You have taken off in a small private plane from Brighton City Airport at Shoreham-by-Sea. The plane heads directly due south. About 40 minutes and 177 km later you pass over the coast of France at Ouistreham. Your pilot follows the course of the river Orne. Below you, you spot a white gash amid the pattern of green fields.
Early in 2021 Frederic Laloux was appointed French Honorary Consul for Brighton and Newhaven. M. Laloux is the most recent incumbent of an official post reaching back to at least 1821. This post is unpaid, apart from expenses. It occasionally carries the title Vice-Consul as the local consuls (there are about 30 across the UK) report to the Consul Général in London.
« Mesdames et messieurs, nous venons FOILBORNE »
This was the triumphant announcement heard on 29 April 1979 in Brighton Marina. The English translation which followed might not have been much more enlightening:
“Ladies and gentlemen we are FOILBORNE”
The announcement was made on the first voyage of the Seajet hydrofoil service between Brighton and Dieppe. This was an exciting new adventure setting out from an exciting new marina. The high-speed vessel, the Normandy Princess, was underway.Continue reading
A landmark in the sporting history of Brighton was recorded in a French newspaper and can now be revealed for the first time in 65 years. On 5 December 1955, the regional weekly La Bourgogne Républicaine carried the news of what was probably a sporting world “first”.Continue reading
France is so near Brighton. Hundreds of Brightonians take the short hop across the channel in order to walk or cycle, usually in the French countryside. Sometimes in towns. However, at the turn of the 21st century, three Brightonians left a record of their visits in book form. Each one is fascinating in its own way. In order of publication:Continue reading
On the 18 March 1895, this strange tale appeared in more than a dozen French newspapers.
[Jack Brown or the living parcel
An elderly man, whose strong English accent left no doubts as to his nationality, appeared last evening at the post office in the rue de Choiseul. He asked for hospitality overnight, saying that he was penniless and reduced to vagrancy.
When he was taken to the police station in rue Marsollier yesterday morning, he gave more or less this account, in a mishmash of English and French:
“Name of Jack Brown. 64 years old, retired non-commissioned officer in the English army, two stints in the dragoons of Her Gracious Majesty …”
At this point he saluted respectfully and continued:
“Live in Brighton, three shillings pension a day. Two nights ago, in Brighton with friends, drank more than usual. My friends – played a joke, très common in the England – sent me to Paris as a parcel; sewed label on my back: ‘Jack Brown en route for Paris’; Brighton – Paris ticket stuck in my buttonhole. Me completely drunk …”
“It’s disgraceful, getting that drunk on gin …” exclaimed the police inspector.
“Non” he replied, “it was whisky, très bon… ]
As far as is known, no Jemima ever went from Brighton to the Paris Exhibition of 1867, but if she had, these might have been her letters to her friend Emily.
* * *
At last! Father has said we can go to the French Exhibition in Paris in September. First, he says we must all improve our French. Father is a little distrustful of the Parisians, so he says we must at least know what they are saying. Mother and I will go to Mlle Witter in Holland Road (such a nice safe area of Hove, Father says) but Father has chosen to go to Mons. Lamette in East-street. Continue reading
On Friday 23 August 1816, Captain Cheeseman, master of the Neptune packet boat, returned to Brighton. He brough disturbing news for all his fellow mariners, for their passengers and for trade with France. During the night of 19-20 August, Captain Thomas Partridge of the Nancy had been shot by French customs officers just outside the port of Dieppe.
In 1888, the 4th edition of Conty’s guide to London was rushed onto the streets of Paris so that any M. and Mme Dupont could venture safely across la Manche [the English Channel]. As part of their trip, Conty strongly recommends that they spend a day in Brighton.
[To leave London without having seen Brighton (pronounced Brahaictonne) and its splendid aquarium would, in our minds, make for an incomplete trip.
Let’s just note for the record that Brighton, the land of pretty English girls, is the Dieppe of England and that, on a sunny November day, it reminds us somewhat of our beautiful town of Nice.]
Is that what they call a back-handed compliment?
For most mariners, humanity and co-operation are far more important than old or even recent enmities. Despite the Napoleonic wars and the recent Battle of Waterloo, Captain Harry Blaber was the first to come to the rescue of a semi-armed French ship.