"This is a vivid and indispensable book, so full of unexpected and wittily related treasures..." Daily Telegraph
It's easy to reduce France to the sum of its parts: weekend breaks amid the culture of Paris or summer holidays basking in the sunshine of the south; accounts of the Revolution - Madame Defarge knitting beside the guillotine - and Napoleon's battle at Waterloo (mis)remembered from school history lessons; a country famous for its intellectuals, its philosophers and writers, its fashion, food and wine.
Despite this, however, the notion of "the French" as one nation is relatively recent and - historically speaking - quite misleading; in order to discover the "real" past of France, it's not only necessary to go back in time, but also to go at a slower pace than modern life generally allows: this book is the result of 14,000 miles covered by bicycle (and four years spent in the library). It is - at last - a book which tells the whole story.
PRAISE FOR THE DISCOVERY OF FRANCE
"Captivatingly full of the author's own discoveries - exotic landscapes, weird customs, remarkable individuals and events overlooked by history" Guardian
"A revealing biography of ordinary French citizens and a portrait of the world beyond Paris and the urban elite." Time Out
"Superlative history of la France profonde" Sunday Times, 100 best holiday reads