Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Discovering France

While in France, I read Graham Robb's excellent The Discovery of France, about the various means by which people have travelled about France, the old routes and paths which are still there, hidden away as forest and other tracks, or as the IGN maps of France calls them , "chemins d'exploitation"; the railways, the branch lines which are now cycle routes or walks, the canals and so on. He mentions Roman roads, of which France probably had many, and those are still there in the imaginations of the present day people, as one of the older residents of the village where we have a house explained that the road through the valley was a Roman road. The village is certainly very old, (there is a brief history here) and although many of the houses look as if they were built about a century or so ago, the site has been occupied for centuries, and apparently even had a chateau at one stage. Graham Robb's book is an interesting read for anyone who thinks they know France, as they will almost certainly learn things they never knew. The accompanying picture shows Le Vaulmier at the start of the 20th century.

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