Angelus the Bells of Angels in Provence

Ginger and Nutmeg live close to the village church. When they first return to France it takes several days to get adjusted. Between the 8-hour time change and the village bells, there is no need to wear a watch.  The clock tower bells chime every hour, day and night. The number of rings at the top of the hour, indicate the time of day and a single chime designates the 30-minute mark.

Church Bells

Twice a day, there is an exception to that routine, at noon and 19:00. At these hours, the Angelus bells are rung in the church. Angelus is the Latin word for angel. The practice seems to surround biblical verse, and religious devotion Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ  “… the Angel of the Lord declared on to Mary.”

Church Bells

In the Catholic Church, the tradition revolved around the call to prayer three times a day, morning, midday and evening. The experts and historical writings seem to indicate that the Hail Mary was repeated three times followed by other prayers. However, the exact origins of this convention and even the precise prayers are ambiguous. What is certain is that the practice is deep-rooted and tethered to the church.

Church Bells

Regardless, of the historical details it is a lovely tradition and marker of the day’s passing. The ringing is quite distinct, commencing with this sequence of 18 rings:

Church Bells

  • one two three: – short pause
  • one two three:- short pause
  • one two three:- short pause
  • and then nine times

Actually, Nutmeg finds it difficult to count the total number of chimes.

Is it still a call to prayer?

Is it a request to return from the fields for dinner?


Is it a reminder that the apèro hour has started?

Do you know the answer? Please let Nutmeg know.

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