21st November 2008

I have often written about the many differences between urban life in the UK and rural life here in France. Noise is a case in point. None of us wants to live in a silent vacuum, but the excesses of modern-day living can reach crisis proportions to our hearing. Living in a major, busy city has consequences for all residents, from the early-morning roadworks just outside your door, to the intense decibels of that disco you attend Friday nights, or even your own alarm clock reverberating inches from your ear every single working day. It's time to stop. There are things you can do about it.
Now, the French know a thing or two about noise. For a start, they fit wooden shutters either side of every window and door. Once shut and locked at night, as well as providing perfect security, they also effectively block out insidious outside noises - like that early-morning cockerel next door! And your alarm clock? Instead of setting it to heart-attack country, use a CD model and set it to play a Chopin nocturne to lull you gently awake. And in the daytime? How to deal with that noisy dog chained up outside? In France you can apply to www.bruit.fr , who act as mediators in local neighbour disputes involving noise. If all else fails, you can even contact your local Mairie who have powers to intervene.
Voila! Problem solved. Your hearing is precious: do all you can to cut down noise levels in your own personal space.

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