French Coastlines invites us to explore the beauty and diversity of France’s coastal regions. Utalising stunning aerial footage as well as traditional on the ground footage, the natural landscape, history and architecture of the immense French coastline is explored over the course of ten episodes.
Each episode is a mixture of English voice over and French with English subtitles, and follows the coastline for a certain distance, stopping off at points of interest and occasionally interviewing locals about how they interact with the ocean or help preserve it.
I have to admit that one of the key reasons I got hold of a copy of French Coastlines was to see and hear about some of the effects of German occupation in World War two, especially the Atlantic Wall and the destruction caused by the Normandy landings.
Whilst it was certainly interesting to see at some points, German bunkers surviving as lonely islands in the raging Ocean in parts of the coast ravaged by rampant erosion, or on their sides at the bottom of steep cliffs, anything to do with what I would have though was a major point in French coastal history, was given no more attention that a sentence or two at the most and a sweeping aerial shot.
And this seemed to be one of the biggest issues with French Coastlines – there is just too much for a ten episode TV series to cover.
The in-depth look at what the locals were up to, seldom fell on an aspect of the coast that you were interested in. Sure, most of what was covered in greater detail was interesting for the most part and fascinating at times, but some of the stuff they rushed past had you wishing for more information.
A lot of time is given to how the locals relate to the sea, and how they preserve it, and old traditions was well.
Accompanied with stunning cinematography, these stories along with the all to brief bits of information on other parts of the coast make for an interesting, highly watchable series.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read