Sunday, May 10, 2009

A long way from Paris to Guingamp

Guingamp triumphed over Rennes in the French Cup Final last night - two Breton teams producing flowing football and three fine goals in the Paris stadium. Rennes is the capital of Brittany and their side considerably more than a notch above lowly Guingamp, but the constant references to the latter as a 'petite village' finally made me hit the mute button.
Thomas Adolphus Trollope, brother of the famous Anthony, visited the 'pretty agreeable little town' of Guingamp in 1840, finding it cleaner, better built and 'altogether pleasanter than St-Brieuc'. Still the case, many would say. In those days the population was 6000, so even then considerably larger than a petite village, a description more befitting my own bourg of 1165 hardy souls in the Monts d'Arrée.
Are people in Paris still so blinkered and conditioned by stereotypes that they imagine anywhere west of Rennes to be full of incomprehensible peasants in clogs? OK, some places maybe (thank goodness), but Guingamp is currently a town of about 25,000 inhabitants. And the origin of the word gingham, by the way.