French town changes name to avoid confusion with Belgian namesake
Thursday, 16 October 2014
“Good morning, I am struggling to find number 107 rue de Tourbaix in Templeuve.” “Are you sure you don’t mean Templeuve in Belgium?” To put an end to this sort of confusion with their northern neighbour the mayor of Templeuve in the north of France has decided to change the name of his town. Templeuve in France has 6,000 inhabitants, red-brick houses and fields all around. Templeuve in Belgium has 4,000 inhabitants, red-brick houses and fields all around. 20 kilometres separate the towns which spell their names exactly the same.
“You wouldn’t believe how many stories there are of people getting it wrong”, says Luc Monnet, the mayor of this prosperous town close to Lille airport. “Just 2 weeks ago, a women’s basketball game between Villeneuve-d’Ascq and Charleville-Mézières (two northern French cities) had to be delayed because one of the star players ended up in Templeuve in Belgium.”
So on October 2 all 29 town councillors voted in favour of changing the name of their town, which will now be known as Templeuve-en-Pévèle. “We are actually going back to our roots, as until 1838 this was really the name of our town, and we’ve never really understood why the ‘en-Pévèle’ disappeared from official records after that date”, explains Alain Plateaux, a member of the Historical Society of Pévèle, a province counting around 70 villages in both France and Belgium.