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The Spirit of Languedoc-Roussillon

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Travellers to the southwestern French Mediterranean area will probably visit the well-known regional centres of Nimes, Montpellier, Carcassonne and Perpignan, which are the main cities of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, comprising the departments of Lozere, Gard, Herault, Aude and Pyrenees-Orientales. This sun-drenched place was the cradle of Roman Gaul, and spawned the wine co-operatives and denim, the world's staple clothing material. It is the birthplace of iconic singers such as Charles Treneet and Georges Brassens, and the poet-pholosopher Paul Valery. Its coast curves round towards Spain from where the Catalan influence springs. Collectively, this is France's largest and olest 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, Resistance fighters - is not forgotten. It is a strongly defined region: a place of contrasts 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, who wanted to learn more about the character and background of regional people. Consequently quotations from real-life Languedocians and Catalans in French, Occitan and English appear together with extracts from the literature of past and present writers. These examples offer an intriguing and educational insight into the area.
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Table of Contents

France's land of wine: the entrepreneurial spirit in the Languedocian vineyards. A strongly defined region: a passion for bulls and horses, Languedocian watersports, rugby clubs. Languedoc-Roussillon the rebellious: the Cathars, rebelling vignerons. Modern Languedoc-Roussillon: promoting the region, Montpellier, Georges Freche, Mission Racine - redesigning the shore. Le Gard: Aigues-Mortes - salt of tears, salt of the sea, the Huguenot spirit lives on, about crosses. La Lozere: la Bete du Gevaudan, fetes du pain, digital age in Lozere, le maquis 'Montaigne'. L'Herault: sons of Sete - Georges Brassens, Paul Valery', a heritage shaped by terroir - Pezenas, Marseillan - forgotten grapevine varieties have a future, Canal du Midi - tour de force. L'Aude: the shadows of the Cathars, Carcassonne, Castelnaudary, Gruissan, Limoux. Les Pyrenees-Orientales: the identity of Roussillon, Perpignan - the character of the Catalan language, the little yellow train, Rivesaltes and Marshal Joffre, le fete de l'ours. Voices of France: Guiraud Riquier, 'Serenada'; Alphonse Daudet, 'Le Cure de Cucugnan' (extract); 'La Legende de Babau'; Andre Chamson, 'Catinat' (extract); Charles Trenet, 'La Mer' (song); Jean Larteguy, 'Les Baladins de la Margeride' (extract). Bibliographic references; Not to be Missed - villes & pays d'art & d'histoire, beaux villages, natural regional & national parks, Unesco World Heritage sites; Regional websites, newspapers, universities. Appendix: the regional languages of France. Index.

Promotional Information

* Not just a travel book - history and culture are emphasized; * Reflects the real-life French point of view; * Contains extracts and quotes from literature, local and private announcements; * Educational: selections from Daudet, Chamson, Trenet, Larteguy in French and translated into English; * Ideal for English-speaking expats living in France; * Great for local tourist and administrative offices; * Good for motorway rest-area shops (travelling British, Irish, Americans, Dutch, Germans, Scandinavians).

About the Author

Born in Paris, Catherine Pinchetti is a graduate of the Ecole des Chartes, a French Grande Ecole for historians and curators of heritage subjects. She taught French widely in the USA, France and the UK in prep schools, universities, Alliances Francaises and chambers of commerce. She also contributed numerous articles to 'Bien-dire', a French magazine for learners of French, and 'Go! English', a similar journal for learners of English. She was actively involved in cross-Channel language and cultural exchanges, notably through twinning associations and summer-job placements for students. She now divides her time between Cambridge and Fontainebleau, and has embarked on a a new career as a writer.

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