The TGV (very-high-speed train) is now firmly lodged in the landscape. After years of demonstrations, violent opposition, citizens' class-action lawsuits, it was nevertheless built. Local people now find it handy, if expensive. This summer, we did not play much our "TGV trick", our home-made attraction for the new-commers.
It goes like this. Park the car under a tree, close to a road-bridge crossing over the TGV tracks. Tell the innocent visitor: "Hey, why don't we go see the TGV?". The country road is empty, the cornfield are blond. Walk to the bridge in the deep country silence and settle your visitor on the bridge. After a while in the great serenity of nature, the TGV roars brutally out of a tunnel, at 300 kilometers per hour,a few hundred yards from us, and speeds savagely towards our group, on the bridge. The effect is guaranteed, I can assure you, even for us, who are accustomed to it. I am sure that the TGV driver panics as well, fearing a group suicide for a split second. The woosh, the noise...Whaou! that really wakes you up.