So Frenchy, so frilled
16th August 2012 (Calais, France)
Boff had a day off from the tournament, which is to say that it was the day for the semi-finals and finals and he didn’t make it, so we went on an excursion to the seaside. Calais is best known for being where the lace industry really took off and for not being Normandy.
As the only building higher than four stories, the town hall dominates the cityscape with its substantial belfry (apparently it’s pronounced ‘bel-free’, not ‘bell-fry’). Out the front is Rodin’s famous scuplture, The Burghers of Calais. You can take a lift up to the top of the belfry but for some reason it was closed until the afternoon.
We instead spent the morning at the lace museum. It was really Boff’s day and he wanted to go because the jacquard cards they use to make lace in a machine is akin to a very early computer program. I thought it’d be boring. Actually, it turned out to be the best thing about Calais. Who knew lace had a history that could weave together design, technology and business so effortlessly? We also saw a demo of a jacquard loom for which I had to translate the Q&A between Boff and the dude but I think I did okay. I like the English word ‘lace’ better than I like the French word ‘dentelle’. I think ‘lace’ represents it better.
Photo of the day is a floral peacock on Calais’ major roundabout. You can only see it like this from the belfry, which we visited after lunch. The belfry guide said it represents the intricacy of the lace for which Calais is renowned.
Boff went and had a look at a bunker museum while I sat in the park and watched people play petanque, then we took a bus to the beach. Alas, it was too hazy to see England, but I ate a violet ice cream and all was well. (No, the ice cream was not as big as my head.)