Travel book: The Discovery of France

By Chris Eagles

Add a comment

The Discovery of France
by Graham Robb
MacMillan, $27.99

'The Discovery of France', by Graham Robb. Image / Supplied
'The Discovery of France', by Graham Robb. Image / Supplied

This is a fascinating eye-opener to the history of a country, which this book made me realise I knew very little about - despite being separated from my birthplace only by the narrow barrier of the English Channel.

For instance, I wasn't previously aware that 300 years ago, when England had a well-established monarchy, a parliament and a reasonable tradition of law and order, rural France was no more than a collection of tribes and communities, living in small enclaves, and speaking their own language. Paris, of course, was the exception.

Even the French Revolution didn't really unite the country. People in France did not even consider themselves French until relatively recently.

Graham Robb's intense study of this beautiful country began on the seat of a bicycle, which he thought appropriate as it was the humble bike which first opened up France to travellers, and evidently continues today.

The result is a book which is both extraordinarily informative and delightfully entertaining. It's the perfect preparation for a visit to France.

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 29 Nov 2014 09:40:11 Processing Time: 510ms