Visite guidée. Robert PIMLEY


Visitors to Belfast somehow don’t seem to be deterred by our often inclement weather. Many are easy to spot making their way round the city in large groups following a guide pointing out interesting features that locals seem not to notice. The word blasé might describe the resident’s apparent indifference. The weather was dependably unseasonal for the cercle’s last event of the year as a dozen or so members gathered for a visite guidée led round and conducted in French by Robert PIMLEY.

Robert has plenty of experience leading groups from France and while the majority take place from the comfort of a tour bus, he is just as at home in the pedestrianised areas of the “Half Bap” and the Cathedral Quarter.

Underway
Assembling at the Dark Horse at 18h 30 precisely our exploration starts with the Café House itself and the just completed embellishment of a poetry courtyard. The long term feature of dozens of yellow umbrellas suspended upside-down from the entry’s ceiling is just visible through the new gates - tantalisingly close as the rain falls heavily.

French groups visiting Belfast

Commercial Court as usual has plenty of people impervious to the weather and taking for granted the loud and clear commentary in French. They are used to such comings, soundings and goings. What was nice about this walk was that Robert treated us as if we were another of his French groups encountering the stops en route as if seeing them for the first time. This approach would be useful for those members who might at some future point find themselves in the role of escorting their visiting Francophone friends around the city.


On foot and on screen 
The visite made its way to various places of interest and eventually returned full cercle to the Dark Horse where part two of the evening would shortly begin. The sound and aroma of grinding coffee and French accordion music percolated the dampness. The physical tour over, it was time to join the virtual one.
In a sequence of about 30 diapositives Robert took us further afield to the compass points of Belfast. Again we were treated as French visitors who had arrived on a medium sized cruise ship in the Port of Belfast. This ship docks in Belfast several times a year and on one occasion was able, due to its size, to dock at Portrush.

The sequence of slides absorbed us for the next 45 minutes and this attendee picked up some interesting new facts about this place called home.

Un très grand merci !
Robert’s coffee had gone cold by the time he finished his tour de force - almost two hours in loud, clear French - and his tour groups, physical and virtual, expressed their warm appreciation.
Outside the rain showed little sign of easing as we left the final session of this year’s programme. At the courtyard another guide and another group, this time English-speaking, were looking through the gates - those parapluies still tantalisingly close.


Note: The programme for our 2019-20 season has now been finalised,  There is plenty to suit a range of interests.
Back in September,  À la prochaine !