It’s a grey, cool drizzly day in the Dordogne. The sort of day when mischievous raindrops aim for that tiny gap between the back of your jacket and your neck, giggling as they hit bull’s eye and trickle too slowly down the bare skin of your shivering spine.
Maybe ‘shivering’ in September is pushing it; the point is it’s not pleasant.
And then I see him. The man with the big nose. The sight of him standing with his impressive proboscis pointing straight at gloomy skies clears the clouds from my face and I beam like a kid who went to sleep in November and woke up on Christmas morning.
Apologies if it sounds like the pudding is being generously over-egged, but I am completely and deliriously gob-smacked. I am gob-smacked and also aware that sometimes the ability to add two and two completely eludes me.
Don’t ask why the obvious escaped me but I’d never connected the medieval town of Bergerac with Edmond Rostand’s poet, skilled swordsman and doomed romantic, Cyrano before.
The ‘de’ that separated Cyrano and Bergerac had clearly worked as an ingenious code.
Cyrano de Bergerac – a hero to all of us who believed we were invisible to our Roxanes.
I grab Andy’s arm.
“Look… it’s Steve Martin.”
Roxanne was one of the first movies we saw together at the cinema.
Her smile is a wide as mine. The ‘de’ code had fooled her as well. That, or maybe it was years of connecting the town’s name with a Jersey based TV detective.
It’s a depressing Monday in Bergerac. The streets are empty, the shops are shut and the drizzle is doing its best to make fairy tale medieval streets seem mundane.
It really doesn’t matter. We’ve seen Cyrano de Bergerac. It might seem insignificant to others. But it’s often these little unexpected pleasures that cast the brightest glow on our travels.
After a wet wander and a warming French omelette and fries, the time comes for us to depart the Dordogne for Provence.
As we leave Bergerac we pause at Place de la Mirpe à Bergerac where there’s another statue of the man with the big nose.
Adieu Cyrano. Vacuous souls are still propping themselves up with others’ words.
The world never really changes.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+