Catherine Pinchetti writes a series of books on the regions of France which takes you on a journey to better understand their spirit and guides you through their multiple facets. France presents an exceptional variety of landscapes and cultures within surprisingly short distances. Formed over a thousand years, the French territory has been redrawn several times, from former provinces to regions.
Nevertheless, its local people’s heritage,–le patrimoine in French-, natural, historical, cultural, has so deeply shaped it that even today’s changes remind that ‘la mémoire est l’avenir du passé’ (‘Memory is the future of the past’)*.
Why does a particular French area feel the way it does? How did it come to be the way it is? How is it changing? Beyond the usual discourse of travel books or websites, this book and those which will follow provide an insight into the daily life of a region of France and the distinctive character of its people. Light and compact, this French companion invites any reader intrigued by the diversity of France to go further, according to interests and affinities, and connect with French voices, contemporary or from long ago, ordinary or famous, through the tales, songs and lessons shared in the special Voices of France section.
The regions of France are fascinating and have inspired a host of books. This book, however, is different: it captures the essence of Languedoc-Roussillon but is also directly connected to its contemporary realities, it is comprehensive, yet short and easy to read.
Sun-drenched Languedoc-Roussillon was the cradle of Roman Gaul, and spawned its wine co-operatives and denim, the world’s staple clothing material. It is the birthplace of iconic singers such as Charles Trenet and Georges Brassens, and the poet-philosopher Paul Valéry. Its coast is the western and southernmost half of mainland Mediterranean France, curving round towards Spain. Collectively, this is France’s largest and oldest vineyard, and among the largest in the world. Here, bulls and horses are a passion, local rugby clubs are among the best in the country, and the memory of rebels against northern French rule — Cathars, Protestant Camisards, rebelling wine-growers, Résistants —is not forgotten.
It is a strongly defined region: a place of contrasts, resistance and cultural heritage with its Occitan and Catalan-driven Mediterranean lifestyle. It is today the most attractive area in France, with a population of nearly three million, though it does have its economic problems.
This book was inspired by the Author’s former students of French, and as a result gives many different insights into the character of the region which they sought; it also lets real-life Languedocians and Catalans, past or contemporary, speak about their land through a selection of original extracts offered with their English translation.
The Spirit of LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON
Published by Packard Publishing
Auvergne conjures up many images. Its immense and strange landscapes, shaped by the largest concentration of volcanoes in mainland Europe, are an outdoor paradise. It is France’s ‘water capital’, for its mineral drinking water and thermal springs have been known for over 2000 years. Its heartland of the old Massif Centralis ancient Celtic territory, whose hero, the warrior Vercingétorix, led the Gallic revolt against the colonizing Romans, is a French national legend. Here there is a mythical ‘deep France’, which injects a fantasized past into its picture-book medieval towns, villages and castles, venerable crafts and the earthy flavours of its cheeses, meats or Puy lentils.
This harsh and austere land suffered isolation and massive emigration to Paris at the turn of the twentieth century, but nevertheless retained its strong identity. Among its native citizens, it counts three
French Presidents, the Marquis de La Fayette and Blaise Pascal; you can add to them exceptional breeds of cattle and the Michelin rubber and mapping empire! Today, having unlocked and capitalized on its
traditional values, Auvergne welcomes newcomers with a promise of a greener, more fulfilling life.
This book was inspired by the curiosity of the Author’s former students of French, which resulted in providing many different insights into the character of Auvergne. It also lets real-life Auvergnats, past or
contemporary, speak about their land through a selection of original extracts offered with their English translation.
The Spirit of AUVERGNE
Published by Packard Publishing