My wife Myriam and I are well over fifty but still love our voyages of discovery just like when we used to come to France when we were first married. European Heritage Days are the opportunity to explore the Pyrenees Orientales départment, our favourite corner of France, when lots of places of historical interest normally closed to the public hold a general open day. This morning we got on the internet, not really knowing what to look for, but hoping for something unusual, out of the ordinary - we like to be surprised!

A character in the history of Le Boulou really jumped out at us - Thérèse Figueur, also known as "Madame Sans-Gêne" the Duchess of Danzig who I played (yes, me!) in a play at University when French theatre was all the rage!

The tour was planned for the early afternoon, and anyone who wants to attend these things has sign up, so we contacted the Tourist Office at Le Boulou and Anthony gave us all the details we needed, times and meeting points, as well as a few more intriguing details to whet our appetites.


After lunch, we left our BnB in Argelès-sur-Mer and drove to meet this famous Thérèse! It takes about 15 minutes to get to Le Boulou along the D618 and the Tourist Office is easy to find. Anthony (the feller we had on the phone) asked us to wait patiently in the forecourt of the church ... where Teresa herself arrived dressed in a magnificent soldier's uniform. Her hilarious banter started straight away and didn't stop until the end!.

The surroundings and the costumes give you a real feeling of travelling back in time - to the Battle of Boulou and the War of the Pyrenees.

With her true stories, dripping with historical facts, our colourful guide introduced us to Le Boulou in a most unusual way - we had no inkling there was so much heritage in the town! It's amazing how you can walk past a site or a building with so many stories to tell without ever being aware of it. Myriam and I recommend this visit to anyone going Le Boulou and who is interested in finding out a bit more about their holiday destination.