Mariage / Weddings and Santiago de Compostela – Lalinde 24150

Living directly across the road from St Peter’s / St Pierre-ès-Lien our local Lalinde church we share the pulse of the community with christening /baptêmes, weddings / mariage and of course funerals / funérailles. The bells peel out the occasion with a surprising variation of tones and rhythm. France shares the issue of declining church attendance, but from our perspective, the moral and christian values of the community are still very intact and the church still plays a very important part of life of our local community. The Dordogne has long been one of the many pathways (The Way to St James) to Santiago de Compostella on the NE coast of Spain to the Church that houses the remains of St James, one of the disciples of Jesus. Millions of people have made their pilgrimage since the beginning of the 9th Century when the tomb was discovered and today many 1000’s of people still walk the trail, the most common trail beginning at St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrennes mountain range which stadles France and Spain. Our surrounding villages of Cadouin, Tremolat and Paunat have large and magnificent old churchs / abbys that housed and welcomed the weary traveller. It’s only in the 1930’s that Cadouin gave up their claim to having the death shroud of Jesus Christ in their possession, Cadouin ( and many other villages throughout the Christan world ) had claimed the ownership of the shroud which brought many devotees and donations to their church. The Turin Shroud presently held by the Vatican appears to be the only shroud with some written history being mentioned in the initiation of some of the Knight Templars in the 11th and 12th century. Spring and Summer is wedding time in France, probably based on rural tradition, we often have 2 or 3 weddings on a Saturday. In France, the only legal marriage is performed by the Mayor’s Office ( Le Mairie ), a church wedding has no legal standing, but is still a desire of many young couples after they are married at the Mairie. One of the delightful traditions is for the wedding party and their guests to drive around the area and village with their cars decorated, horns blaring and make a general racket. One car will be heavily decorated with old brooms, tin cans, perhaps a couple of stuffed ” guys” and a wide variety of other memorabilia, the enclosed photos will give you some idea ! Our weddings range from a simple arrival on an ox and cart, to full limousine service with morning suits and high fashion. For foreigners to get married in France, it takes a fair amount of preparation. Notarised and translated documents including your parents wedding and birth certificates are compulsory and must be registered with the Bureau du Maire well before any wedding. If anyone reading our blog is considering this, look under AngloInfo Dordogne ( Google it ) and they have an area on their website which spells out the minimum requirements, it would certainly be a memorable occasion to be married in France !