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Old June 3rd, 2012, 06:58 PM   #221
De Klauw
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Plus I think the awareness of World War I will decline in future. Now it's having a boost due to its 100th anniversary. But I guess afterwards interests in it will fall dramatically. The majority of the visitors are from Commonwealth countries. Now the victims of WOI are usually grandpa's. That is still relevant. But will people from Canada, Australia, .. bothered in future why a remote ancestor is buried in a field in Flanders as a result of a war largely focused upon Europe?

And by a decline in interest there will probably be a decline in interest (and funding) to preserve all that kind of things like battlegrounds. The graves will probably remain as the maintenance is done by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission financed by all the Commonwealth countries. But a decline in funding of that Commission is not unlikely. Those things will likely fall as first when cost-saving measures are introduced.

Anyway. It's good that we at the Be. forum advised you not to go to Waterloo since in that place there is even less to visit, apart from the famous giant lion, the preserved battleground (which is nothing more than a field) and some small museums.

Last edited by De Klauw; June 3rd, 2012 at 07:06 PM.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 08:05 PM   #222
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Day 3 in Lille continued....

As we saw in at the end of the last post after seeing Ypres I arrived by train back in Lille.

There I was to call my hosts who would pick me up for some additional sightseeing in Lille. Although I didn’t have a cell phone that worked in Europe I assumed I could find a way to contact them either by borrowing someones cell phone or using a public phone. I did find some public phones in the train station but then discovered you needed a phone card to use them. Fine, I found a newsstand that sold phone cards and bought one. I then tried to use the phone. Problem was no matter how I tried to dial my hosts number it didn’t work. All I got were messages in French which I, of course, didn’t understand. I tried to get some passersby to help me, to no avail. I then spotted some police and tried to get their assistance but they didn’t speak English and waved me off.

At this point I was really in a panic. Without a way to contact my hosts I had no way to meet them. My evening would be ruined and the only way to find them would be to take the train to Nieppe, walk to their home (a long walk), and wait outside the door until they eventually returned.

I was quite desperate. The only thing I could think of was to ask the young woman who had sold me the card if she could come out and operate the phone for me. She agreed to do so and after waiting for a collegue to cover for her, she came out and dialed the number (my problem had been there are instruction in French that lead you through a menu before you can actually dial the number and obviously I didn’t understand that). I spoke to my hosts and the evening was saved. My relief and gratitude towards the young woman were tremendous.

I mention this only because it involves an important point about France, and more specifically the French people. For some reason, in the U.S., there is a very strong idea that French people don’t like Americans and in particular don’t like American tourists. According to this notion, French people are invariably rude and unhelpful towards Americans, or at least towards those Americans such as me who don’t speak French.

For that reason, I myself never thought about traveling to France and only went after I had been invited several times. Moreover, when I would tell friends and co-workers in the US that I was travelling to France people would look at me like I was crazy. Although most everyone views Paris as a great city that they would like to visit France is generally viewed as not a welcoming place and so lots of Americans simply don’t go there.

But what I found when I was in France was the exact opposite. Virtually all the French people I ever met or dealt with were excedingly friendly and helpful. Truthfully, they were more helpful than I had any right to expect and probably more than most of us would be if our cities were as overrun by tourists as Paris is. How much this young woman helped me was amazing and just shows what a completely false stereotype there is about French people in the United States.

This is not to say 100% of French people will be friendly or helpful. Nowhere is that the case. But the overwhelming majority seem to be very nice and helpful.

And if you are finding otherwise maybe you should review how you are conducting yourself towards them. For example, don’t EXPECT them to speak English to you. It's not their job to speak YOUR language. You are in their country so if anything it is your job to speak their language. If they speak your language they are being kind and helpful. And if you show them that you appreciate and are grateful for their kindness then you will find them to be some of the best hosts imaginable.

Ok, now that I am done debunking stereotypes back to the pictures.

We walked out of the Lille Flanders station and saw some of the nice buildings (some of them Hausman type buildings) that I had seen when I briefly peaked out two days before.

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The Lille Opera House. I chuckle to myself when I think of my friend who said that Lille was an industrial city, or post-industrial city. Ok, maybe it is. But do Cleveland, or Detroit or Buffalo have opera houses like this?

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This is the Bourse - which is the old trading center of the city. It dates to the 1600s and is beautiful.

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ok, my memory is failing me on what exactly this beautiful building next to the opera house is. Maybe someone can tell us.

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This place has been in the news alot recently due to the activities of a certain Frenchman. But I won’t mention any names :-)

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The exterior of the Bourse again.

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Unfortunately it had closed for the day so we couldn’t go inside.

