Location/Culture Reports

Location Report - France

The Provence region of France covers a diverse area including St. Tropez, the Alpes mountains, Avignon, Saint Rémy and Marseille.

Saint Rémy is located at the foot of the Alpilles region. The sights of Saint Rémy include the ancient town of Glanum and the birthplace of Nostradamus. Towards the end of his life, Vincent van Gogh lived in Saint Rémy. When he began experiencing prolonged seizures in 1889, he committed himself to an asylum in Saint-Remy. He killed himself the following year. Two of his paintings from this period are the Road Menders at Saint-Rémy (also known as the Large Plane Trees) and the Poplars at Saint-Remy, which are both displayed at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The pit stop for episode 4 was the Château des Alpilles. The Château is located just 2 km from Saint- Rémy -de-Provence. This 19th century family mansion was sold in 1979 to the Bon family who transformed it into a hotel.

Marseille is the second largest city in France. It is France’s premiere port city with a history going back to the 6th century BC. While Marseille hasn’t had the greatest reputation in the past, that has been changing in recent years. In 1998, the World Cup held several matches in Marseille and four players from the winning French team were from Marseille. Marseille has made many contributions to the world including the name for the French National Anthem and bouillabaisse. The presence of the large number of Marseillaises marching from the Rhine to Paris in 1792 gave the Hymn of the Army of the Rhines its name, La Marseillaise. This later became the French National Anthem. Bouillabaisse comes from the days when fishermen would make a soup using the odds and ends they couldn’t sell. Now it is made with saffron and garlic with bits of fish, croutons and rouille.

Le Mans - the location of the roadblock
Here's some information on Le Mans...based on a babelfish translation of the official site of Le Mans.

"Town of art and historical city, Mans is characterized by diversity from its inheritance and its Monuments. Fortified town at the time Roman, capital of the Counts of Maine, today crossroads of the European West, Mans always occupied a dominating place at the economic or religious level. City which knew to adapt to all the revolutions which they are political or technological, keeping engraved in its stones the prints of all the times, Mans is from now on a formidable witness of last and an inheritance unique in France offers to you. The Saint-Julien Cathedral, divided in two parts corresponding to two times: the nave which is reprisée and arched, is Romance; the bedside with its propping up in Y reversed, is to him a top of the Gothic art. The Roman enclosure, monument unique in France and the thermal baths, of which today, only the technical part is visible, etc."