Le tour de la France par deux enfants, chs. I to XI – Lorraine, part I

Google Map (in progress)

Joseph-Porphyre Pinchon’s 1929 illustrated map of Lorraine

Introductory Notes: Last year we read Le Tour de France de Camille et Paul, which was great, but a little challenging, so we are now reading the book that originated this particularly French genre of children traveling around France, Le Tour de la France par deux enfants. There are three abridged versions for French language learners available in the public domain, but only one does not abridge expressions of Catholic faith, that edited by C. Fontaine (see the 1904 French edition for comparison). There is, however, freely available, an audio recording of the French edition, which may make the French edition worth the extra time and effort.

Chapters I to V – André et Julien begin in the province of the Lorraine, in the département of the Moselle, in the in the town of Phalsbourg. The Moselle TV Youtube Channel has a thirty-minute show, Rendez-vous au pays de Phalsbourg.

Joseph-Porphyre Pinchon’s 1929 illustrated map of Lorraine – Phalsbourg is close to the Alsace border, east of the town of Sarrebourg, which is on Pinchon’s map, in the département of the Moselle, in today’s région of the Grand-Est, but from 1871 until 1919 in German hands. Of the Porte de France, through which the boys pass, I assume that its fate is the same as that of the fortifications –

The famous French military engineer Vauban reconstructed the town’s fortifications in 1680. The town was of military importance as commanding one of the passes of the Vosges. The fortifications of Phalsbourg resisted the Allies in 1814 and 1815, and the Germans for four months under the commander Taillant in 1870, but they were taken on 12 December of that year, and have since been razed. The town was German again from 1871 to 1918, under its old name of Pfalzburg.


You can find the Porte de France on this ca. 1695 Plan of the Fortifications of Phalsbourg.

The Moselle River (source in the Vosges mountains, tributary of the Rhine) gives its name to the département, and the main city in the Moselle is Metz. On the Pinchon map, you can see the triumphal return of the French into Metz in 1918. The Moselle TV Youtube Channel again comes through with high quality videos about Metz – Exploration Urbaine à Metz and Metz, d’un siècle à l’autre, among several.

Chapters VI to XI – The boys cross the Vosges Mountains. France 24’s Video has a video, À la découverte du massif des Vosges. See also Le Massif des Vosges from Échappées belles

Other Moselle locations on Pinchon’s Map

Sarreguemines – France 3 Grande Est’s video – La faïencerie de Sarreguemines

Thionville – Midi en France’s video – Thionville, une cité riche de son histoire

And two videos on the Lorraine more generally – Lorraine, région de cœur and Lorraine, du grand spectacle, both from Echappées belles.

Catholic Metz

Saint Livier de Marsal

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