mardi 17 septembre 2013

Let's hear it for La Vache Qui Rit - the laughing cow

This, believe it or not, is the hot, happening tourist destination of Rennes-les-Bains, 20 mins or so from my front door, pictured circa 1900.

I can't help thinking that the noble art of publicity photography has matured since this somewhat passive shot was taken.

RLB was actually brand new at the time, built to capitalise on the locality's natural hot springs, at a time when health spas suddenly became popular all over Europe.

In fact the village was heaving in summer as thousands of grockles descended on the place to take The Cure. This treatment survives to our own times, mostly being a variety of different ways to stay soaking wet every day for two weeks. Apparently it's good for your rheumatism.

This all begs the question of why on earth produce a postcard that gives a fair impression of nuclear winter? Practically no leaves on the trees and hardly a soul to be seen. Venez nombreux à Rennes-les-Bains! Meet our resident old duck, Madame Olive, and Suzette the solitary sprog. And let's hear it for our resident comedian La Vache Qui Rit! (note cow's bum, bottom right).

That may possibly be a pet dinosaur to the left of Madame Olive or just some exotic topiary . . .

* La Vache Qui Rit, which translates as The Laughing Cow, is a popular "plastic" cheese, very similar to Dairylea.

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