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This is one way to remember which bike is yours. Interestingly, I didn’t see very many bikers at all in Lille, even though it seemed fairly flat. Maybe because it is too big of a city for it to be practical?

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I don’t speak any French and even I know what that building is :-)

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There were lots of people at outdoor cafes and restaraunts which gave the city lots of life.

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Remember, you are in French Flanders. This is the local newspaper.

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This is supposed to be one of the best chocolates from the area.

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What a skyline!!!

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So much beauty, in such a small area.

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Can’t get enough of that skyline.

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A restaraunt out of my price range.

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Ok, not to start a flame war here, but I have to say I really like a lot of the architecture that Lille has. I didn’t see anything like it in Paris. The Hausman architecture is great but maybe they should have left a bit more of the old stuff around.

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After taking in yet another beautiful part of Lille it was back to Nieppe.

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There go the tractors again.

The main drag in Nieppe.

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Obviously Nieppe is an industrial revolution era town too. In fact, there were so amazing old factories around there that I briefly saw from the train and road but never had the chance to explore.

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Thus ended my last day in Lille. But wow, how great my time was there. The French countryside and coast were spectacular. And the city of Lille looked absolutely fascinating even though I did nothing more than scratch the surface. I never rode their metro. Never saw the modern business district except from the trian. Never walked around its working class districts. Going back to Lille is a must. Hopefully it won’t take long.

Last edited by 600West218; June 3rd, 2012 at 08:10 PM.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 08:25 PM   #223
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Lille looks fabulous - so much character.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 08:39 PM   #224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Ok, not to start a flame war here, but I have to say I really like a lot of the architecture that Lille has. I didn’t see anything like it in Paris. The Hausman architecture is great but maybe they should have left a bit more of the old stuff around.
See my post above

Like I said, Lille has more architectural variation than Paris, and though is a much smaller city, is sometimes more beautiful at its best, than Paris, but the French seem unmoved by flemish architecture for some reason . It's just "there".

Most French are spoon-fed with the idea that "Nord = crap, k thx bye"

PS: This architecture is unique to Nord and Flanders (and parts of Wallonia), so it is very unlikely that pre-Hausmann Paris looked anything like it.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 09:06 PM   #225
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Beautiful thread, congratulations!
It took me some hours to see it all, but I love it. I have visited most of the places in this thread, but I can say that you caught them very well.
I am looking forward to the rest, though I think it is a pitty that you didn't visit antwerp. You would have loved the beauty, the diversity and the historical and industrial heritage. Maybe that's for the next trip
What is the next location you visited? I am very much looking forward to your impressions of Charleroi.

I wanted to make many remarks, but unfortunately I have forgotten most of them. I can say these 3 things:
- It's true that the tides at sea over here are probably stronger than in America. The reason for that is that the sea water is pressed into a narrow space between mainland Europe and England. The tides on the South-west coast of france are less spectacular because the sea there is much wider.
- The war graves of principally visited by people from england, Canada, Australia and New Zealand because it is still an important part of their history and because they were affected so much. If I am right, ww1 was much more destructive for those countries than ww2. In Germany, the memory of the first WW1 is very much overshadowed by the catastrophy, shame and destruction of WW2. Furthermore, I am pretty sure that ww1 is not a very living memory in France (certainly not in comparison to the UK). It's just history.
- I was amazed that you had never seen a tree cut like in the pictures. It's a very common thing in Belgium and France. I am not a specialist, but this should make things clear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding


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Originally Posted by joshsam View Post

In Flanders we call Lille, Rijsel and Roubaix, Robiaas and Tourcoing, Toerkonje (the other two cities wich form one metro area with Lille.)
Those names exist, but I don't think anybody uses them. They sound a bit silly to me.

Last edited by Wapper; June 3rd, 2012 at 09:22 PM.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 09:26 PM   #226
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Its also 'Robaais' instead of Robiaas.
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 11:02 PM   #227
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I just call them by their French names, much easier and at least people then know what you're on about.

600West, I really like your pictures from Lille, they brought back plenty of memories of when I was younger (still only 20yrs old, but you know what I mean)
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Old June 3rd, 2012, 11:10 PM   #228
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Wow the city center of Lille is really stunning!
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Old June 4th, 2012, 12:02 AM   #229
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Wow the city center of Lille is really stunning!
Indeed it is. And to think, many people have never even heard of it.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 12:04 AM   #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218
Ok, not to start a flame war here, but I have to say I really like a lot of the architecture that Lille has. I didn’t see anything like it in Paris. The Hausman architecture is great but maybe they should have left a bit more of the old stuff around.
Actually there is a lot of pre-haussman architecture in Paris. The only thing is that by the 19th century, most of it had been covered in plaster so it also sorted that grayish color. This is a typical example of an older central Paris street.

