This weekend, the biggest cycling race on the planet will come to Yorkshire for the very first time.

For the travelling fan, this is both fortunate and unfortunate. Fortunate because the place the locals like to call "God's Own County" is beautiful and its rolling hills will provide a stunning backdrop to "Le Grand Depart".

"It's a foreign country to other Englishmen, let alone to travelling French fans.

Unfortunate because, Yorkshire is... (how to put this?) a peculiar place. It often feels like a foreign country to other Englishmen, let alone to travelling French fans.

Thankfully we've compiled this fool-proof guide to help French folk find their feet. De rien Frenchies, de rien. 

1) Remember their saints are different to yours

Saint Jarvis of Cocker

In France you have Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the rest of the Catholic crowd. In Yorkshire, the saints are called Jarvis, Joe Cocker and Saint Alex of Turner.

If you learn a few of their more famous verses it'll go a long way with the locals.

2) You'll feel at home in Harrogate

Harrogate is surprisingly pretty. Photo: Wikipedia

OK so the high street where the first stage finishes ain't exactly the Champs Elysées but Harrogate is one of the prettier places in Yorkshire.

It will probably be pissing it down with rain of course, but get this: In 2013 Harrogate was actually voted third most romantic city in the world - above Paris! So if you're looking for a bit of oo la la, you've come to the right place.

3) Learn to love warm beer

Tetley's, John Smiths, Sam Smiths, Timothy Taylor's and Theakston are all from the land of the White Rose, so park your Kronenbourg at the pub door and get stuck in.

You'll find warm beer tastes surprisingly good after a few pints. And anyway, keeping it cold is more expensive...

4) You'd best learn the difference between standing a round and standing around.

"A Yorkshireman," the old saying goes, "is a Scotsman with all the generosity squeezed out of him." The locals are famously tight. Not only that, they're proud of it.

As the 'Yorkshiremen's motto' puts it: "Ear all, see all, say nowt; Eyt all, sup all, pay nowt; And if ivver tha does owt fer nowt -Allus do it fer thissen." Which roughly translates as "never, under any circumstances, buy a round."

5) Don't order a pudding


If you're expecting creme caramel, or something similarly sweet and delicious, you'll be sorely disappointed.

In Yorkshire a pudding is a stodgy, tasteless creation designed to fill you up so you eat less of the hosts' expensive meat (see point #4).

[part title="Watching the Tour de France in Yorkshire"]

Stage one of the Tour de France starts in Leeds, where you might be able to get a passable coffee. But you shouldn't really be drinking that...


6) You can forget about your morning coffee

I'm sure there are bearded hipster baristas in Leeds who'll try and replicate what you're used to, but honestly what are you doing drinking coffee in the home of Yorkshire Tea?

7) West Riding and East Riding don't mean what you think

Don't find yourself heading merrily off to North Riding in the mistaken belief that that's the way the err... riders have headed.

I know this is a bike race, but Riding means something different in Yorkshire. Don't ask me why, it just does.

8) Forget the English you learned at school

It's not just the riding thing that's funny oop north. You'll find that some things - like the continuing use of "thou and thee" (that's "tu and te" to you) - will make more sense to your French ears.

But otherwise you may as well give up on trying to understand them. Sentences like "I were waiting 10 while 6 so in t'end I did it me sen" are impenetrable to most English people.

You don't stand a chance I'm afraid.

9) Don't correct a local. Or challenge them to an arm wrestle

Despite the fact that you might have a better grasp of actual English grammar than the locals, it doesn't pay to correct them. As well as being tight, Yorkshiremen are notoriously stubborn.

"As well as being tight, Yorkshiremen are notoriously stubborn."

This is partly what makes people them great cyclists of course - the point blank refusal to give up. But under no circumstances should you challenge a local to a an arm wrestle.

Not only will you be there all night, but they're also bastard strong. "Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred, strong in arm but thick in head."

10) Don't get lost and land up in Hull

What about that shadowy place over there?

The city's name is just one vowel away from hell - and with good reason.

You know that bit in the Lion King where Simba asks "but what about that shadowy patch?" Hull is like that. You must never go there.

11) Don't mention the 'T' word.

She who must not be named

If there's one piece of advice you should take from this article, it's this: Never, under any circumstances, should you mention the woman who was Prime Minister of the UK between the years of 1979 and 1990.

"She-who-must-not-be-named" was more of a bitch to Yorkshire than she was to the rest of the country (which is saying something!) The locals haven't forgotten it.

Short of grabbing the kestrel off a young boy's shoulder and wringing its neck in front of him, there's nothing more offensive you could do than talk about her.

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