Bastia: Corsica Calling

A cynic may suggest that the main reason Napoléon Bonaparte made Ajaccio the capital of Corsica in 1791 was because he’d been born there. Before that, Bastia held itself pre-eminent for centuries, and it...

From Louis XIV to Napoleon: Feast Fit for a King

From the cheese emergency that brought down the monarchy to Napoleon’s fondness for waffles, we lift the veil on royals’ guilty pleasures What makes a feast fit for a king? The long and short of...

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...

A Taste of Freedom: On the Trail of Oscar Wilde in Paris

For persecuted playwright Oscar Wilde, Paris was the only place he could truly feel at home. Chloe Govan retraces the famous libertine’s footsteps in the city that embraced him According to the British press, poet...
Hachis Parmentier, Mardi Michels

Hot Potato: The History of Hachis Parmentier

Author and French cookery expert Mardi Michels reveals that the French were rather slow to embrace the humble spud, considering it only good for animal fodder. Hachis (the “h” and the “s” are silent) Parmentier...