Luckily it is not about the the Côte d'Azur, over 1000kms / 625miles from Rotterdam, but about Lille, way up in the North of France, only about one fifth of that distance.
It is so close to the Belgian border, that some streets have the border line in the middle of the road. Here we see France on the right, and the Belgian town Mouscron on the left.
A good reason to go there last Sunday was a flea market in Tourcoing, part of the Lille urban sprawl. I arrived by lunchtime, which is the time for the French to do just that: go to lunch, so I only saw people pack up their stuff and leave.
Tourcoing is part of the former textile industry area, and it looked duly depressing and dirty in that era. Now that there's been plenty of time to make improvements, it looks much less depressing and very clean.
The rather oversized post office, 1920s style, is now being yuppified. Anyone interested in buying a very exclusive apartment in France?
Le Nord, like most of Belgium, was notorious for its cobble stone roads. Here is a good reason why French cars came with such wonderful suspension!
Today only the reputation, and a few stretches of pavés remain. Here is one in Tourcoing.
Luckily it's not an urban sprawl everywhere. Here's a pleasant allotment, in French a jardin de famille.
Again, I feel extremely lucky living in Europe, where in one day I can travel to France and back, though I don't think I should do that on my motorscooter every time, because that tends to be very wearing.
Photos Koos Fernhout ©2006