Living France - - DÉCOUVREZ -

I worked for 40 years as a French teacher and I am now en­joy­ing a well-earned re­tire­ment. My wife and I have had a hol­i­day home in Brit­tany for at least 20 years and used to spend most of the school hol­i­days in France.

When I was teach­ing, I re­mem­ber telling my stu­dents about the fête na­tionale and how all towns had ex­cit­ing things planned for this na­tional hol­i­day such as pa­rades, danc­ing in the street, bands play­ing, cy­cling races, events for chil­dren and fire­works. Of course, I had only read this some­where, long ago, and never been able to ex­pe­ri­ence Bastille Day my­self be­cause of my job. So, this year, we de­cided to go over on 14 July. On the 13th, we went to our lo­cal tourist of­fice and en­quired about what was go­ing to hap­pen in the area the next day. The ladies in the of­fice were kind and they didn’t laugh at us, but seemed very sur­prised that we should think that 14 July would be dif­fer­ent from any other. Noth­ing was planned in our town or any other town in the re­gion – ex­cept that there was to be a fire­work dis­play which was due to start at 11.30pm. (I know it has to be dark, but this is a bit late for two pen­sion­ers, even if we were on hol­i­day.)

I feel that I should apol­o­gise to the thou­sands of stu­dents who have sat in my class­room to be told that Bastille Day is the most ex­cit­ing day on the cal­en­dar in France. I thought I was telling them the truth. I do hope that none of them have crossed the Chan­nel, on my say-so, to be there for this day and been as dis­ap­pointed as we were. Dave Pep­per, Ep­worth, South York­shire We’re sorry to hear you were dis­ap­pointed, Dave. If any other read­ers have been in France on Bastille Day, we’d love to hear your ex­pe­ri­ences – Ed. If you have some­thing you’d like to share, from anec­dotes to hol­i­day snaps, drop us a line at let­ters@liv­ingfrance.com or to The Let­ters Editor, Liv­ing France, Cumberland House, Oriel Road, Chel­tenham, GL50 1BB. We re­serve the right to edit your let­ters.

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