Lettre de Vaison-la-Romaine: Democracy in France

Julian Crandall Hollick writes us a letter from Provence, where democracy is not always what it appears to be:

“For people in Provence, democracy in France has always seemed dysfunctional. Lots of talk about liberté and égalité, but precious little fraternité. They pay plenty of lip service to solidarité and convivialité, which too often translates into refusing any sense of common responsibility and a savage attachment to the principle of everyman for himself.

Paris seems about as remote as New Delhi for those of us who live in Provence. My town Vaison-la-Romaine only voted to join France in 1792, and that by a razor-thin majority. Before that we were ruled by the Pope in Rome, and quite happy with our separate (and remote) status …

Culturally and mentally we still feel somewhat detached from Paris. And, physically, too. Like a lot of other parts of France in the south and the Alps. Until the institutions of the French state beat it out of them, people from Toulouse in the West to Northern Italy in the East spoke Occitan, a mixture of Spanish, Italian, Arabic and what is now recognised as French. A few still speak it but it would be misleading to claim it’s flourishing. It survives among the old, and surprisingly in a flourishing rap culture in Marseille and Toulouse.”

Read the full story in the Carnet Atlantique.

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One Response to Lettre de Vaison-la-Romaine: Democracy in France

  1. phildange says:

    What ? Occitan doesn’t come from Spanish or Italian, and has nothing to do with Arabic ! It’s a Latin language coming from Latin, like Italian or Catalan or Portuguese . It has been smashed by northern France French, that’s all .
    I don’t share this lady’s point of view . In France people revolt against the lack of égalité most of the time, and also against the lack of liberté far more than against the lack of fraternité .
    An Anglo-Saxon point of view produced by an Anglo-Saxon idea of the world . People think in political terms in France before thinking in “Christian” terms .

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