What's In The Chain Gang Archive?

Emile Zola
Emile Zola
I was recently minded to trawl through our arcive of blogs and newsletters. There was a detail about the murky origins of the Tour de France and how it was tied in with the Dreyfus Affair in 19th Century France, and I was pretty sure I’d written about it in an old blog piece.

I found a fascinating story from back in December 2008, a story which links (slightly tenuously) the Tour de France with Emile Zola’s famous headline “J’Accuse!”. So I carried on reading and found some interesting stuff. If you’re interested in the same things I am, you’ll find some surprising nuggets in our Newlstter archive. Not my new bike from February 2008, or me cycling around Wessex the following May – even I don’t think they’re interesting. But there’s also a fabulous video of an aerial flight over France, a history of Josephine Baker, Legion D’Honneur, etc.

I’ve chosen 3 little snippets for you, but feel free to have a look yourself – look to the right of your screen and you’ll find all our blog posts going back to November 2007.

1. J’Accuse!

Perhaps the most famous front page in newspaper history, this was the opening line of a letter from Emile Zola. His aim was to bring the scandal of the Dreyfuss Affair out into the open by provoking a libel trial. As a tactic it was hopeless, he was tried, convicted, and fled to the UK to escape jail. The whole sorry saga of the Dreyfuss Affair did subsequently reach the light of day, but how is it linked to the Tour de France?

Click here , and you’ll find out!

2. A fabulous aerial flyover of France.

Colleville sur Mer
Colleville sur Mer
This video is really worth a look. It features 10 of the most dranatic landmarks in France. In the blog post, from January 2011, I claim that we visit 6 of them on our tours, although I question whether a 7th might be Gordes, a beautiful village in Provence. Well it is Gordes, so that’s 7. And you can add the US military cemetery at Coleville-sur-Mer in Normandy. So that’s 8. 8 out of 10! Really, our tours must be pretty good eh?

Forget the first 60 seconds, which I think is a flyover of the Vallée Blanche below Mont Blanc, but as soon as we start flying along the River Cher on our way to Chateau Chenonceau, it’s fabulous: Click here to read the original blog and see the video

3. Tour Trivia.

Alec Stewart
Alec Stewart
I love trivia. I learnt earlier this week that Alex Stewart, a famous English cricket captain, was born on April 8th 1963, 8/4/63.

How many runs did he score for England? 8,463! Beat that! That’s what I call Trivia!

I can’t claim to match that, but in February 2010 I compiled some pieces of trivia from each of our tours. At that stage we didn’t have tours of either Paris or Normandy, so we’ll have to revisit that. But if you’re interested to learn that Mussolini was a British spy (Fact!), or discovering which of our tours meets the world’s oldest bank, or where we cross paths with the author of Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots, just click here and all will be revealed in its trivial glory.

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