Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Writing about Rennes at the moment, mainly on the architerctural development of the city in line with its political fortunes and redevelopment after the great fire of 1720. It's interesting that few observers over the centuries seem to have anything positive to say about the regional capital. In 1788 Arthur Young was surprised by the people's affection and support for the exiled Parliament despite the huge gulf between the nobility and the poor, and terrible living conditions at the lower end of the social scale. A French visitor in 1636 had never seen so many rats and mice in his life, and everyone complained about the smell ...

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