This aerial view shows the old layout of the place du Marché as it was up to September 2006, before the recently completed re-ordering. The layout seems bizarre now that we have become familiar with the newly changed space that removed the central crossing of tarmac streets to create the open spacious pedestrian square of today. One can see here how the old lime trees had 'a few teeth missing'.
In contrast to the other twin square, the place des Religieuses, the old layout of the place du Marché at least did not have a set of traffic lights at the intersection! The tyranny of the motor-car!
One of the more curious effects of the new layout however concerns the sense of size of these two identically-dimensioned squares. It is almost unbelievable that the as-yet-unchanged place des Religieuses and the place du marché are in fact the same size. It seems to the viewer as if the place du Marché dimensions are at least 50% bigger.
As the both the Cardinal and Archit. Lemercier meant the two squares to be conceptual and layout twins, 'one for the King and one for the Cardinal', we hope the Maire and Conseil Général of Indre-et-Loire will get a move on and change the other square to match the now ravishing place du Marché.
At present in the early days of spring 2008, we look forward to the first sight of green-leaved hornbeam trees ringing the new square layout. for the first time.
thanks to Marie-Pierre Terrien for the suggestion, and Jean-Louis Laurence for the aerial photo.