Friday 15 January 2010

PFF: Calais

Calais has suffered from being flattened twice in the 20th century during each of the two World Wars, but it does have considerable history if you care to find it.  This card, sent to my father on 4 July 1974 and postmarked Calais, does nothing to enhance its image I feel.

The people who sent it, teachers, the whole family, could find nothing better to relate than the price of items in the local supermarket:
"We have visited the Hypermarket & were tempted by flowered bowls and sharp knives!  Blouses at 35 and 25 francs were on display in masses." 
My father will have been enthralled.

The scenes:
62 - Calais (Pas-de-Calais)
1.  L'Hôtel de Ville, the Town Hall and its belfry.
2.  The new ferry boat Dover-Calais "Free Enterprise".
3.  The flower clock.
4.  The monument of the citizens of Calais.

The fourth picture shows a sculpture by Rodin "Les Bourgeois de Calais" and this gives a clue to Calais' past.  Because it's so very close to England, Calais has always been a point of entry for the English into France, welcome or not.  IN 1347 Edward III laid siege to the town and after a year had starved the people into surrender.  Six eminent townspeople offered their lives so that the rest of the town would be spared, and it is these six people who are commemorated in the sculpture.

The whole area is steeped in history: the Field of the Cloth of Gold, the Battle of Agincourt, the Battle of Crécy.  Yet the place is best known for short shopping trips across the Channel, booze cruises.  But Calais is fighting back and has a team of "Greeters" who will guide anyone interested around and tell them the many fascinating stories of the area.

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  1. Beautiful card. Calais is not far away from Amsterdam but while it's a famous place it's also unknown to me. Interesting information.

  2. that's an interesting card. I studied the monument in art history and I like floral clocks.

  3. I love your post today. Interesting subject, even better tone. I think of Calais as being filled with sailors!

  4. You have to admit, it's a great price for blouses ;)

  5. Beautiful post and historic information!

  6. and... the burghers of Calais were spared by the intercession of Edward's wife. Happy PFF.

  7. Great card. I have a card from Australia with a flower clock on it too!

  8. Howdy Sheila
    Happy PFF :)
    I am not familiar with Calias so I found your post very imformative .
    Thank you for sharing these intresting facts .
    I can't wait to go and read a little more on my own.
    Have a fabulous weekend.
    Happy Trails

  9. Sheila,
    Just stopping by to say hello. I hope all is going well with you. I am sorry I have been such a slacker.

    God bless,

  10. Christine, yes, the blouses were a bargain!

    But I was surprised at just how much there was to find out about Calais. Believe me, I reserved some for possible future posts. :)


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