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News - Miscellaneous - 22 Jan 2008

News Item 1494 of 1498 

Miscellaneous: 22 Jan 2008
Swingers make love, not war, at Vimy Ridge

Exhibitionism. Cruising in the woods. Swinging couples.

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France has become a gathering place for some French citizens looking for kinky sex.

Yesterday, a French couple appeared at the courthouse in nearby Arras on charges of sexual exhibitionism at the First World War memorial.

Another woman, who describes herself as being 35, appears on an "amateurs" website, which features 10 photos of her in various states of undress, which she boasts were snapped at the Vimy monument.

On the first picture, the woman, in a miniskirt and showing her bra, is leaning against a stone rampart where the names of missing First World War Canadian soldiers are etched.

The rest of the explicit pictures accompany the woman's flashing episode, which she said concluded with her having sex with two men.

On another website, the monument's parking lot is described as a place for cruising and for swingers.

A spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said the Canadian government hopes yesterday's court appearance will send a message.

"At this point, our participation in the French legal system will be enough of a deterrent," said Richard Roik. "Inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated."

The memorial's size and remote location might explain its popularity with sexual thrill-seekers.

About two hours drive north of Paris, the site sprawls across an isolated area, removed from any neighbouring villages and still crisscrossed by trenches and gullies.

On, a French site that advertises "naughty places" and "swingers' meeting places," Vimy is one of several listed locations.

Driving directions to Vimy are given in one posting from Jan. 8, guiding aficionados to the memorial's parking lot.

"There's cruising in the woods behind the parking lot. In the evening it's directly in the parking," the site says. "Watch out in the evening, there are also swinging couples."

According to the local paper La Voix du Nord, the man and woman who appeared in court yesterday are in their 40s and had been charged in October.

The married couple was identified by a police unit specializing in cyber-surveillance, even though the woman's face had been electronically smudged.

The couple's court hearing unfolded behind closed doors. A ruling is expected Monday.

La Voix du Nord noted the thoughtlessness of people indulging in sex acts on such hallowed grounds.

"In the minds of Canadians, the historical site of Vimy nearly marks the birth of their country. If we dare sully the memory of those soldiers who died during World War I, it's the whole country that we sully," the paper said on its website yesterday.

The four-day battle at Vimy in 1917 cost 3,598 Canadian lives and left thousands wounded, marking a coming of age for Canada's military.


TU THANH HA , Globe And Mail

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