Chugging out of Paris for suburban parts this afternoon, our eyes were caught by a Union Jack on a passing road sign. I always assumed that those twinning deals were pretty much entirely for the benefit of the British half of the bargain. Some rural backwater or soulless new town in the UK would gain a little continental glamour and some cross-channel jollies while their French counterparts stood around scratching their heads and humouring les Rosbifs and their strange fancies. After all, what could the French side possibly hope to gain from the arrangement? Some Cheddar? Mad cows? Salad cream? Surely, I thought, the minute the mayor of wherever and his entourage had gone back to Blighty the local dignitaries would heave a sigh of relief, put away their little British flags and pretend nothing had happened.
But I was wrong. For there is at least one borough of Paris, city of light, that considers itself so nondescript, so undistinguished, that the local Mairie felt it would gain a certain je ne sais quois from a sign announcing it was twinned with Enfield.