The French Connection: Day 3 – International Flasher Update

Well, there’s a title to get your attention.

I’ve previously commented that some blogs just write themselves. I go out each day and I’m never sure what I will talk about. A planned day trip may give you a framework but it might not end up being the subject.

Guess how today panned out.

But before we get to the flasher… I’m in Carcassonne for five nights and I knew that I wouldn’t spend the entire time solely in the Old City or even wandering around the Low City. It’s just not that big a place.

Today’s forecast was for sunshine all day so perfect for a walk along the Canal du Midi to Trebes – just over eight miles away.

I may not have mentioned that Carcassonne has UNESCO heritage status and in this part of the world you can’t move for UNESCO sites. Lob a rock ober your shoulder and you’ll damage two or three. The Canal du Midi had the seal of approval too. Here’s what UNESCO have to say about it:

“Located in the Occitan region, the Canal du Midi has 360 navigable kilometers and 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges, spillways, tunnels, etc.). This civil engineering achievement, amongst the most extraordinary of the modern era, built between 1667 and 1694, paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. The concern for architectural aesthetics and man-made landscapes that inspired its designer, Pierre-Paul Riquet, made it not only a technical feat, but also a work of art.

“The Canal du Midi is the initial part of the Deux-Mers Canal project which aimed to link the Mediterranean and the Atlantic by connecting several sections of waterways. It is the living testimony of the art and creativity of the engineers of the time of Louis XIV who triumphed over the difficult conditions of geography and hydrography to realize the immemorial dream of the “junction of the seas”. Its wide-ranging technical and cultural impact inaugurated and influenced the modern era of creating navigable networks across the industrialized countries of Europe and North America.”

The importance attached to an aesthetically pleasing landscape continues today and there are signs along the route outlining the restoration planting that is underway in parts.

The cake? Not part of the route and no cafes to be seen. Everything for breakfast this morning at my guesthouse is home made. And generously dished up. There was no way I was abandoning the raspberry madeleine baked by my hosts.

Lunch was by the canal in Trebes – a terrible place as you can see. And for the Pub Quiz Afficianados… Trèbes was originally known as Tresmals (Three Fords) but in 1110 residents petitioned for the name to be changed to Trèbes (Three Goods) since Tresmals could also mean “Three Evils”.

After lunch when I discovered the biscuiterrie… (exactly what it sounds like – a shop, well tearoom selling biscuits. In the same way, France has fromageries instead of cheeseshops, they’ve got biscuiterries… it all just sounds nice)… was closed, I decided I might as well walk back along the Canal du Midi to Carcassonne.

It was much busier this afternoon – lots of people had hired bikes and lots of groups (familial and friends) were enjoying the sunshine and walking along the path.

It’s been a while… just over three years in fact since I last did an International Flasher Update but here we go with International Flasher Update: which is actually No 2 in an Occasional Series.

Just across the Canal du Midi; hiding in the bushes (pictured) on the opposite side was a man in his 50s or 60s, and he has a very suntanned backside. I know this this odd fact because he huffed like an asthmatic donkey until I spotted him squatting on the bank across the water. No 2 Update is a fitting description for this post because that’s what he looked like he was trying to do.

“A bit exposed for that,” I thought, and not what I wanted to see after lunch. He was huffing like he was in pain so could he have been caught short?

How charitable of me not to immediately assume the worst. But of course, exposure was what he was going for. Strangely… he was LESS enthusiastic about being exposed on camera and rapidly pulled his shorts up to go and hide in the trees when he saw me pull my phone out of my pocket.

I was truly and sincerely surprised at how quickly he ran away. Honest.

Our flasher can’t have been very good at hide-and-seek as a child because I could still see him peering at me through the trees, clutching his water bottle for dear life. He’d obviously been intending to be out for the whole afternoon. I gave him a little wave.

I also pretended to zoom in on the picture and gestured to let him know that I managed to capture him nicely. You know how to do this: big smile, point enthusiastically at the phone and then give a nice big thumbs up across the water. It’s all about conveying the “excellent news, it worked” vibe.

And as a boat cruised past, he walked off into the trees. Do we think I’ve ruined his Sunday afternoon? Do we think he’s able to moan to friends or family over a glass of wine or a beer about how his weekend has been spoiled? There he was, trying to de-stress before work on a Monday, waving his backside at women across the canal and this woman had the nerve to take pictures. Totally wrecked his relaxation.

And for anyone wondering where International Flasher Update No 1 occurred. It was in Siberia. And it was September 2019 and, no, it wasn’t too cold for flashing.

Categories: Carcassone, France, The French Connection, TravelTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. DO they always seem to be older, not very healthy men? Sad about the biscuiterrie. That would be my highlight.


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