Razac d'Eymet is in many ways, a typical French village in the Dordogne – or Department 24. It has a Marie, a church – seldom used and a burnt chateau. The nearest baker is 4km away and the bar has long since closed. So what is so good about it? It is full of characters and little quirks that make it interesting.
One of the quirks is the church bells. If you wake early enough you will hear one (of three) ringing of the church bell. This is done mechanically so don't expect to see a bell ringer! This is the 7 am bell. If you listen carefully you will hear 4 sets of bell, each staring seconds after the previous one. They are, in order, the bells of St. Aubin de Cadelech, Razac, Monguyard and Fonroque. I don't know if there is a reason for the time delay between each bell but it is the only time I hear 4 sets of bells so I know it is 7am.
At 8am you can hear a bell from St Aubin faintly in the distance. Our other bells are at noon and 7 pm. Why only 3 bells? It is because this is a farming area and these times are important to a farmer. I think of them like factory hooters, the 7am is the get up and go to work bell, the noon bell is the stop for lunch bell and the7 pm bell is the go home bell. The later is often ignored in the summer when you see farmers working late into the evenings getting in the harvests.
Each year there is a 2 day village fete which is always held on the weekend after the 15th August (which is a bank holiday). There is usually a boules competition which is open to all comers and Chris, my husband and a British friend came runner up one year.
On one of the evenings of the fete, there is a village meal which is usually chicken cooked in a pot. This meal is great as it consists of at least 4 courses and includes wine and bread. Everyone takes their own crockery, cutlery and wine glasses so there is no groups of ladies doing the washing up – you take it home with you and do it there! There is usually music at the meal and a firework display at about 11. It is a great place to mix with your French neighbours and practice your French.
Fridays is another time that some of the villagers meet especially in the summer. On most Friday evenings, we get a Pizza van in the village. Many of us take picnic tables and chairs to the play area by the school and eat pizza, drink wine and chat.
So if you stay in Razac, you have things to do and if you want to, just observe the rhythms of a typical French village.