History of France

History of France

France serves as a bridge between the ancient and the new and as curator to the spirit of discovery and the controversy of progress- providing a compelling backdrop for some of the most provocative moments in history. To travel in France is to foster a uniquely personal interpretation of history. From artful expressions of the world to the profundity of human struggle, the rich history of France and her passionate relationship to humanity will provide the traveler an exciting education and an exhilarating journey.

Peer into ancient history with a visit to the Carnac Stones; Neolithic rock formations built between 4500 and 3300 B. C. or venture into the caves at Lascaux for a glimpse of 17,300 year old cave paintings. Touch the ancient stones of castles. Take a train across any region of France and you will see the profound mark of history in every measure of land, and city, and sea.

There is no shortage of evidence that France has played a powerful role in art throughout history. From Van Gogh’s fascination with the peculiar and bustling street life of Montmarte in Paris to Picasso’s beloved castle and later burial ground-Chateau de Vauvernargues in Provence, one of a kind historic collections can be found throughout the countryside and conveniently reached by train. The Maeght Foundation, a fascinating architectural ensemble built in Saint Paul de Vence, showcases art in a diversity of forms, and was purposefully built to enlighten visitors to modern and contemporary art in both function and beauty. And with the vast collections of the Louvre and Orsay Museums, one is certain that France will entertain, educate, and leave the traveler forever inspired by a carefully nurtured history of art.

France also preserves a powerful record of wartime history. The stoic beaches of Normandy tell a reverent story of the impact of World War II. One can take a train through Normandy and enlist tours designed to educate visitors and commemorate and honour soldiers from this prolific war. Reaching further into history, one can follow the story of Joan of Arc from her birth in Domremy-la-Pucelle to her part in regaining Orleans from the British, and finally to the Rouen Marketplace in Normandy where her fiery death immortalized her as a hero for France. The potential for any level of military historian to discover the stories, monuments, and influences in France’s war history is significant, and the journey to each is in itself a study of the countryside and culture that has sprung from these tribulations of history.

The entirety of France is a dreamlike collection of architectural history. The Loire Valley, once the capital of French aristocracy, abounds with castles. Burgundy is well noted for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture. In the south of France, one can visit the Palace of Versailles, an extraordinary example of French classical architecture built by Louis XIII in 1624 and noted for its extravagance and meticulously designed interiors. Reims Cathedral in the Champagne-Ardenne region was a ceremonial site for future kings. Architecture is indicative of the history of society. Its risks, implications, and innovations underscore progress and vision. In France, this avenue to history is perhaps one of the most engaging in the world.

History often sits patiently in the background of a journey; some places inspire little attention to their origin, or tradition, or heart. In France, history is passionate companion full of mythical stories and provocative imagery. Travel in France is a promise of immersion in history- a surreal glimpse at her immaculate heart.