Village Voices: French Country Life

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9780500019450: Village Voices: French Country Life

In modern France, as in centuries past, village life revolves around the school, post office, shops, and railway station--the centers where people meet to exchange news and gossip. Marie-France Boyer's beautiful book is a visual distillation of village life in France today, where the traditions live on in the cafe that doubles as a charcuterie, or in the small hotel (awarded no stars in the guide books) that provides long tables and decorative settings for local wedding receptions. We see the young adults who help keep the village viable and thriving. Boyer's text allows them to speak to us in their own words: the boulangare, who serves her many customers from a modern mobile bakery; the gendarme, who keeps a photograph of his wife and children inside his cap; and the incumbent mayor standing proudly in her office beside the bust of Marianne, symbol of the French Republic. This delightful record of French villages will prove irresistible to all those who love France and to anyone who appreciates the traditions of small-town life.

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Review:

As in so much of the Western world, mega-stores, malls and e-commerce have imposed a dulling sameness on a once-eclectic rural France. Happily, [Marie-France Boyer] has located villagers who have bucked conformity by simply not changing a thing. Populated by unfashionable shops, unstarred hotels and the people who run them, Village Voices is a celebration of an endangered way of life. -- USA Today, Jayne Clark, 10 December 1999

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Marie-France Boyer
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