According to the Google information the GPS coordinates for my current town is latitude: 43.6833 and longitude: 5.7
The first number of city citizen is from the year of 1793 with 525 habitants. The newest number I can find is 973 registered habitants of 2008. So it’s a rather an old city which pictures or of course a physical walk of the town will tell you. In the past, the city was a port on the Durance (the local river) and played an essential role in the floating log trade and other goods which travelled the river enroute to the Rhône. At this time Saint Paul appeared to be at the end of the world, perched on its rocky outcrop, far from the main high-ways.
The city is located in the region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the “department” of Bouches-du-Rhòne. Approximately 80 kilometers from Marseilles and only 35 kilometers from Aix-en-Provence. So with no hesitation the city is located in a beautiful region surround by green and forest like hills or perhaps smaller mountains. The Alps is only around 100 kilometers away.
What is interesting in the surrounding is the river (Durance) that has this clear clean water. I don’t know about the fishing games in the area, because to be honest I haven’t seen a fisherman so far. So I am wondering if there is life in the river. Also the region has built a canal alongside the Durance, in some parts anyway. The canal goes thru several cities. I am still to find out what this canal is all about.
The region has changed both economically and socially since the Cadarache Centre for Nuclear Studies (http://www.cad.cea.fr/index_gb.php) has emerged. Employment and growth is logical consequences.
Fortunately the Cadarache Centre has not spoilt the superb country-side where visitors can enjoy long nature walks or even go fishing. The area is near the wonderful Gorges du Verdon and the Luberon Nature Park.
Back to the city. There is a “Shopping Mall” in town. I use shopping mall in lack of other words. There are 9 shops which is 3 kind of fast food restaurant, a butcher / restaurant, a bakery, a hairdresser, a grocery store and a wine store. All shops are closed on Mondays. In fact, it seems the shops opens and closes as they please. Just another sign it’s a small town we are talking about.
There is no local doctor instead the city offers phone numbers to nurses that are at assistance if necessary. Of course there is a fire department and ambulance service to take any patients to the nearest hospital, which is around 35 kilometers away in Aix-en-Provence or Manosque.
The city does not have a municipal but a kind of a “sub municipal” called “Mairie”. The mayor seems to be relaxed kind of fellow and do most of his business walking when outside the Mairie. The is a smaller square kind of place alongside the Mairie where the locals normally play pétanque on Sunday afternoons. One of the main roads in town (if I may say that) where I live you see the old Madame Marie walks up and down several times a day. She is as far as I know 95 years old. There is Jean-Pierre who is a common sight on the street at all hours. A kind of a city watch dog and also of age. There not that many teenagers which is due to the fact there is no schooling for children for around 12 years old. Must conclude that of the approximately thousand habitants most are elders and smaller kids.
There is almost no traffic. There is no major happenings in town. It’s a quiet place but close to beautiful old and really French cities like Aix-en-Provence and Manosque.
This is my city = Saint Paul Lez Durance.