Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Le guet

Lausanne suffered from many devastating medieval fires, and is the last city in Europe to keep alive the tradition of the nightwatch (le guet). Every night between 10pm and 2am, after the bells have struck the hour, you’can hear – and possibly spot – a sonorous-voiced civil servant calling out from all sides of the cathedral tower “C’est le guet; il a sonné l’heure” (“This is the nightwatch; the hour has struck”), assuring the lovers and assorted drunks sprawled under the trees that all is well. Having fulfilled his civic duty, he then retreats to a comfortable little room within the tower for the next 59 minutes. For some years past, this post has been filled by a cartoonist on Lausanne’s weekly L’Hebdo, who is reported as appreciating the four hours of peace and quiet this nice little earner brings him each night to concentrate on drawing his strips. As yet, though, he’s had no fires to report.


Post a Comment

<< Home