The Tour de France Grand Depart: Why Yorkshire is actually part of France

by Simon Henry @simlington

People in both the Lycra-clad cycling world and the less tight-fitting normal world were amazed when Yorkshire became part of the Tour de France.

The idea did seem a bit weird at first – after all, Yorkshire’s in England, not France.

And 62% of bikes in Leeds get nicked within a month of purchase.

But Yorkshire and France have more in common than you may think – a spooky similarity that goes way beyond both being inhabited by Homo Sapiens and having North Sea coasts.

Here are some very good reasons why Yorkshire is secretly French.

We’re both very good at shrugging.

As everyone knows, the French don’t actually say: ‘Je ne sais pas.’

They shrug it.

Similarly, Yorkshire folk are people of few words – ‘No’, ‘Can’t’ and ‘Won’t’. And a Gallic shrug is a more likely response to most questions than any of these negative monosyllables.

We both make a lot of cheese.

Wensleydale, Swaledale and Yorkshire Blue are only some of the crumbly and pungent masterpieces produced in ‘God’s own county’.

The French famously can’t be governed because they make so many different cheeses.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire people are famously constipated or ‘bunged-up’ because of the sheer volume of cheese they get down their necks.

My dad had fruit tea cakes with cheese inside for his ‘jock’ (lunch sandwiches) for 27 years until my mum asked him if he wanted a change in 1998. He shrugged – and has been on tuna mayonnaise ever since.

We have a very strong sense of our own importance.

Or arrogance – if you’re not French or Yorkshire.
Enough said.
You’re all just jealous you’re not us.

Sparkling water

It’s a close run thing between Evian and Harrogate for the ‘best sparkling water in the world’ crown.

I don’t like to brag (much) but what I will say is that I’ve seen Harrogate sparkling water stocked in shops as far and wide as Liverpool, Nottingham and Clwyd (wherever that is.)

And it does have more bubbles in it than Evian. Just an observation.

We’re both gigantic

France is massive. It always amazes you when you look at a map and see how enormous it actually it is.

How did Henry VIII and all those kings and earls in history think they could conquer it?

This was before the ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ jibe had been invented. They probably had some ‘arrogant’ Yorkshire blood in them.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire is officially ‘England’s biggest and most magnificent county’.

When I say ‘officially’ I mean that’s the phrase Tourism Yorkshire made up.

But I like it. A lot.
It’s magnificent.

Like Yorkshire.

We both like flat headwear.

The flat cap and beret are suspiciously similar.

The flat cap being marginally more stylish – especially if you’re taking a whippet or a ferret for a walk down the Champs Élysées

Flour and fat

The Yorkshire pudding is basically a savoury version of the croissant isn’t it?

Eric Cantona.

I know Eric became known as Manchester United’s second best player ever after Georgie Best, RIP. And I know he did his best karate kick while wearing red.

But he came to Yorkshire first – a trial at Sheffield Wednesday was followed by a spell playing for Leeds United.

And he would have obviously stayed in the magnificent county of Yorkshire had certain alleged events not happened.

Always remember the French legend’s first choice was Yorkshire.

Floral symbols

We both have white flowers as our symbol.

The Fleur de Lis and the White Rose both smell nice and last for around five days in tepid water before they start to lose their petals.


If you enjoyed this, you may like this post How the Tour de France weekend gives us all 6 lessons in happiness

My Posts about sport include lessons in losing from the World Cup, why marathons aren’t necessarily good for you and a Boat Race special.

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Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014


4 thoughts on “The Tour de France Grand Depart: Why Yorkshire is actually part of France

  1. Maria Ingham

    Being a true Yorkshire lass myself, born at Sandal, just outside Wakefield, (well it was when I was born) but now living in rural s/w France (for health reasons) I can identify with every statement you have made. I was going to make a journey back over to watch the start of the TDF & surprise my family, but having spoken to my sister who actually lives in LEEDS she & her family are all going to the coast for a little R&R until Sunday.. I tell you this as the TDF is not coming close enough to us this year to watch in any comfort… & Bradley has a cold or sore throat.. so disappointed all round pour moi..


    1. Frank Harrison ( Francois) to youxxxxxxxx

      Do you mean Wiggy or are you wed to an Australian? If not will you marry me…???


  2. Simon Henry Post author

    Hope you’ll watch it on the telly and see some familiar places, Maria! (Sorry Bradley’s out.)
    People in Yorkshire are going crazy for the Tour.
    Exciting time to be in Yorkshire 🙂
    Thanks for reading the blog and your lovely comment.


  3. Pingback: How Yorkshire’s Tour de France weekend gives us all 6 lessons in happiness | Humour me: Smile, laugh, giggle, wet yourself with Simon Henry – simlington

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