100 years ago: Dreyfus rehabilitated
It's a 100 years ago, but in France it's still a big thing : TheDreyfus Affair. In July 2006, after twelve years of false accusations of betrayal to the Germans, the Jewish captain Alfred Dreyfus (already twice condemned) was rehabilitated by the highest French court. Emile Zola wrote his famous words "J'accuse" to support Dreyfus.
France 2 Broadcasting has a dossier on the affair, saying the false accusations against Dreyfus were no judicial errors: ,,They were judicial crimes.''
The Paris based Museum of Jewish Art and History made an
exhibition, loaded with original documents. It shows the Dreyfus case as an example of the difficult integration of Jews in France.
By the way: the house in Medan, where Zola wrote "J'accuse" and many other works, may be visted. Next to it, a Zola museum will be build shortly.
Posted by Peter at 07:20 AM [What do you think?]
Best swimming places in France
Lots of people like to swim in open water during holidays, if only to cool down after a hot day on a beach. They like it best when the water is clean. Now, especially in European seas the swimming water gets cleaner, the environment site Notre Planete reports.
In France, the government keeps track of the condition of the main swimming areas on the Internet. Just select a region or click on the map. In case you wonder: the small spots nexty to tghe map of France are Corsica (down under) and the overseas territories of France.
In some cases, the website also mentions the services a place offers to the swimming public.
Posted by Peter at 07:34 AM [What do you think?]
Architect have a habit of building as high as possible for ages. Be it a gothic church or a World Trade Center, it has to be very, very high. However, there are always people going the other way.
In the Loire region, the soil of soft rocks made it possible to dig underground houses. This was done often in the middle ages, sometimes upto half a mile from the opning hole in a cliff. The village of Trôo is an exemple. But even in the plains cave houses were build, making use of quarries like in Rochemenier.
It comes to no surprises these houses are nowadays used as wine cellars and to raise mushrooms. Meanwhile, the tourist office will be glad to explain you also find restaurants and even hotel rooms in these caves.
Posted by Peter at 07:17 AM [What do you think?]
Hiking with a handicapped person
A blog like this could easily be filled with thousands of hikes, one even more surprising then another. That's nice, except when you've got a handicapped person in your party. On narrow mountain trails and sandy beaches a wheelchair won't bring you far.
You will welcome the Joëlette, some strange vehicle invented by a French mountain guide. This wheelchair has only one wheel and it's pulled, pushed and carried at the same time by two healthy. Of course, this wil not give back authonomy to the disabled, but at least it will bring them to places they could only dream of.
By now, there's a club called Umen organizing trips by Joëlette. On the island of Belle Ile (Brittany), the local tourist officehas some of these things for rent. By the way, it warns you have to have some experience to handle this 'wheelchair'.
Posted by Peter at 07:04 AM [What do you think?]
A day to remember
Today is a day to remember. On june 10th, 1944, The German Waffen SS entered the tiny village of Oradour-sur-Glane, near Limoges. They killed 642 citizens and burned down the village, for no obvious reason. Despite an enquiery ordered by De Gaulle, resulting in 80 pages filled with facts (called: the Huns at Oradour), nobody found a good explanation for the blind anger by the Germans.
Souviens-toi (Commemorate) is the title of a private website about this tragedy. Now that's possible. The French made the decision to leave the ruins as they were to make it a permanent monument. They buil De Fransen hebben de ruïnes bewust laten staan. There is a memorial center, the Centre de la Mémoire with exhibitions about Oradour and other World War 2 disasters.
To finish: UK-based Michael Williams has made a useful site about Oradour too: Oradour.info.
Posted by Peter at 07:05 AM [2 reactions]
A priest honouring the holy cow
Most of the time it is a more or less sleeping city on the countryside. On June 17th and 18th however, Le Mans will be the heart of the world, at least for everybody who loves car sports. But hey, if you're in Le Mans, you will think everybody loves car sports. Even the local priest, the one of the Le Mans cathedral, will have his services dedicated to the holy cow.
If you want to see the races live in Le Mans, you will have to take a chance. The online reservation is closed already, but there are some tickets left for those who arrive without.
Posted by Peter at 07:44 AM [What do you think?]
Once, Paris was a paradise for Arabs
New riots are starting in the suburbs of Paris, with Arab youngsters fighting the police. The Arabs in these areas do not have a future and are angry because after last years riots nothing has been done to improve their situation.
One would easily forget, Paris had an appreciated Arab community for centuries. For a long time, one needed to speak Arab to study medicines or philosophy. The French were early in translating the Koran. Especially in the 19th century, many intellectual Arabs moved to Paris. Arab science was in high esteem.
The 5th district in the heart of the city was an Arab district for ages. Nowadays, we do find the imposing building of the Institut du Monde Arabe (Ima) (Institute of the Arab World) over here. Now this instute organizes excursions to show the rich French-Arab heritage in this district.
don't be afraid to participate: the suburbs are a long way from the Ima.
Posted by Peter at 07:19 AM [What do you think?]