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I agree with the writer Richard Madden about trav­el­ling to view so­lar eclipses (“Feel the power of the dark side”, June 6). It is a com­pletely ad­dic­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. I saw my first one in the Libyan Sa­hara in 2006, where my fi­ance pro­posed (it has that kind of ef­fect). This year, we will be on the banks of the Qiantang River in China to watch the tidal bore on the same day as the eclipse. I can’t wait. beauty of the eclipse. The thing that struck me most was the in­cred­i­ble in­ten­sity of the black­ness of the moon dur­ing the brief mo­ments of to­tal­ity. The con­trast with the corona makes the moon seem to be a hole in the fab­ric of space. Sadly, I will miss China this year but Easter Is­land next year sounds very tempt­ing. Michael Simkin’s “English­man’s guide to la belle France” (June 6) seems like a very fair por­trait. I have lived in France for seven years, hav­ing had a cer­tain num­ber of pre­con­cep­tions be­fore tak­ing the plunge and mar­ry­ing a French­man. Most French peo­ple are friendly and ac­com­mo­dat­ing (it is re­ally the Parisians who are rude snobs). It is easy to eat badly but you can also en­joy a sub­lime meal in an un­ex­pected lit­tle brasserie. On bal­ance, the French have un­der­stood all the things about good liv­ing that re­main

an enigma for we Bri­tish. I would love to read a story by a French­man trav­el­ling around Eng­land do­ing ex­actly the same as Michael did. I won­der if you could find a vol­un­teer in France to take the chal­lenge. Some­how I doubt it.

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