It’s ‘Quatorze Juillet’ (’14th July’ or what is often called Bastille Day) in France today. It’s a national holiday – the day that commemorates the storming of the Bastille Prison in 1789, the start of the French Revolution and so the day that is seen as the birth of modern France.
This is also a day that has only had any relevance to me in recent years. It’s probably hard to believe, but my parents spoke so little about their families and their background that I only discovered through family history research after their deaths how French I am – and the answer is that on my father’s side I am 100% French (and now, coincidentally, married to a Frenchman). Knowing this honestly explains something about my personality. More than that I am not willing to say …other than that if you think of those people in 1789 who had the courage to storm that prison in Paris, ending the reign of Louis XVI and bringing down the ruling aristocracy, then you have a good idea of one of my personality traits (…’a tendency towards bolshiness’…) Oops, did I just say that out loud)?
Chateau de Montignac in the Dordogne region of France. This Chateau, with extensive gardens, sits on its own plateau high above the surrounding plains. It’s one of my favourite buildings – if I could move in tomorrow, I would.