Row over how loud bells toll

Village faces five-figure bill if court rules church bells are ringing too loud

A row has pitted residents of a small rural French village and a second homeowner, who is demanding that the church bells are 'turned down'.

The church bells in Saint-Chartres, Vienne, have been sounding the Angelus three times a day, and have chimed the hours between 7am and 8pm for about 150 years, the local mayor said.

But a second homeowner in the village, who has a property near the church, has launched a legal challenge, claiming the bells breach noise-safety levels. He told broadcaster France 3: "At 7am when you have children and grandchildren, it's like war has been declared."

He said the volume of the bells is three times higher than permissible noise levels.

"I ask to reduce the sound intensity of the Angelus so that it is within the standards. I ask for the ringer to be removed every hour between 7am and 8 pm" he said.

Attempts at conciliation over several years have failed to find a solution, so now the matter has gone to the courts. The village faces a possible bill for €16,000 in damages and another €20,000 on work to change the bells if the court rules in favour of the claimant.

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