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Detour de France: An Englishman in Search of a Continental Education
Though happy enough with his lot, Michael Simkins has never truly shaken the nagging doubt - helpfully upheld by his partner Julia - that he somehow lacks worldly sophistication. While she spent her teenage years as a nanny on a boat moored at Cannes, his utter lack of travel experience (Weymouth, Cleethorpes and a day trip to Dieppe) still has the power to shock people in ...more
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Enjoyable romp around France as Simkins, a jobbing actor, takes a summer off to immerse himself in the couture of our Trans-Manche cousins. He is a genial companion, and as we share a love of cricket and Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, I found him very entertaining. He certainly plays the gauche English twit well with a nice line in quips. I think by the end, he came away freshly enchanted by France and its people, but probably reflecting that, en fin, it is rather nice to be English, live in England ...more
Michael Simkins journeys through France, inspired in part by his passion for the film 'Mr Hulot's Holiday', the location of which is his starting point. He has many enjoyable experiences, including attending a folk dance festival in Brittany, viewing a circus with real animals (we don't get those in England any more), trying his luck at playing roulette in Biarritz, and boules in Provence, and watching the impressive bull run of Arles. And of course eating a lot of delicious food.
His style of wr ...more
His style of wr ...more
I thought this book absolutely brilliant! Purely from a total novices point of view this is a very well written observational book of the sometimes misguided views the English hold about the French. Although Michael is an actor of some standing in the UK his naivety regarding our Gaelic cousins sets him on a course to confirm or deny some of our most deep-rooted opinions or misconceptions of the French. Spurred on by a film he saw as a youngster he eventually sets out in his 50's to see if the F ...more
A humorous canter through France with Michael Simkins- would have given it 3.5 stars if I could. Full marks certainly for his willingness to have a go at all things French. The anecdotes along the way made me smile- but was there a hint of poetic licence at times? The book tended to reinforce some of the national stereotypes- both French and English and in that sense did not really broaden my understanding of France, but he met some interesting characters and went to some fascinating places.
Dec 09, 2011 Mandy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Mandy by: The library quick-pick shelves!
A brilliant romp through France through the eyes of Michael Simkins, complete with all his wit and humour. It made me want to travel through France again right now - too bad the bank account won't allow it. At least I could join him in his adventures!