More than once I’ve boarded a train at Strasbourg Gare thinking that I’ve been lucky enough to, more or less, get a carriage to myself. Only to find, at the actual moment of departure, the bloody thing is packed!

This phenomenon is down entirely to the country’s addiction to smoking. Before departure you are guaranteed to find half of the passengers of any given carriage loitering on the station platform getting their last nicotine fix before the journey. At the sound of the whistle they all leap on, reeking of fags, and bundle into their seats – spoiling the illusion for us non-smokers.

Whether this cute little activity will still persist after the introduction of the Ban on smoking in public places (if it comes in) remains to be seen.