Auffay and nearby

 Dieppe main views


Rouen Cathedral

 Dieppe Xmas 2005


 Dieppe - introduction

A small town, 2 hours from Paris, in the heart of Seine-Maritime, between Dieppe and Rouen. In this cafe (interior atmos recording), you hear the TV broadcasting horse-racing, and there were 8 customers (male), joined midway by two women. When the door opens, you can hear some traffic from outside. The young guy in charge of the bar does a lot of the talking. The cafe is on the main square, dominated by the church. The cafe is called 'The Jaquemarts' after the famous two figures on the church (see below).

This church is famous for the clock with two carved figures on it, who tell the hours - 'The Jaquemarts'. (Photo below). They are on the south side of the church, onto the square.

Tradition has it that two townsmen, Paquet Rivière et Houzou Bénard, were condemned by the bishop for mocking the Virgin. Afterwards, transformed into wooden automaton sculptures, named 'The Jaquemarts', they tell the quarters of the hours, nodding their heads, and knocking on the bells with an extended hammer. These are relatively modern replacements of the 17C originals (first mentioned in 1691). The Great Clock at Auffay was restructured in 1962.

Why the names and why are they there? They seem to be two Protestants who insulted the Catholic religion, and were condemned for ever to sound the time, and they had to pay for the clock as a fine. (There are similar cases - the clock at St. Francois at Le Havre due to a similar fine, and the paving in front of the Church of St Remy in Dieppe. In this latter case, a Protestent gentleman, M. de Crevecoeur, crossed a religious procession and did not take off his cap.)

The original statues and the tower were destroyed in a fire in 1867. The restoration ensured that the two amusing figures and their popular names, Paquet Rivière et Houzou Bénard, reappeared. Tradition also says that the originals were constructed by the Devil or by a sorcerer (as also the famous clocks in Lyon and Strasbourg.)




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