring dozens of people.

The bus stop at the end of the line is next to a car park, in the middle of which is a bandstand. Constructed many years ago, it sits there patiently, waiting for those warmer days when the car park will be closed to cars and turned over to the local people for their local brass band concerts, flea markets and other activities.

Ah. A bar. I like bars, although this one looks rather uninviting. And is it even open? It turns out that it is so I go in and order a beer and talk to the barmaid, who says "You came here to take pictures of this place? But there's nothing here to see!"

Incidentally - and I may be wrong - but it seems to me that the old photo below may well have been taken from more or less the same spot as I was standing at when I took the photo above.

Here's the central square. Lots of greenery, kids playing in the playpark, few people around. It's quiet and peaceful, like in a village. That makes a change from where I live that's for sure!

Here's a familair site in small French communities, a memorial to those resistants who fell during the Second World War.....

But life goes on, new generations are born, and they need to be able to expend their youthful energy. Just yards from the memorial, and perhaps fittingly, is a basketball court. Those two young men in there are a part of this community, and they are also its future.

So there you have it. That's Feyzin les Razes, a place that nobody would normally go to unless they had a very pressing reason to or unless they lived there. Nondescript? Banal? Ugly? Uninspiring?

Call it what you like, but it exists, I was there, and I am pleased that I went to the end of the line.


(The old postcard photos here came from this French blog on Feyzin, which contains a lot more of them.)

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