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French Impressions:

Lower Normandy 

( George East )



Out now in paperback  9.99


The latest mix of information, opinion, anecdote and recipes in the enormously popular French Impressions series features a particularly fascinating area of France.

The personal pilgrimage explores  the three departments of Lower Normandy, and,  as well as reviewing more than a hundred towns and villages and tourist attractions, the book looks at the historical events and peoples which helped form the unique character of this part of France. Along the way it features the recipes and background to many traditional and unusual Norman dishes. In all, this is a complete celebration of one of Frances most beautiful and fascinating areas. 

'From the D-Day Beaches to the birthplace of William the Conqueror, George East뭩 unique style paints a gloriously coloured picture of some of the most visited and intriguing parts of Normandy.'



French Impressions:
Lower Normandy


멦he casual visitor could be forgiven for thinking there is a ban on anyone over 30 or lacking in style from entering the centre of Caen during an early evening curfew.

We are sitting outside a bar near the grandiose Hotel de Ville and watching the world go by. It is a very young world. The median age seems around 22, and it looks as if there is also a ban on ugly people taking to the streets.

More so than in any other part of the region we have visited, the girls all seem effortlessly stylish as they stroll, stride or sashay past. You will find attractive and stylish young women in any large town in France or anywhere else, but these Caennaise are something special. The most noticeable thing is that though they are uniformly attractive, nearly all differ in their chosen style of presentation. Some opt for summery dresses and sandals, some for thick black tights and high heels. One girl manages to make a camouflage top and trousers and a calf-high pair of paratroopers boots look sexy.

It is noticeable that the tables around us are almost exclusively occupied by young men. It is obviously their job to sit and watch the parade. Seated and mostly immobile, the only way they can draw attention to themselves is by the way they smoke and drink.  On the next table, a tall, slim boy is pretending not to notice the river of passing pulchritude, and is in animated conversation with another even slimmer youth. His arms flap and gyrate like those of a marionette with an unskilled operator, and he occasionally punctuates his remarks with stabs of his cigarette before returning it to hang precariously from his upper lip.

Then we notice something else different about the constant stream of young women parading by. There is not a single tattoo on display, nor a single wobble. There are no illustrated women, and certainly no fat ones. As my wife also points out, none of the dozens of slim young women and girls have been competing to show off their midriffs. Were we in our home town of Portsmouth on a fine summer Saturday evening, dozens of young women would have been displaying their belly-button piercings and the hearts, stars, songbirds or even lines from poems they will never read indelibly inscribed on their bodies. Many would look as if they were wearing a sizeable lifebelt of flesh. Perhaps the fashion will spread to provincial France, but looking at the beautiful and slim young women of Caen it is hopefully a long way off...

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