Roundabout shock in France

The title of this post might conjure up images of the usual roundabout shock in France — someone actually using an indicator at some point. However, my roundabout shock a few days ago didn’t relate to cars at roundabouts at all. The St Jean de Sixt roundabout has changed. It’s become boring. Can you spot what’s missing? Here’s an ‘after’ shot:
St Jean roundabout May 2010

Can you see what’s gone? The hut has vanished. I walked past the other day and noticed a man on the roundabout next to some planks of wood that were once the hut. It’s a shock but not just because the hut has gone. The reasons behind it are rather more depressing. But first, let’s reminisce.
St Jean roundabout summer 2009
St Jean roundabout April 2010Now here is a photo of the roundabout last summer when we had some historical French figures in traditional attire gracing the roundabout. Some garden fence had been placed at the front to make it that extra bit more homely. Without the hut, what use would these mannequins have been, just hanging around on a roundabout? The hut made it.

And just last month, we had the ski instructors in various shapes and forms to celebrate the massive meeting of French Ski School ski instructors. The roundabout was literally the talk of the town…well, amongst my friends anyway. What’s not to love about a white plastic ski slope and some ski instructors complete with goggles and hats and everything else gracing the roundabout?

So, this is all hearsay, but I’ve heard that the hut was removed because the man who puts the mannequins up is no longer allowed to. Apparently, it’s against health and safety for him to continue, so he’s been told he can no longer do this. I guess there’s no point in having the hut without the figures, or perhaps there are new plans ahead for the roundabout. What I find sad is that in a country where health and safety is sometimes alarmingly amiss (who needs a fire staircase on a wooden chalet?), it’s struck at surely the dumbest area possible. Okay, the guy could get run over or cause an accident if he drops one of his mannequins while he’s crossing to the roundabout, but it seems to me that far riskier health and safety issues remain unaddressed. I’m sure it’s for everyone’s good, but I can’t help wondering how less joyful my days will be without the surprise of what the roundabout holds from week to week. RIP St Jean de Sixt roundabout goodness. I miss you already.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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4 comments on “Roundabout shock in France
  1. Richard says:

    This is a tragedy.

  2. How sad! I absolutely HATE it when stupid things are done supposedly in the name of Health & Safety. We’re all being treated like babies, how did our Grandparents ever survive?

    Could this possibily be a local political spat (so common in France), where maybe the man who has the mannequins annoyed soneone at La Mairie and they have fallen out thus resulting in him having to take everything down?

    Either way, its such a shame, I hope you get a good roundaabout back.

  3. Dawn says:

    this is a real shame ! every time we come back to our apartment in La Clusaz the roundabouts are one of the things we look forward to seeing, especially the one at St Jean. Bloody health & safety, there is a lot more things more dangerous than looking at the roundabouts whilst driving passed at 10 mph. The roundabout in La Clusaz with the hut on it, is one of the things that caught my eye whilst touring in France on my motorbike, i can remember asking my husband to turn around and lets go and have a coffee as it looked a like a lovely village ” did you see the shed on roundabout! with all the lovely flowers ” was my first quetion to him.The next year we were fortunate to be in a position to go back and purchase in studio apartment and love the place. If they came to England they would see our roundabouts were very boring ! Sorry to rattle on but i think the roundabouts are very important to the look of the villages in France. Adds character

  4. April says:

    So, I’ve since heard that it might be related to Mr Mannequin-owner’s house having a fire and the possibility that the mannequins were burnt. None of this is confirmed but I will research further. Either reason is very sad. The roundabouts really do add to the pleasure of life in France.

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