It’s never wise to answer back to a French policeman even if he’s made a ‘gauche’ mistake
A friend has just returned from a trip to his French holiday house, having had a narrow squeak with the gendarmerie merely given a lecture, not escorted to the cash machine. It made me think of a touring holiday I once spent in France in my GTV6 Alfa, during which I used up all the brakes exploring the old public road Charade circuit at Clermont-Ferrand, (I’d like to claim that all that Ferodo went west due to my supreme talent behind the wheel, but most of it actually turned to smoke when a milk lorry drove across a crossroads I didn’t see coming…)
Later, away from the track, I was ‘making good progress on a sweeping Auvergne road when I heard the breathless tootle that passes for a French police summons. Once I’d stopped and the van had caught up, two large black moustaches loomed at the passenger window and a tirade of angry French began but aimed at my pal in the left-hand seat.
Suddenly Gendarme Deux, standing silently behind, nudged Gendarme Un and I heard him hiss “the other one’s the driver the one with the steering wheel!”
You’ve never seen a moustache go from bristle to droop so fast. I wasn’t fined.