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Great British superspy has dedicated French followers

The biggest and longest running non-commercial James Bond Fan Club, is in France.

The UK had a James Bond Fan Club until 2007, there is one in Switzerland and Germany, but the Club James Bond France started in 1997, and is still going strong, with over 450 members.

Luc Le Clech has been its president for 16 years. He runs the Clos Léonard Hotel at Amboise, Indre-et-Loire, where each room has a James Bond film theme.

He remembers the day when he became hooked: “I was 15 and staying in Scarborough in England and I went to see The Spy Who Loved Me. It was the day Elvis Presley died, on August 16, 1977. The film was a revelation and 40 years later I am still just as passionate.

“I love it all, the cars, the girls, the gadgets, the fantastic stories. I still think the films keep their magic. The choice of Daniel Craig was perfect as a new incarnation of the role.”

Pictured above: Mr Le Clech next to James Bond’s famous Aston Martin DB5

Craig has starred in four Bond movies and, after much speculation has signed up for a fifth one, due in autumn 2019.

The French James Bond club prides itself on producing three glossy magazines a year containing articles on a range of 007 Bond-related subjects: “It is really a professional product with fantastic photos, and we talk about the actors, the film sets, the stories, there are so many aspects to cover. All of us give our time and our expertise for free and contribute for the love of Bond.”

There is also one magazine a year with an in depth look at one subject. The next one will be The Dalton Years, 1987-1989.

So how come the British hero is so popular in France? “The French and the British have been rivals throughout history, but in truth, the French love the British. If you go to the UK, you don’t need the sun. It is just perfect being there with a coat, a hat and a scarf, walking in the mist along the streets of London. It’s just a thrill to think of it.”

Bond has always had close connections with France. In the Ian Fleming novels he would go to Juan-les-Pins to recuperate after his adventures.

Many of the scenes from many of the films have been shot in France, including a spectacular jump from the Eiffel Tower in A View to Kill, Château d’Anet in Thunderball and a beach in southern France in Diamonds are Forever.

Mr Le Clech passes a great deal of his spare time involved in the club, but says they have been able to keep up the quality of their publications and events due to a dedicated team. He also says activities have been supported by the film industry and he is often solicited for interviews when a new film is released.

He has been on set during filming and has met Daniel Craig three times. “Little did I know,” he says, “when I went to the cinema in Scarborough, that I would become the president of the Club James Bond France.”

The Club (jamesbond007.net) would welcome Anglophone members. For those living in France it costs €55 a year or €120 for the Gold Option, with which you receive a free copy of the annual special publication as well as the three general Le Bond magazines.    

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