There is a whole thread dedicated to the subject here http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ighlight=paris
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Old June 4th, 2012, 12:11 AM   #231
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wapper View Post
Beautiful thread, congratulations!
It took me some hours to see it all, but I love it. I have visited most of the places in this thread, but I can say that you caught them very well.
I am looking forward to the rest, though I think it is a pitty that you didn't visit antwerp. You would have loved the beauty, the diversity and the historical and industrial heritage. Maybe that's for the next trip
Indeed, I was not happy that I couldn't make it to Antwerp. I really wanted to see the harbor museum plus the harbor itself and the canals and local industry. As I said, Belgium just has a stunning amount of things to see. I will visit their on the next trip.




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What is the next location you visited? I am very much looking forward to your impressions of Charleroi.
The next stop is Brussels. Then Charleroi.



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Originally Posted by Wapper View Post
- I was amazed that you had never seen a tree cut like in the pictures. It's a very common thing in Belgium and France. I am not a specialist, but this should make things clear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding
Nope, never seen that anywhere in the western hemisphere. Thanks for the link, it is very interesting.

Europe's relationship to trees is very different that that of the US and Canada. Because of its huge population Europe ran low on them a long time ago. I was told that one reason England took over Ireland is they had run out of trees and needed the Irish ones to build their ships.

There are so many different ways you see that in Europe space is very limited and has to be utilized very carefully whereas in the Americas it is seen as being practically unlimited and is used with no regard for conservation.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 12:21 AM   #232
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There is a whole thread dedicated to the subject here http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ighlight=paris
That thread confirms what I thought, pre-Hausmaniann Paris looked much more like Orléans, Tours or Bourges than Lille...
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Old June 4th, 2012, 12:24 AM   #233
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Quote:
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The next stop is Brussels. Then Charleroi.
By the way, did you do the Charleroi Safari?
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Old June 4th, 2012, 12:26 AM   #234
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Indeed, I was not happy that I couldn't make it to Antwerp. I really wanted to see the harbor museum plus the harbor itself and the canals and local industry. As I said, Belgium just has a stunning amount of things to see. I will visit their on the next trip.
Don't worry. Here you can see a trip report. It's in every way the bigger brother of Ghent.

Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wapper
- I was amazed that you had never seen a tree cut like in the pictures. It's a very common thing in Belgium and France. I am not a specialist, but this should make things clear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding
Nope, never seen that anywhere in the western hemisphere. Thanks for the link, it is very interesting.
Yet the first picture I see at that page is a pollarded tree in Santa Cruz, California. Possibly the only pollarded tree in the US.



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Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
There are so many different ways you see that in Europe space is very limited and has to be utilized very carefully whereas in the Americas it is seen as being practically unlimited and is used with no regard for conservation.
But the enormous space can be a bit of a disadvantage for example the endless suburbanization process which results in dead cities. And some states in the east like New Jersey or Connecticut are as dense as in Europe. Is the urban planning in those states stricter than let's say in Nebraska or Montana?

Last edited by De Klauw; June 4th, 2012 at 12:43 AM.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 01:08 AM   #235
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Actually there is a lot of pre-haussman architecture in Paris. The only thing is that by the 19th century, most of it had been covered in plaster so it also sorted that grayish color. This is a typical example of an older central Paris street.

There is a whole thread dedicated to the subject here http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ighlight=paris
I realized there was a decent chance I was wrong about that given that Paris is such a big city.

Thanks for sharing the information though as it gives me places to look for next time and a deeper understanding of Parisian history.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 01:15 AM   #236
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Yet the first picture I see at that page is a pollarded tree in Santa Cruz, California. Possibly the only pollarded tree in the US.
I've still never seen it. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that someone in California would do it.



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But the enormous space can be a bit of a disadvantage for example the endless suburbanization process which results in dead cities. And some states in the east like New Jersey or Connecticut are as dense as in Europe. Is the urban planning in those states stricter than let's say in Nebraska or Montana?
Yes, this is true. Cities can be abandoned and are. Worse still, it makes everything dependent on the automobile which really strips the life out of places.

New Jersey and Connecticut may be a bit more like Europe, but only a little bit. They are still extremely car centric.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 02:21 AM   #237
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Trust me, there are very car centric places in Europe too.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 02:27 AM   #238
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Not as numerous as it is in the US.

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Old June 4th, 2012, 03:54 AM   #239
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Not as numerous as it is in the US.
No, but Europe is certainly still car-centric. Not as bad as Phoenix or something, and it obviously varied from place to place. I live less than 20 miles from Central London, inside the M25, and cars already reign.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 04:42 AM   #240
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I was referring to urban areas. It's obvious that rural areas and American style suburbia are going to be auto-centric.
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