French battlegrounds of various sorts

We have just been off to a couple of the battlefields of France which have great meaning to me. Yesterday it was Azincourt and today Crecy, 1415 and 1346 respectively. Not great successes for the French but the museum at Azincourt was the best of its kind I have yet seen (and I have seen many). If, for example, you would like to find out what the field of vision was for someone wearing armour or how heavy one of the broadswords was, this is where you can find out. Not many French visitors, as you can imagine, but both were very well served.

Now onto a different kind of historic site, Jean-Baptiste Say’s cotton mill and to meet his local historian, M. Zephyr Tilliette. They are trying to preserve Say and his memory in Auchy–des-Hesdin where the factory is. Longer story than the one I currently know, but I will know much more later on.

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6 Responses to French battlegrounds of various sorts

  1. Sinclair Davidson

    Whenever I go to a French military museum I always insist on speaking English. Mrs D claims that it shows insensitivity, but I like to remind them who won the wars.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    We went to the big, smart and modern new Museum of 1812 when in Moscow recently. It very clearly said ‘we won’. Saw the actual sled (so they say) that Napoleon is said to have ridden in; it looked very uncomfortable indeed. This museum is fascinating if you are interested in Battle Plans and Insignia etc. Couldn’t drag Da Hairy Ape away from it for hours, but I was just a teeny bit bored. Some of the social history of the times stuff was more my bag. He’s dragged me round all the First World War Sites near Ypres (Mennen Gate was very sad and sombre) and through all of the Normandy beaches (some excellent interpretive sites there); sat me on a WW11 tank in the streets. We’ve also been to heaps of British and Scottish battle sites: Cullodin very moving, you could get a good visual of the actual field; Hastings so-so; Battle of Tewkesbury amazing, beside the Cathedral of Broken Santuary; Bannockburn has a choice of two possible sites; Battle of the Boyne in Ireland, too much of it is grown out down by the river, but a contemporary Sacred Site of the Reconciliations of the Two Irelands.

    Coming up next: all the American Civil War sites. Done a few already. Saw where the shot that resounded around the world was fired. (We do all of this on our holidays; inbetween pursuing my interest in the religious sites from the Neolithic to early and medieval Christianity in Britain and Ireland.

    The children think we are mad.

  3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    The ‘resounding shot’ site was not, of course, the Civil War, but the Revolutionary War of 1775.

  4. Viva

    We visited a tax museum once when overseas – I daresay this would be a less popular venue with readers of this forum.

  5. David

    Biggest disappointment of a battlefield tour of France and Belgian was Waterloo. In the visitors centre you would have thought that Napoleon won so, like Sinc, I insisted on speaking English even though I could understand most of the French being spoken. Gives one a terrific tactical advantage when you know what the attendants are saying to each other thinking you don’t understand. Only confirmed my opinion that the beer and chocolate aside Belgium is a cess pit.

    Lizzie I agree re the Menin Gate. It is an emotional experience like few others. Villers Bretoneux the same. Only battlefield my grandfathers fought on I haven’t visited is Gallipoli.

    One which I found surprisingly moving given I have no family contact with it was Gettysburg. Like the Somme – so many dead in such a small place.

  6. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Only battlefield my grandfathers fought on I haven’t visited is Gallipoli.

    Go. It’s a powerful experience, even if you do wish the ugly Australian overseas would shut up. Tip we had was that Attaturk is still so revered in Turkey today, it is actually an offense under Turkish law to “Defame his memory.”

    Western Front, and some of the American Civil War battlefields are on my bucket list.

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