BERGERAC – the town with the big fake nose

Cyrano - Australian readers may notice a striking resemblance to John Bell playing the role at Sydney Theatre Company.

Australian readers may notice a striking resemblance to John Bell playing Cyrano for Sydney Theatre Company many years ago. And is that Roxane at the window?


‘How long will it take us to find a statue of Cyrano in Bergerac?’ I ask as we drive into that French town.

Though there was once a real Cyrano de Bergerac who inspired Edmond Rostand’s classic play about the poet with panache and protruding proboscis, there’s no reason to think he ever visited the town in his lifetime.

That doesn’t stop Bergeracians cashing in on his reputation. We park in front of Boulangerie Cyrano, drink café in Café Cyrano, walk a block and find the man himself in front of Maison Cyrano.

Look - there's another Cyrano statue on the left of the square.

Look – there’s another Cyrano statue on the left of the square.

It sets me thinking about other towns that have turned a fictional reference into tourist dollars.

Verona certainly does it with its ‘actual’ Juliet balcony, constructed in the 1930s, I believe.

Under 'Juliet's Balcony', Verona. A wall you can scrawl on, a statue you can touch, a balcony for your selfies...

Under ‘Juliet’s Balcony’, Verona. A wall you can scrawl on, a statue you can touch, a balcony for your selfies…

The Musicians of Bremen never actually made it into town in the folktale, yet they’re well and truly there now.

The Musicians have made it into Bremen Town now.

The Musicians have made it into Bremen Town now.


Not far away, Hamelin is predictably swarming with rats, though the Pied Piper is supposed to have expelled them.
The tower in Hamelin, where the rats appear like clockwork.

The tower in Hamelin, where the rats appear like clockwork.


What others are there? I don’t mean birthplaces of writers, like Stratford upon Avon. I’m thinking of touristy places whose connection to a story is pure invention. Casablanca, maybe? Bethlehem (ducks for cover!)?? Suggestions?

Meanwhile, I recommend a visit to Bergerac, should you be passing through the Dordogne. It’s an attractive place in its own right, with or without its big-nosed hero.

Bergerac with Restaurant l'Imparfait. We didn't try their 'imperfect' cuisine, but I like the honest name.

Bergerac with Restaurant l’Imparfait. We didn’t try their ‘imperfect’ cuisine, but I like the honest name.

9 Comments

Filed under France

9 responses to “BERGERAC – the town with the big fake nose

  1. Jim Moore

    Winslow, Arizona.

  2. Oh yes, I should have thought of the dog doing its thing on the tucker box in Gundagai.

  3. Charles

    Captain Cook’s Cottage in Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens

  4. kevinmayne

    Platform 9 and three-quarters at Kings Cross Station?

    • Nice one, Kevin. I just googled it and found out it really is there for selfie purposes. Smart move by British Rail!

      • kevinmayne

        As far as I can tell these days Richard almost everything is there for selfie purposes.

        If Verona didn’t have a Juliet balcony it would have to be added now – for the selfies!

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