Mademoiselle Gougenheim

Towards the end of 1960 evidence shows Harry Binns making further attempts to distance himself both geographically and socially from the world in which he grew up. Perhaps as a deliberate ploy to erase his working class roots, the man from Crimple Valley is known to have struck up a relationship with a French society girl - Madamoiselle Genevieve Gouguenheim, of 73 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris.

How they met is unclear. Mlle Gouguenheim is known to have been an avid cycling fan, moving freely among the haute monde of the Tour de France machine. She is rumoured to have famously rebuffed the advances of Jacques Anquetil, at a post-Tour party in 1957, 'Monsieur Chrono' elated after his first of five Tour victories. Binns found Anquetil's economic and methodical approach to racing contradicted everything he championed about cycling. Stories of an incident in the French capital, on 15 July 1962, concerning a Peugeot racing bicycle landing on the roof of a passing Citroën H Van, suggest Binns did not take Monsieur Chrono's third Tour victory well. Although called to an address on Boulevard Haussmann, police reports indicated no arrests were made.

Binns had once again switched palate - ale supplanted for red wine; this the foundation of the Gouguenheim fortune. Although a year older than her brother Patrique, Genevieve became ostracised by the family elders, and most probably arranged with Binns an elopement to southern France. They may have been joint owners of Bistro Aigle d'Or, based in Bagnères-de-luchon.
© Sixteen Ninety-three 2014