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On Foot Across France - Dunkerque To The Pyrenees [Kindle Edition]

Tim Salmon
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Tim Salmon was the author of The Rough Guide to France, the renowned travel bible of French travel for the independent, savvy traveller. For 15 years, as he travelled the length and breadth of the country, the idea for his own, personal journey gradually took shape. It would be nothing to do with cathedrals and history and railway timetables but a subjective, intimate look at the country he had been married to and grown to love and know so well. It would be a slow journey on foot, but he couldn't decide on a route, until, one day, he came across an article about the old Paris meridian line.  Renamed La Méridienne Verte for France's millennium celebrations, it runs from the North Sea at Dunkerque to the Spanish border.

That’s it, he thought: there’s the route, a virtual line from nowhere in particular to nowhere in particular, passing, with the exception of Paris, through nowhere in particular. It would bring what it brought. He would see what he saw.

This  book is the diary of that walk. An intimate and charming day by day account of what he saw, heard, thought: landscapes, flower girls, snippets of history, curious encounters and lots of birdsong.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 894 KB
  • Print Length: 387 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Blackbird Digital Books (14 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #229,493 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoying this book 5 Dec. 2014
By GaryD
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoying this book. I can identify with the author, but maybe I'm a grumpy old man too? Definitely worth a read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This book had me hooked from the beginning; anyone who starts a book talking about weighing his underwear must have a great story to tell, and he does. Tim’s story is about his walk from Dunkerque in the north of France to the Pyrenees, following La Méridienne Verte, the line that neatly bisects France straight down the middle. In 62 walking days he covered approximately 1315km on foot, but unfortunately it was not as straightforward as locating the track in Dunkerque and following clearly marked signs all the way down. It was a true navigational adventure.

Throughout the book there is as much rambling of his thoughts as there is of his feet, however with an intelligent eye and interesting take on France, the UK and the changes in Europe this was OK with me. I have read more light-hearted books about long distance walking in France, but I know myself how my mind wanders on our daily dog walks, so I felt a real honesty came out of his thoughts as he was on the road. He is certainly not afraid to voice his opinions honestly, although I’m sure not everyone will agree with them. Some of his thoughts paint quite a depressing picture of his view of what the future holds for us, but if I’m honest I have to say he made a lot of sense to me. Sometimes it was a shock when he suddenly switched back to talking about his route or those he had met that day, as I was so away with his thoughts I’d forgotten we were walking through France. I loved that he took the time to talk to those he meets; the old farmer sat on his favourite plank, those he stays or dines with and recounts the tales they share with him. I also can’t ignore the fact there is as much description of the many ladies he meets and visually appraises as there is of the villages and countryside.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great travel write 29 Dec. 2014
By Andy C
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A really good travel read from the arm chair over the winter, now much looking forward to the spring weather to get the boots on, walk and meet people on the way. I know of many of the areas of France Tim walked through and his landscape descriptions really brought the places back.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Wine Women and Walking 1 Oct. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Seems to have been given a mixed reception, judging by the negative and positive reviews, although I can see why it would not appeal to some. The many observations and colourful encounters with a variety of ages and nationalities made for interesting reading at times, though repetitive in content, with the same old discussions and isues popping up time and again. His many lascivious thoughts about the myriad of nubile younglings he met en route probably followed him all the way to the Med. Though no doubt did little for the morale of his Princess back home. Generally I found the book too long, and carried away with the fairies a little. Less of a walking book and more of his expounded theories of the universal and age old arguments.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this, it had a good balance of scenic description, conversations with people the author met along his route across France, and his own personal musings. You may not always agree with what he thinks or says, but it feels like the author is always honest about how he felt/what he said at the time that he said it, without the benefit of censoring with hindsight.

I wanted to read an interesting book about a journey on foot across France, and that's exactly what I got. It never failed to be interesting, I always had a good sense of place from his descriptions and a good sense of the author's own character and beliefs. I couldn't ask for more from a travel book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good 21 May 2014
By Bear
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought this was an unpleasant read. It's bigoted, misogynistic, and condescending. The author believes that teenage girls can't control their hormonal desires and that every French woman should be judged by his approval rating of her arse or if she is flirting with him.The author looks down on anyone who isn't beautiful, stylish or conforms to his ideas of authenticity. He moans that no one speaks French anymore, unlike in his father's day, and that he has to translate everything. If only everyone had a public school education and could speak three languages, quote from the classics and appreciate architecture.
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