Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adam de la Halle, the musician on whose life The Tapestry Shop was based, was born in Arras, a city in north-eastern France. Arras flourished during the thirteenth century, and was especially known for its tapestries and banking system. Besides Adam, the town was the birthplace of another musician, Jehan Bodel, and of Robespierre, one of the best-known figures from the French Revolution. During World War I, the town was heavily bombed, but most of the city was reconstructed, only to be bombed again in WWII. The town square, however, survived. Surrounded by 17th century buildings, it is the perfect place to have a steaming cappuccino on a cool morning in April, one of the best times of the year to be in northern France. Besides the lovely weather, the tulips are in bloom, and the tourist crowds are not there yet. If you go, be sure to walk through the underground tunnels that lie beneath the city. During WWI, British soldiers defended Arras, holed up in the tunnels, of which the Germans were unaware. During WWII, French Resistance fighters were executed at the Citadel. Not far from Arras is Vimy Ridge, where craters from bombs can still be seen, along with the memorial to Canadians who lost their lives there.


Phyllis Campbell said...

Very interesting! I love looking of pictures like this. Thanks for the information!


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Joyce,
Very interesting. I have visited both the places you mention. Researching my two World War romance novels,and also because I have always been interested in World War 1, hubby and I did a tour of the Somme battlefields in Northern France. Amongst the places we visited were Arras and Vimy Ridge. At Vimy Ridge the trenches were left as they were when the war ended. They are grown over but you can clearly make them out. I actually have a picture of it.


Mona Risk said...

Very interesting. I speak French fluently and have been to France so many times it's like a second home but I never had the chance to visit Arras. Thank you for presentiing it.