|Centre Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode, Calais.|
|A baffling lunp of German concrete.|
But for me the highlight of the day is arriving at Le Pont d'Ardres (the Bridge of Ardres). It is a superb example of the Geography teacher's communications knot. Here, the Calais to St. Omer Canal meets the Ardres Canal exactly where the main road from Calais to St Omer, the N43, is crossed by a minor road, the D228. Knit into that four towpaths and another minor road and you have a pretty complicated junction.
|Le Pont Sans Pareil, Ardes. Built 1750, demolished 1944.|
This was the solution that the French engineer Monsieur Barbier proposed in 1750-- Le Pont Sans Pareil. 'The Bridge with No Equal.' It was effectively a hemisphere pierced by four cylinders. And as if that was not complicated enough, to complete the communications list, when, later, the railway arrived, it was slipped in alongside. The importance of such a nodal point; the junction of two canals, three roads and a railway line, did not escaped the retreating German army in 1944 who blew it up.
|Le Pont d'Ardres, 2014|
In 1968, the Pont d'Ardres replaced the temporary structure which had been erected after the war.
Here you are looking northwards on a road bridge which spans the Ardres canal. In front of you is the railway line, beyond that, the four-branch crossroads of the Pont d'Ardres itself under which the two canals meet.
Although they now call the area, Le Pont d'Ardres, the old sign on the big white building tells a different tale.
To add a mischievous observation, in this time of national retrenchment in the face of threatened European federalism, the construction cost of the Pont Sans Pareil was 123,672 livres, 3 sols, 6 deniers.
This could be written: £123,672 3s 6d.
Does that remind you of anything?