Any solutions to the bells?

Having moved from a village where the church bells stopped each night after 10pm until 7am, our current village's clock continues through the night, ringing twice on the hour and one on the half-hour. Guests complain - particularly in summer despite the ear plugs. Shortly we shall be having our new granddaughter to visit and I fear sleepless nights for us all but particularly her parents! We are told in response to the last complaint, the counseil voted and the bell stoppers lost out by one vote! (I question how many of the conseil live within full sound of the bells?) Does anyone know of any noise legislation that could help us persuade the mayor? Has anyone successfully got the bells stopped overnight and if so, how? We are in dept 66 Pyrannees Orientales so particularly in summer all windows need to be open! Many thanks

I like what Brian said. I'd try to make it an opportunity to create a small local group for the 'heberegement' industry. If you all get together over this, you might find you all can share information and swap ideas in other ways. Networking is definitely the key

Jane, click on Useful Links and at the bottom of the Legal Help page you will find a link to the law on noise pollution.

Not suggesting you go the legal route but it will give you an idea of what is and isn't possible.

It's an issue that crops up regularly in the news. When it's not the bells it's the neighbour's cockerel or barking dogs. In one case not too long ago a gite owner actually managed to persuade the authorities to order a neighbouring farmer not to put his cows in the field next to the gite even though the field belonged to him and he'd always put his cows there. The problem was that some of the cows had bells and clients complained about the noise. Personally I think that was an outrageous decision but it does illustrate what some courts will accept as noise pollution.

I say I say I say, She was only the bellringers daughter but everyone tolled her...

I think this is the best advice. You do not know what people really think until you ask them. You may uncover a silent majority.


I live just across the road from the River Vienne which is quite fast flowing here; The noise takes some getting used to especially as I am quite high up. The noise i'm used to but the constant urge to urinate with the ever running waters never seems to go away !!! Isn't it called Suggestive Psychology or something ?

Irony has got the better of me and made me think that Bruce has it.

As it is a bit cooler today I thought I would do some very urgent garden chores. I heard the village church bell at five past the hour as always, albeit it is a bit over 1km as the crow flies. It chimes every five past, 24 hours a day. It reminded me of where I lived at the heart of, in deed in the building that was once literally the heart of, a small English village for a few months over 30 years. Our kitchen window overlooked the church yard, straight into the church porch under the bell tower. Above that was the main bedroom with the guest room beside it, slightly close to the bell tower. Allowing for slights of memory, the bells would have been no more than 80m away. They chimed 24 hours a day. I do not remember them having disturbed us or any guests commenting. I was also a councillor for 15 years and never heard any kind of complaint or comment.

Conclusion: we get used to these things and eventually cannot remember them ever having been a nuisance.

I’m not sure that that is the main concern. Residents can get used to background noises but short term paying guests don’t and if they have a disturbed holiday they are unlikely to return or recommend the place to others.

Local politics and incomers do not mix. Are the people whose family are old establishment liked or disliked by the majority though? Rivalries and tensions run deep. Hegemonies are not as permanent as people imagine either because of human mortality, however I doubt you really want to wait until the present lot are 'extant'. You need to use the method local people tend to use. Find as many people as possible who are disturbed by the bells, put together a collective demand to the local council. Post copies of it publicly yourselves since a) it is not unknown for mairies/maires to make a decision via the closest bin rather than as an agenda item at their meeting, b) there may be others who are reluctant to speak out until they see others doing so, c) it will also make it an item of local 'gossip' and the truth is that such discussions are often the key to power and d) nothing ventured, nothing gained. Whatever you do, avoid simply being pointed out as irritating foreigners who are trying to change local things.

Don't's like living near Heathrow or the M1; after 2 or 3 years you stop hearing it.

Oh that we could!

We never thought to check as we were moving from a village where the bells stop between 10 pm and 6am! Interestingly the key chambre d’hôtel in the village run by the family who have been here since 14 century, have approached us because they are loosing business due to the bells! They have tried approaching the Marie explaining the business difficulties which is when the vote was taken - and lost. I fear this is more to do with village politics!!

I guess the bells were ringing through the night before you moved into the village...

Fire Quasimodo!