Location/Culture Reports

Culture Report – France

The racers begin this leg in Paris and end in Les Baux. Along the way they visit the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Panthéon and the Paris Sewers. For this leg, there are really only two words that you need to know – Victor Hugo. His 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the story of Quasimodo who is a deformed bell ringer at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. His 1862 novel Les Miserables has a scene that takes place in the Paris Sewers. And after Victor Hugo died, during his funeral his coffin was carried from the Arc de Triomphe to his final resting place at the Panthéon

Other books that take place in Paris include Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, which takes place during the French Revolution, and Alexander Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo. Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Time Past is a seven-part novel that covers a period from the late 1800's until shortly after World War I. Georges Simenon has written a series of crime thrillers about Inspector Maigret that take place in Paris. And, of course, there is Umberto Eco's Foucault Pendulum.

Les Baux
Probably the most famous writer associated with Provence is Peter Mayle with his books, A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence, Encore Provence and Hotel Patis. The story of Mr. Mayle's year in Provence was filmed with John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan. Another book written along the same lines as A Year in Provence is Perfume From Provence by Lady Winifred Fortescue. Written in 1935 it is the story of Lady Fortuscue's move to Grasse with her husband.