Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, September 11, 2023


What we don’t yet know :-

- How French people all look so darned young. 
- How there is such a strong French identity throughout France despite it being in the heart of Europe.
- How tourism in France seems to have done little to have diluted that identity. 

Yesterday we went to Saint-Émilion, a stunning beautiful village about a half hour train journey outside of Bordeaux. 

Saint-Émilion is famous for quite a things; it’s gorgeous ‘chocolate box’ architecture, it’s massive monolithic cathedral (all carved out of one single piece of rock), but (let’s face it) what it’s really known for is its wine. It’s glorious, glorious wine. 

The English in particular love Saint-Émilion wine. Much of it gets shipped across the Channel. And that is probably not too much of a surprise, because the English (well, Henry II 800 years ago anyway) actually owned the whole area and developed a bit if a taste for it that has survived in good old Blighty to this day.

So as Stuart and I took our little train journey out to this magnificent village, packed in the carriages as we were with lots of other Brits, Irish, Welsh, Australians, Germans, Americans, we mused on how such an idyllic spot could sustain its own French identity and not be swamped this daily influx of tourism and its ubiquitous ‘tourist English’. 

The answer was simple. The young. The village was full of young, passionate French people working at the monuments, in the restaurants, and in the shops. Their very youth, their vim and vigour, and utter Frenchness maintained that unique French feel throughout the village perfectly. That strong French identity remain unblemished. 

So the secret to the French looking so young is simple - it’s that they are French. The two are interlinked. 

Five hours later as all the tourists left by that same little train - with their great Insta shots, and clutching their much prized bottles of wine - I have a feeling Saint-Émilion, much like it’s sandstone monolithic church was utterly unchanged. And long may that be the case. Saint-Émilion is beautiful just the way it is - just the way it’s always been. Beautifully French, looked after by the beautifully young. 🇫🇷 

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