Tag Archives: World War II

Un café, s’il vous plaît

Coffee fuels the French, who have a penchant for strong black espresso-type coffee. Having to use coffee substitutes during World War II must have been a real hardship in that case. A chance remark to that effect during a recent … Continue reading

Posted in Food/drink/recipes, French life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Death of a Village: Oradour-sur-Glane

I wasn’t sure if I should write about this at all. Visiting Oradour-sur-Glane near Limoges this week, I felt like a voyeur. The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich slaughtered 642 people and torched the village on 10th June 1944, … Continue reading

Posted in History, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

8th May 1945: End of a War

Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Last year, we went to the annual ceremony in our village but we couldn’t go this year. This is always a moving event, attended by local dignitaries and representatives … Continue reading

Posted in History, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Monsieur C – One of a Dying Breed

Today, we visited an elderly farmer neighbour, whose wife is in hospital with respiratory problems. They were the first local French people we met in 1997. Monsieur F has always been difficult to understand because of his strong regional accent … Continue reading

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Sheltering Jews in SW France During World War II

  Today, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet troops. The unspeakable horror of these places has been described in memoirs and contemporary film footage. But very few survivors remain and … Continue reading

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Bordeaux #2: Sustenance for Body and Soul

  Our mouths watered as we strolled past the displays of fish, fresh produce and pâtisserie at the Quai des Chartrons market. The air rang with the raucous cries of the fishmongers as they broadcast their wares, while wielding filleting … Continue reading

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The Liberation of Montauban, 19th August 1944

  This is a year for commemorations in France. The most obvious is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I on 4th August. It’s also the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings and the eventual liberation of … Continue reading

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Every Château Has a Story: #1 Le Château de Cas

Châteaux, large and small, have played an integral part in the history of France. Some have been at the centre of national events; others have been less affected by them, but nonetheless have a story to tell. This is the … Continue reading

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Unexpected Finds About World War II at a Vide-Greniers

It’s that time of year again. You only have to park the car for five minutes and you find your windscreen bristling with flyers for vide-greniers (jumble sales). Around here, there’s at least one a week for the foreseeable future. … Continue reading

Posted in Books/writing, Customs, History, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Spanish Cemetery at Septfonds: a Moving Monument

Returning from an airport run yesterday, I decided to stop off at the village of Septfonds. I wanted to visit the Spanish Cemetery, one of my 10 things to do in SW France this year. There’s a poignant history connected … Continue reading

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A Story of the French Resistance during World War II

This week, during our walk with our local group we took a route that we had never followed before. At once point we crossed a road and came upon the granite monument above, which marks the spot where a local … Continue reading

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When the Mona Lisa Smiled on the Aveyron

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is arguably the most famous painting in the world. Now permanently exhibited in the Louvre in Paris, it is probably one of the best travelled as well. It even had a brief sojourn in southwest … Continue reading

Posted in Aveyron, French life, History, Places, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Favourite French Films # 1 Le Vieux Fusil

I am not a great devotee of French film. I find it either self-consciously existentialist or self-conscious full stop. However appealing Audrey Tautou might be, I found ‘Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain’ desperately irritating and had to switch off after 10 … Continue reading

Posted in French life, History, Personalities, Places, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A dying breed

The stereotyped vision of a French peasant is of an old man wearing a beret with a Gitane permanently screwed into the corner of his mouth, riding a bicycle or driving a rusting 2CV.  These days, they mostly drive air-conditioned tractors … Continue reading

Posted in French life, History, Personalities, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments