Standing Before a King: Vauban’s Legacy in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Ten years since the legacy of France’s greatest military engineer was recognised by UNESCO, Sue Smith travels to Bourgogne-Franche-Comté to see the mark Vauban left on his homeland "Burgundy?” said my friends, eyes wide like...

Remembering Oradour-sur-Glane

As Remembrance Day approaches (November 11), we are reminded of the horrors of war and of the soldiers who have given their service and often their life in the name of freedom. The day...

Parisian Walkways: Cour du Commerce Saint-André in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

This oasis of calm off the boulevard Saint-Germain hasn’t always been so refined and urbane. Jeffrey T Iverson discovers the dark past of a truly historic Parisian passageway... Generally speaking, the old business maxim of...

Augustin Trébuchon: The Last French Soldier to Fall in the First World War

As centenary commemorations for the First World War draw to a close, Gillian Thornton discovers the story of the last French soldier to die Over the past four years I’ve seen an awful lot of...

Read the Signs: Rue Marie-Stuart in Paris

How a street lost its ribald name (perhaps...) According to the story... One day Mary Queen of Scots asked an innocent question. Following her all-too-brief marriage to Francis II, the Dauphin of France, the teenage...

Rue des Ursins: An Overlay of New and Old on Ile de la Cité,...

This Ile de la Cité street is Paris old and Paris new, all jammed into a rue 113 meters long and four meters wide. Two blocks away from Notre Dame, Rue des Ursins is...

Home Free: Voltaire’s Chateau at Ferney has Reopened its Doors

In these days of political correctness gone mad and outright intolerance, the reopening of Voltaire’s ‘bastion of free speech’ hasn’t come a moment too soon. Following a three-year €9m renovation, the philosopher and all-round...

Ernest Lavisse: A Little Book Makes a Big Comeback

It arrived in a bundle of second-hand books intended for a fund-raising sale - "it" being the Histoire de France: cours moyen by one Ernest Lavisse (18th edition, 1921). Worn round the edges, as might...

Nanny State: History of the Morvan’s Nourrices

Guy Hibbert delves into the Morvan’s little-known past as a breeding ground for nourrices... If you were a well-heeled Parisian lady in the 18th or 19th century, the last thing you needed to spoil the...

Great Wine Destinations: Alsace, Triumph over Adversity

The region of France with the most tumultuous history is also that which produces some of its very best wines. Jeffrey T Iverson heads east Most oenophiles agree that complexity is the sine qua non...