34. A Tour de France – Lyon

“You never see anyone in the countryside.” – Jacquou le Croquant

Hello everyone! This week we’ll continue our new miniseries: our very own Tour de France. What kind of France exists outside the boundaries of Paris? What kind of France exists in the middle of the countryside? What does someone in Paris have in common with someone in the Pyrenées? How many kinds of French people are there? What makes someone truly “French” anyway? For the next six episodes, we’ll be tracing the route of the original Tour de France, traveling through the “in between places” – the vast countryside which traditionally held most of the French population. Beginning in the tiny village of Montgeron, then passing through Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and finally returning to Paris, we’ll be eating, drinking and exploring our way through the nation. On y va!

Episode 33: “A Tour de France – Lyon”

Pictures from 1903 Tour de France – Lyon:

Stage 1 Finish Line, 1903 Tour de France, Lyon
Stage 1 Finish Line, 1903 Tour de France, Lyon


The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography – Graham Robb, 2008.

Travels Through The South of France And In The Interior of The Provinces of Provence and Languedoc – Ninian Pinkney


Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914 – Eugen Weber, 1976.

Rural Society and French Politics: Boulangism and the Dreyfus Affair, 1886-1900 – Michael Burns

Peasant and French: Cultural Contact in Rural France during the Nineteenth Century – James R. Lehning

French Peasants in Revolt: The Insurrection of 1851– Ted R. Margadant

“« Qui ça, Dreyfus? » The Affair in Rural France” – Michael Burns, Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Summer/Eté 1978), pp. 99-115

“Eugénie Brazier: The Most Terrifying(ly Awesome) Michelin Star Chef” – Kristen Majewski, Modern Notion, February 2015

Coquilles, Calva, and CrèmeExploring France’s Culinary Heritage: A Love Affair with French Food – Gerry Dryansky, Joanne Dryansky

Frenchmen into PeasantsModernity and Tradition in the Peopling of French Canada – Leslie Choquette, 2009.


Further Reading:

I can’t recommend Graham Robb’s The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography more highly. I don’t remember the last time I read a single volume history which exposed me to so much new information – possibly not since Lizzie Collingham’s masterpiece The Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food.

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