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arriving at the dire charles de gaulle airport, paris
- the auroran sunset

France - The Pyrenees mountain range
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new! the tour de france 2018 - celebrating france, celebrating the tdfillustrated graph

Stone tracery in church and cathedral construction illustrated
stone in church and cathedral construction

stained glass and cathedrals in Normandy illustrated graph

fortified churches, mostly in Les Landes

cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France
using metal in gothic cathedral construction

Germans in France
cathedral destruction during the French revolution, subsidiary page to Germans in France

Click for an introduction to cathedrals and stained glass in France.

on first arriving in France - driving
France is not England
paying at the péage (toll station)

Click for motorways and motorway aires in France.

Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago, Rochefort-Martrou
Gustave Eiffel’s first work: the Eiffel passerelle, Bordeaux
a fifth bridge coming to Bordeaux: pont Chaban-Delmas, a new vertical lift bridge

France’s western isles: Ile de Ré
France’s western iles: Ile d’Oleron

Ile de France, Paris: in the context of Abelard and of French cathedrals
short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard

Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps

la Belle Epoque
Grand Palais, Paris

Click to go to pages about Art Deco at

Click to go to 'the highest, longest: the viaduct de Millau'

Pic du Midi - observing stars clearly, A64
Carcassonne, A61: world heritage fortified city

Space City, Toulouse

the French umbrella & Aurillac

50 years old: Citroën DS
the Citroën 2CV: a French motoring icon

the forest as seen by Francois Mauriac, and today
Les Landes, places and playtime
roundabout art of Les Landes

Hermès scarves

Hèrmes logo

bastide towns
mardi gras! carnival in Basque country
country life in France: the poultry fair

what a hair cut! m & french pop/rock

Tour de France 2018
Le Tour de France: cycling tactics illustrated

arriving at the dire charles de gaulle airport, paris
- the auroran sunset

[You will see no photos at all - it’s too depressing taking pictures of ugliness.]

I have a new advertising slogan for the main Paris airport:

“Nothing puts you in a bad mood like CDG. Come to Paris!”

They badly need new management, plus a redesign. Nothing says “Welcome home” quite like an hour or two standing in completely unnecessary and unmanaged queues for ‘security’, followed by a total lack of security for your luggage. That has been sitting waiting to be stolen because of the first folly, followed by illogical, stupid, contradictory and missing signs. Add in a dose of surly, unhelpful jobsworth staff, in a building so badly designed that you go deaf from all the conversations.

Then when you think you have escaped, take a too full train through the scarred landscape of pervasive property defacement (graffiti ‘artists’ are one of the few types I would happily shoot on sight), suffering the advances of ever-present beggars who roam from carriage to carriage with their intrusive ‘music’. Finally you arrive in the world’s dirtiest station - the Gare du Nord, full of gangs of dubious looking ‘youths’, usually loitering in the way of exits, making clouds of noxious fumes with their little white dummies.

That last paragragh can’t really be blamed on the CDG management, but it all adds to the whole “arriving in Paris” experience.

No wonder I always used to go via Amsterdam’s lovely calm and peaceful Schiphol Airport to reach the south of France and avoid that damned place. Maybe if they paid me enough, I’d consider fixing it for them - that sort of thing seems to be becoming my area of expertise.

Everytime I come back to Paris, my mind boggles that the world’s tourism capital can get away with such an appalling first impression. Charles de Gaulle airport is a national disgrace.

Marker at

And here is how Aéroports de Paris advertised themselves in 2013, after a major upgrading of the airport facilities. [video: 3:04 mins]

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New translation, the Magna Carta

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