OUT WITH A BANG?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or to The Letters Editor, Living France, Cumberland House, Oriel Road, Cheltenham, GL50 1BB. We reserve the right to edit your letters.