Villeneuve-sur-Lot. These Lavoisier slabs have a history

Encyclopedia of rugby union in the bastide, René Verdier, who passed away in the summer of 2015, would certainly have liked to tell you better than us about the famous slabs of 1, rue Lavoisier, located between the town hall and the old one. Derieux clinic. Because as curious as it may seem, the stone driveway of this house leading to its garage has a story. But to better understand our words and especially to act on them, let’s go back the time machine to the 1930s, in December 1933 to be exact. That day, in snowy weather and not to put a rugby player out, businessman Jean Galia attends a XIII match between Australia and England. And this charismatic character having had the particularity of being both champion of France in XV and XIII is very quickly captivated by this new game of the oval ball, by its spectacular side and its speed of execution. On March 4, 1934, 17 big names of the Ovalie from the XV, the “Galia Boys”, decide to cross the Channel and participate in meetings in London, Leeds, Warrington, Salford and Hull, by immersing themselves quickly of this Treizist culture and especially by progressing. On their return to France and after long hours of palaver around a table set up on a parterre of flat stones in the Roman construction style, in front of the facade of the Castel café in Villeneuve Porte de Paris, Jean Galia and his trusted team make the decision to file the statutes of the future French Gaming League at XIII. Historical because then will be born from this adventure the SA Villeneuve 13 with the very first match of XIII at Pont de Marot, on May 6, 1934, between a selection of Yorkshire and the French team which attracted thousands of spectators. In the 60s, at the time of urbanization and with a more modern terrace covering, the old paving stones of the Castel cafe were to take the direction of the landfill but our friend René Verdier decided to recover them during the construction of his house and give them a second life.

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We now understand better the importance attached by the writer and the former journalist to these stone slabs having known a beautiful history. Slabs on which many generations of former Villeneuve players and coaches have also walked because René Verdier liked to receive them at his home, in his privacy, for his reports and his numerous portraits that he shared in our newspaper ” La Dépêche “. We think in particular of Jep Lacoste, Raymond and Jacques Gruppi, Christian and Jean-Pierre Clar, Christian Sabatié, Joël Roosebrouck, Michel Mazaré, Max Chantal, Michel Laville, Daniel Verdes, David Despin, Laurent Frayssinous who know 1, rue Lavoisier well. and this famous alley of slabs that we could really have called “alley of the game at XIII” …

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