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four-a-chauxThe birth of a hamlet around an intersection

At the end of the 19th century, around 1880, a new neighbourhood emerged: The Lime Kiln. It is considered a lieu-dit "formed by a cluster of workers' houses due to the quarries and other industries". The Lime Kiln at first represented the housing zone along the Grasse road, and this location would later become the site of the future place Foch. Several names remind us still of the quarries and their prosperous exploitation that sparked the Lime Kiln's growth: boulevard du Perrier, rue des Roches... The only establishments at the time were a food and drink kiosk and a local tax office, the management of which was entrusted to Cannes. The latter would collect the tax for transferring certain goods from one town to another.

 

A sharp increase

The hamlet population grew rapidly, partly due to the exploitation of its quarries and lime kilns. From the end of the 19th century, it also began to welcome many Italian day labourers and workers. On the Côte d'Azur, construction sites such as that of the Boulevard Carnot were abundant, demanding a large labour force. These Italian immigrants soon represented the majority of the population, and became perfectly integrated. At the turn of the 20th century, a real community was established thanks to the housing development and the installation of a telephone exchange. This growth did not go unnoticed by the local municipal officials, nor by the church, which was quick to show its interest in this young population.

Its inhabitants were then faced with the problem of funerals, having to convey their deceased loved ones by their own means to the Sainte-Catherine Church, one hour's walk away. The clergy therefore decided to build a new church in front of the stone quarry. The construction of the Saint-Charles des Carrières Church started in May 1911. It was inaugurated with great pomp the following November.

 

The place

The name "Lime Kiln" was abandoned in 1932 at the request of inhabitants, during the municipal council meeting of the 20th of December. A petition was made to withdraw that name "which evoked dusty and unattractive landscapes; a name detrimental to the town's development". The name Rocheville was chosen to replace it, in reference to its past and the rustic nature of its rocky soil, while being in greater harmony with the "neighbourhood's current smartness".

The following year the hamlet was endowed with its long awaited square. It was located on a plot formerly dedicated to vegetable cultivation, lime kilns and to quarrying. The fountain formerly situated at a lonely intersection, was then installed on the square. Around this square began to emerge shops, a market... It also welcomed for two weeks every year the marquee for the Saint-Jean fair, considered as the Rocheville annual fair. The hamlet took on the air of a small village and well expressed the conviviality for which this district is known. "When the green Taba buses still existed and we would play "boules" in the square, the driver would often complain that he couldn't get through. We would tell him to wait. "You're not in a hurry!" We would send him off to have a drink and he would come back afterwards (...)", explains Jean Léger in the book "Il était une fois Rocheville" (Once upon a time in Rocheville). It recounts the history of the neighbourhood and its particular character, marked more by the people rather than by the buildings.

During the war, life carried on around the square, but at a slower pace... Bomb shelters were built underneath it to protect the population. The kiln that can be seen in the square today was salvaged from its building which was demolished. It was walled up before the German occupation to prevent the invaders from using it. Today, the lime kiln has been restored and is used to bake bread for various special events, such as Rocheville à la campagne (Rocheville in the countryside).

In 1960, it was decided to do away with the square in order to construct a large building with post office, town hall annex and police station. The Saint-Jean fair could no longer be held there. The whole town was shaken. The Rochevillois had to wait until 1995 for their square to be reinstated in its present form.