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A village history: The demography evolves

  In 2014, Jeanne, Guillaume, Idryss, Hortense and Nahel arrived in my village; their births were recorded in the annual Bulletin Municipal which turned up in my letterbox.  […]

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A village history : Keeping the home fires burning

In 1339, the ruler of the region of Faucigny, Dauphin Humbert II, proposed the sale of some of his territory to the King of Naples or to the […]

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A village history : The age of fealty

The first time I drove up to the village of Mégevette in Haute-Savoie must have been in 1991 when I was spending the winter working in Samoëns as […]

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The département that liberated itself

While the British were concerned this year with commemorating the beginning of the First World War in September 1914, the people of Haute-Savoie, conscious that the last of […]

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The kindness of lorry drivers

It’s so simple nowadays.  If someone has a problem while driving, they reach for their mobile phone and ring a relative or friend, or their insurers or a […]

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Caporal Jules-André Peugeot and Leutnant Albert Mayer – the first victims of WWI

Much has been written and broadcast recently about the start of the First World War, when Germany declared war on France on 3 August 1914. But there were […]

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La quinzaine sanglante

Whilst many this year are reflecting on the situation and events in Europe which led to the First World War, the authorities in Haute-Savoie will also be commemorating […]

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Location location

Recently, I wanted to find the owner of the field above me, as I was a mite concerned that a row of extremely high trees at the edge […]

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. . . there’s things in war one dare not tell . . . *

I wrote recently about the memories of centenarians living in Savoie and Haute-Savoie, as recorded in the 2014 edition of the Almanach Savoyard.  But this year sees the […]

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One hundred years of memories

In 2012 there were 12,320 centenarians in Britain, up from 2,420 in 1981, an enormous increase.  Here in Haute-Savoie and Savoie, the 2014 edition of the Almanach Savoyard […]

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October in Levanto and a pink gem in the forest – La Caprarbia

High high above the small Italian seaside town of Levanto (correctly in Italian, Lévanto), whose bay lies on the Mediterranean south of Genoa, a little pink house perches […]

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What to do in winter?

Autumn approaches, and now is the time when people start to wonder whether undertaking some online studies might be a satisfying way of spending the dark winter evenings. […]

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What’s in a (street) name . . .

The French frequently name their schools and institutions after notable people, and sitting as a passenger in a car travelling through Lyon a little while ago, I noticed […]

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Food from a philosopher

A few years ago, up in my mountain fastness (not fast enough these days, unfortunately; the neighbours impinge), I completed an online course in political philosophy, and have […]

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War and peace in the Italian Alps

When I drove through the Mont Blanc Tunnel the other day, I didn’t know that I’d be sharing my lunch with a friendly young fox.  I was heading […]

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The story behind the Birkebeinerrennet

Today, 16 March, the annual Birkebeinerrennet ski marathon is taking place in Norway.  The 55 km route is always the same, and commemorates an event early in 1206 […]

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The price of a view

I live 30 km from the ski resort of Samoëns where I once worked for a winter, acting as tutor for students at an unusual academy called Ski […]

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Sixty-nine years ago . . . February 1944

The first week of the French February holidays is under way, and the car park for the long chairlift which takes skiers up to the top of the […]

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Transjurassienne 2013

To the west of me, on the other side of Geneva, lie the Jura mountains, which straddle the border between France and Switzerland and extend northwards into Germany.  […]

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Birds in winter

It has been recorded that within 30 seconds of putting out a feeder full of peanuts for the first time, a tit will find them.  Occasionally, in addition […]

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