December 17, 2010

La Prison de Loos

On our drives in to school, Vincent always points out when we pass by a prison. There are two on our way to school, and he always tells me whether it’s the new prison or the old one. The first time this happened, it led to a conversation about prison conditions, such as overcrowding and other problems similar between France's and California's prison system.

Since then, I’ve been wondering why he continues to point them out to me, but today I finally learned something new.

When we passed by the “old” prison Vincent notified me comme d’habitude (as usual).

The old prison.
(photo from wikipedia)

“Oui, c’est beau avec toute la neige,” (yeah it’s pretty with all the snow) I commented back.

“Est-ce que tu sais que c’est un ancien monastaire?” (Did you know it’s an old monastery?) he asked me.

“Ah bon? Je ne savais pas.” (Oh really? I had no idea).

“Oui. Pendant la revolution on a mis les moines dehors, et maintenant c’est un prison.” (Yeah, during the revolution we kicked out all the monks, and now it’s used as a prison).

The prison back when it was an abbey during it's glory days (circa 1790).

There are no prisons in California that were built for anything but to be a prison. France is so full of history and sometimes I wonder if the French even realize it. Even if you commit a crime and have to go to jail, you get to live in a beautiful historical building. Even when you are removed from society for doing a terrible (or not so terrible) deed, you continue to be a part of it. You get to live in an old monastery.

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