France culinary tradition is as rich as its history.
The modern train grid now in place put many of France's historic places within an hour to 3 hours from Paris.
It made Ina Caro explorations of France tapestry of intrigues, family feuds, kings, emperors and their children and mistresses for Paris to the Past (WW Norton, June 2011) a breeze.
She made an exception to her day trip rule for La Rochelle. She recounts the siege of the prosperous Protestant stronghold and the famine that ensued for its residents.
Ina Caro also shares some of her favorite restaurants in the Atlantic port.
The French restaurant scene has its roots in her opinion in the aftermath of the revolution. Chefs who lost their jobs and benefactors had no other option than try their luck at opening their own places.
She reminds us that the foundations for modern Paris was laid by 'grands travaux' under Napoleon the third.
Whether hopping on the subway or the TGV, Ina Caro makes French history come alive in its farcical and tragic moments.
I don't want to spoil the pleasure you will have taking these trips down history lane with Madame Caro so I stop right here.
(* illustration is Petit Trianon created at the request of Louis XV’s mistress Madame de Pompadour. Photo from Paris to the Past mini site)