Monday, June 17, 2013

Tati Town: Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre

A wide range of representations of Jacque Tati's loopy bicycling postman adorned shop windows and assorted signs in Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre where in 1947 he filmed the masterpiece "Jour de Fête."   The first was more than ten miles out of town, making sure anyone headed that way wouldn't miss the turn to the small town.

The small town didn't have any significant intersections meriting a round-about that could have been Tati-themed, so it had to settle for another sign at its entry.

The town plaza is home to a Tati statue, museum and movie theater, where the film plays several times a day.

A well-weathered plaque is at a corner of the plaza.

The paintings on shop windows were akin to the bicycle paintings in Tour Ville Ètapes.  

This wasn't the only shop with a for sale sign.  The tourist office had also been closed down.  There were so few people about, the town barely seemed inhabited.  Tait portrayed it as a bustling little burg.  Now it is more sleepy than alive.  I had no qualms about leaving my iPad plugged into an electrical outlet at the town cathedral, four blocks from the plaza, as I made a reconnaissance of all the Tati sights.

It had been relatively flat terrain from Tours to Sainte-Severe through the extended Loire Valley in the central part of the country.  The province of six dèpartements I was in is actually called Centre.   But then the road began climbing on to the fringe of the Massif Central.  The rest of my ride to Nice and the ferry to Corsica will hold plenty of climbing and descending.

I was caught by surprise last night by a two-mile climb to the large city of Thiers and then another eight miles of climbing through a gorge.  It had been hot enough during the day that I had been dousing myself whenever I came to a cemetery.  Only one of my four water bottles was filled as I reached the sprawl of Thiers.  I stopped at a MacDonalds to fill my empty bottles.  It's washroom was one of those that only dispensed hot water.  That was okay, as the water would cool down before I needed it, though it didn't need to cool down much to reach the temperature of the air.

After I exited the city the road was a succession of small towns with no space between for camping.  I had drunk one of my bottles and felt it wise to refill it. The only water fountains I saw had signs warning the water was not drinkable or was untreated.  After a hot day of riding I knew I would need all four of my water bottles.  I stopped at a bar to fill my empty, maybe the best thing I did all day, as the barman filled it with ice cold water from the bar tap, a blissful nectar that replenished my energy.  I was hungry and tired and getting desperate for a place to camp. At last, after ten miles of climbing, farm land appeared and I found a small cluster of trees to disappear into.  I was almost too exhausted to eat, though I knew I had to.

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