La Rochelle query
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#1: La Rochelle query Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 2:46 pm
In 'The Maids of La Rochelle' EBD describes them as going to live with Madame Ozanne in November 1918. Madame Ozanne has a house in Brittany.

Given that the Armistice was signed in November 1918, would it have been possible for three English girls to travel to France at that time, or was this just EBD rewriting history and hoping we wouldn't notice?

#2:  Author: Mrs RedbootsLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 3:46 pm
I would have thought it would be possible. Although people didn't (I imagine) go to France just for holidays then, my great-grandfather certainly crossed the Channel in 1916 to visit his severely-wounded son. Little knowing that his other, favourite son would be killed only a few days later, but that's beside the point. What is the point is that people could and did cross the Channel even during the war, so I'm sure that a visit to Brittany, which was, after all, not fought-over, would have been possible after the Armistice was signed.

I do wonder what it must have been like for people in those parts of France that weren't fought over, given how much of it had been....

#3:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
It was the poverty of living in a war-torn country that was bothering me as much as anything, with so much of the farmland being devastated.

#4:  Author: Mrs RedbootsLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:21 pm
Indeed, but, thankfully, I don't think the war-tornness reached as far south as Brittany. And people were far more self-sufficient back then, of course. And the French are still incredibly regional. So it might have been possible. Then again, EBD might just have been indulging in a flight of fancy....

#5:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:30 pm
I think she might, as the way that the Temple sisters are described shows them to have been incredibly sheltered for the whole of their lives, so much so that they can hardly manage, and not just financially, when their father dies. And Janie (later Janie Lucy) is treated almost as a baby, and certainly as a very young child, even though she's fifteen.

#6:  Author: JayBLocation: SE England PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:48 pm
IIRC only about ten per cent of French territory was occupied/fought over, and it was the other side of the country from Brittany.

Maids was published only six years after the end of the war - EBD couldn't have got away with anything too improbable.

#7:  Author: RosieLocation: Land of Three-Quarters Sky PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 2:00 pm
Brittany lost a good many soldiers (I do have the figures somewhere, but not sure where), just like everywhere else, but being a very agricultural area it hit hard. Having three extra mouths to feed may have been quite tricky, but I am not sure about the travel issues... The Breton ports were favoured by the US Navy, so sailing in when they were trying to get out might have been a problem!

*supposed to be researching Breton 20th-century history at the mo*

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