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The British in France: Visitors and Residents since the Revolution

Countless British visit France each year and over 100,000 live there permanently, successors to generations of their countrymen. This book, starting with the brief and poignant Peace of Amiens, 1801-1803, studies who they were - ranging from businessmen and artisans to rentiers, invalids and tourists - where they went and the reasons why. While some went for fun, to Paris 'where the social arts are carried to perfection' or to Monte Carlo, Biarritz or Deauville, the invalids favoured the Pyrenees or Savoy, making Pau the 'ville anglaise'. Bordeaux was an example of another town where the British attained great influence because of the wine trade.

Many also settled in France to save money. The Channel Coast becoming popular with those who fled creditors or disgrace at home (Beau Brummell and Oscar Wilde are examples of this group). Food, architecture and the arts more generally attracted many, as did the climate of the Riviera.

The revolutions in travel brought about by railways, motoring and aircraft provide a constant theme. Looking at the cultural, economic and social comparisons of the businessmen, artisans, rentiers, invalids and tourists, Peter Thorold tells a fascinating story of the changing relationship with our ancient neighbour.


‘Thorold’s learned, lively and eminently readable book.’

The Spectator

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