In Cormeilles-en-Parisis (Val-d'Oise), the sounds of bells divide the inhabitants

In Cormeilles-en-Parisis (Val-d’Oise), the sounds of bells divide the inhabitants

In this town of Val-d’Oise, the church of Christ the King recently found its bell tower, after fifteen years of silence. If the faithful rejoice, other residents complain.

An Angelus too early

Also, Estelle Soisson, a fifty-year-old with a friendly smile, was delighted when she saw the images of the inauguration of the bell tower passing by: her sons even received baptism and communion in this church. But here she was woken up the following weekend at 8 a.m. by the sound of the Angelus! She is disillusioned. “I work a lot during the week, I need to rest on Saturdays and Sundays. We have to find a happy medium,” asks this marketing director who goes several times a week to her office in La Défense, an hour and a half drive away, traffic jams included. The sound of the bells exacerbates the noise pollution that she complains about. Every day, nearly four hundred airliners fly over the town, which is also crossed by an SNCF line. “I live next to the railway but I hear the bells more than the trains! » she laments.

Controversy is part of every conversation in Cormeilles-en-Parisis and everyone has their own comment. A few miles away, Christian, a sixty-year-old with a weathered face, does not seem bothered by the sounds of the bell. “Because you’re deaf!” » teased a city agent while collecting the waste. The exchange makes Yannis Hazene, salesman at the local convenience store, laugh: “People often talk to me about it at the checkout to complain about people who complain. » Like Itel-Vina Djetho, who does not hesitate to show the breathtaking view of the bell tower from his balcony. “It brings life!” » enthuses this faithful Catholic, who, in her native village, grew up near a church. “I hope that the bell is not taken away from us, otherwise I am ready to demonstrate! » she reacts.

The silence of the town hall

What the law says ? Since the separation of Church and State in 1905, these ringtones have been set by municipal decree. The Ile-de-France town hall, which authorized the ringing of bells, remains discreet on the subject. If she refused to respond to our requests, she also did not choose to put the dispute on the agenda of this winter’s municipal councils.

Far from being futile, this reason for quarrel reflects the evolution of our times. Formerly a small town surrounded by fields, the town quickly transformed. In five decades, it is more urban with a population which has largely doubled, reaching almost 26,800 inhabitants in 2021. And the dormitory town continues to develop. Below the Church of Christ the King, residents will soon benefit from a cinema, a bowling alley, a sports complex, etc.

In the meantime, Father Jean-Eudes tries to find common ground. He does not hesitate to be educational with those who resist, explaining the “tradition” of ringing bells. He specifies: “The community that comes together prays for the city. » Faced with repeated protests, the priest has, however, accepted several compromises, including the suppression of the morning Angelus on weekends. “It’s like a new neighbor, you have to live with it and arrange for it to find its place,” he pleads. Hoping for the end of this parochial quarrel.

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