IT’S A THRILL WHEN A DESTINATION YOU’VE VISITED IS ON THE TV
In the news recently, the 100-year anniversary of the Armistice, November 11, the end of World War I. Among the ceremonies and events was a visit to Compiègne in the Picardy region of France where the Armistice treaty was signed in a railway carriage in a clearing in the middle of a forest on November 11, 1918.
We had visited that train carriage (a replica now) in that forest just a year ago on a tour organised by crew on our European Waterways barge during a delightful canal cruise into the Picardy region.
We knew nothing of the railway carriage or the nearby museum featuring photos and replicas of tanks in WWI, nor did we know much about the signing of the Armistice. However, we took to learning from our guide and walked through the carriage — immaculately presented right down to the china and glassware on the table. We were not awed by its significance then. We are now.
There is always a frisson of thrill when a destination you have visited comes up on the TV. If not the same significance as the Armistice signing, but still a small quiver was a recent 60 Minutes episode with Pamela Anderson interviewed about her strange support for Julian Assange. The interview took place in the impossibly picturesque port of Cassis in the South of France where we had spent an unforgettable week in July.
Even though it was hard to take the eyes off Pamela tripping prettily around the port in a pink gingham sundress, the real star was the backdrop. Hundreds of bobbing watercraft, endless bistros packed with people eating moules, busy waiters in cafes serving Aperol Spritz, baskets of flowers hanging from poles — there was Cassis on the telly looking like a traveller’s dream destination. But there is more. Even Mr. Bean’s Holiday movie caused pleasant conniptions in our household when he arrived at the Avignon TGV in the South of France, a train station we have visited at least 20 times and navigated our nervous way out in a hire car on to the busy streets of Avignon. “Look, we’ve been there,” we shouted at the telly. “There’s the street where we made a wrong turn. Look at those leafy plane trees … I want to go back.”
When Mr. Bean arrived in Cannes for the film festival, our excitement frothed over. There was the Boulevard de la Croisette we had so recently walked.
In the same movie Mr. Bean dined at the gilded Le Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon station in Paris, and yes, we had been there recently as well.
“THERE WAS CASSIS ON THE TELLY LOOKING LIKE A TRAVELLER’S DREAM DESTINATION.”