As ever, thanks for all your letters. Here is a selection of them in February.
Visas and travel
Reader Mike asked “One point not covered in today’s article – what is the situation in the event of no deal, for Brits returning to France after March 29 – if they have Carte des Sejours?”.
A law covering the rights of Britons living in France in the case of a no-deal Brexit was published by the French government in February. While it was supposed to ease the concerns, in reality it has generated more questions. The current thought is that there will be a transition period where those Britons with a CdS can apply for the new equivalent. In the meantime it is advised to make sure that your passport has at least six months before expiry. In essence, no-one really knows what’s going to happen, but there’s a lot of conjecture of course.
Montpellier railway station
Reader Jon pointed out that our article about the new Montpellier-Sud de France station ratings was misleading.
“The old station St Roch, still used for most services, is rated in the middle by the customer survey published by SNCF, and it is the new TGV station south of the city which has the poor rating, but it had only just opened when the survey readings were recorded and nobody knew much about it. As I understand it there are still major problems with both public transport links and parking, but you should at least make it clear that the report refers to only one of the two stations, and that things may improve as it becomes better integrated. At present it is still a disaster, as is the lack of coherent planning around links. At least, in the end, it may have a tram link, which is more than you can say for the airport in the same general direction, but that is still years away.”
We did make it clear within the article that it was the new station which was rated badly, but we have to keep our headlines reasonably brief, so someone could have come to the conclusion that it was the old Montpellier station had they not then read the article. Let’s hope that the survey results in a step up in quality for the Montpellier-Sud de France station!
Reader Ryszard said “with regard to the story about the Spanish Republican refugees, and the lack of recognition of their support for the French war effort, there is a monument next to Alet-les-Bains station with the inscription – Aux Guerrilleros Espagnols F.F.I. de L’Aude. Morts pour La France. »
Reader Ian wrote “Your piece last week on the Spanish refugees was interesting. In this part of Southern Spain it is still a very sensitive subject. The village has a museum dedicated to “La Sauceda” which is privately funded and run by volunteers. It is hardly acknowledged by the population but individuals sneak in and tell their story. When Franco first landed quite near here he rounded up and shot any senior Republicans he could find and many of the villagers fled to a small village up in the mountains. When discovered, Franco arranged to have the village bombed. The people behind the museum have been moving the victims from mass graves to proper burials and using DNA to identify them or at least to associate them with family.”
Were the parents right or wrong?
We had lots of letters after we published the article about Alice and her school clothing.
Sheila – “Clothing for sports. Surely health and safety would demand that suitable attire is worn?”
Helsky – “Absurd ! I would have thought the leggings were an apt solution for both parties…. I have never got my head around the contradiction of the “égalité” principal in regards to no school uniform in France. Individualism can still be maintained with a school uniform (amazing what some girls can do with a baggy checked frock/stiff blazer/ties/etc). Without the sameness solution of uniform there is that torment each morning of “what am I gonna wear???!!!”
Barbara – “I totally agree with the school which requires pants, shorts or leggings. Girls of that age are often flirtatious and must learn to be modest from an early age. A school has the right to require certain clothing for sports and a skirt or dress is not suitable. That’s my opinion.”
Paul – “Thank you for your excellent article. Can you imagine how spoilt and uncontrollable little ‘Alice’ will be later in life and how unteachable she will be? I have always agreed with strict enforcement of school uniform standards as it stops richer parents spending 150 € on the latest trainers…Every parent thinks that their own little Janet or John (or Alice) is ‘special’ and deserves special treatment. The parents should either shut up and take the child out of school for home tutoring or accept what are reasonable rules and regulations from the school.”
Across the Atlantic in a barrel
Several readers have asked if there are any updates about the man sailisng across the Atlantic in a barrel.
He set sail in December, and he last reported news at the end of February on his facebook page here.
He is currently about half way there. You can track him using this app.
Please keep the letters coming in, your opinion means a lot to us.