Regions of France (Part Un)

By Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

29th July 2021

I decided to look at the regions of France. This can be rather complicated as there have been various changes over the centuries including relatively recently with amalgamations for administrative reasons.

So I plumped for former regions of France as listed below, as good as any place to start.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_France

I may have got rather carried away as there is so much to play with, so we will have two parts, part  un and part deux.

A good working knowledge of Franglais and phonetics is highly desirable.

Île-de-France

The ‘ill of France’ meaning ‘Sick of France.’ What the English are sometimes, but not the French generally. Usually politicians, such as He Man U Hell Mac Ron, or negotiators like Michel Barmier, who are complete ‘cas des noisettes’.

The area is where the sycophants go, like elephants, large but sick.

Rest of French can be sick of them too. Also known as Parisians (the people who live in the Île).

If you live as though you are on an island then what do you expect?

Personally, I think it should be ‘psychophant’, as Parisians, who act as though the rest of the French are merely peasants in the derogatory sense, must be psycho or mad.

Still, Paris is lovely, especially when most of the Parisians have gone ‘sur leurs vaccances’, leaving the sensible ones behind, and plenty of space to wander.

Berry

Where the fruitful are. Subdivided into different ‘Patois’ or dialects. Par example; Raspberry, where they will stick their tongue out at you when you are not looking; Strawberry, where they tend to throw out words all over the place; Blueberry, where they are rather depressed; and Blackberry, where they use older style mobile phones.

Also don’t forget Mulberry, where they think things over before speaking; Elderberry, where the retired go; and Gooseberry, who like to march around in columns and are believed to be related to certain Germans who marched in at some point and took over for a while, I can’t remember when.

The capital Bourges seems to have been there since before Christ’s birth. So it hasn’t budged or ‘bourged’ in a couple of millennia it seems. And almost the exact centre of France.

Well done, or bien cuit to the Celts I say, who may have started the settlement.

Orléanais

Home of the ‘Golden Lions’, a famous French football club. Unbeaten for many seasons, particularly le poivre, le sel, le vinaigre and la moutarde.

Orleans, the capital city, where they are based, is well-off as the name suggests. ‘Gold leaning’. And why the lions are golden of course, and do rather well financially.

Perhaps best known for the La Loire River passing through, the longest in France.

And for the ‘Boys of So Longe’, a large forest/marshy area to the south of the Orleans. So-called because it took so long for boys to go through it.

Normandy

You will find large French girls here, most notably Normous Mandy. She is big and strong because of all the cream and cheese she eats. She is the crème de la crème.

But her voice is rather squeaky like a mouse, which is why she is Nor-mouse of course. And because of being in the North of France, le Nord.

Rouen is the capital, where Joan the Dark burnt her steak. At least I think that’s what happened. In any event, it ruined her, or ’rouened’ her in the local patois.

Of course the Normans came from the region to, when they invaded England illegally under William, Duck of Normandy at the time.

Bastard.

That’s what he was by the way, when your parents are not married, like his.

Languedoc

‘Language of the doctor’. About as intelligible to the rest of France as reading doctor’s hand writing.

The capital is ‘Two Loos’. So named as when first settled that was the total number of ‘double vé say’ they had, one for hommes and one for mesdames.

It has been said at that this time the place was riddled with lice, hence originally spelt ‘Tous Louse’. All louse as it were.

Area well known for its beautiful lake, the ‘Gorgeous Tarn’, and steep sided valleys, particularly the ‘Gorgeous Hardedge’.

Also known for various ‘Bastards’, or ‘Bastides’ in the patois. These can be seen standing on the hill tops in the region. Considered by many to be beautiful. Just because you’re a bastard doesn’t mean you can’t be attractive.

Lyonnais

The home of the counterpart to the ‘Golden Lions’ of Orleans. Only this is the female football team as the word means ‘Lionesses’.

Indeed, as Wikipedia points out they are, in full, ‘Olympique Lyonnais Féminin’. I suppose Féminin is added to make sure ‘les hommes’ get ‘le point’ that they are female, and remain female whilst enjoying the ‘beautiful game’.

The full name is shortened to OL. ‘Oh ‘ell’ is no doubt what their opponents say when they hear they are to play them. This is because they are recorded as ‘…often been named the strongest women’s team in the world.’

The Loire, Rh One and Sa One rivers flow through the region. Now, the Rh One is ‘Le’, and the Sa One is ‘la’. This should be obvious as Rh comes ultimately from Rho in the Greek, meaning head which is male. Sa in French denotes feminine. Très simple.

The Rh One is bigger and longer than the Sa One, like husbands and wives typically. As I say, very easy when you know.

Of course Lyon is a lion. It sits at the heart of the Lyonnais, like a lion amongst the lionesses. What else would you expect?

Dauphiné

‘The Dolphin’ but female it seems. Not that near the sea, and certainly not coastal so rather odd name.

But there are river dolphins it seems in the world, so not that silly. Perhaps there were once river dolphins in the Isère River that flows through the region. What a wonderful thought.

Isère river said to run through a series of varied landscapes. Anagram of Isere is serie, like series. A series of landscapes then. So if you say Isere which sounds like ee-zair, I say ‘is a’ what? A series of series of landscapes is the answer.

And wonderful they are too; I have seen some of them, with French friends near Grenoble, the historic capital.

These include the Chartre-use where the potent green and yellow liqueurs are made by monks. Excellent stuff, I have referred to it elsewhere. Probably cure Covid 19. Drink too much (it is very strong) and you probably won’t care what it cures.

But silly to poison yourself with too much, as you will then miss out on all the other good things the Most High has provided via His clever Children.

There is also the Vercors where the French resistance was strong during WWII. Vercors might be ‘vert cors’, green horns like cattle, which graze on the high pastures.

Champagne

This is where the inhabitants pretend to be ill or in pain. A sham pain of course. Hypochondriacs like many French people, I have had it reported to me.

And of course adjoining the Ill of France, so what else would you expect?

It has been said that it should be ‘sham pain’ as in fake bread. But as I have never had bread like that in France I discount that theory.

Its capital is Troyes. There was a great fire in 1524 and they had to rebuild. In other words they had to troy again. It is said there has been a settlement there since 600 BC. The ancient city of Troy in the Mediterranean was destroyed before this apparently. Perhaps some people escaped and came here.

The area much fought over due to its location. A chalk country generally, the French people were bled white by the invasion of the Germans. White like the chalk.

In Reims, I gather that the Archbishops constipated most of the Kings of France. I may have misheard the word, but the French do seem to say that people are ‘Constipé’, and not just physically but emotionally. Would explain the problems with the French monarchy.

And with Roman Catholicism.

Aunis

The smallest province. More rolling chalk, and includes part of the drained marshland called ‘The Green Venice’ (La Venise Verte). Lovely spot which my wife and I have visited. Most important area of angelica cultivation in France. Angelica is ‘angel face’, so explains the beauty.

There seems to be no consensus over the etymology. Dear me, how silly. It is obvious, n’est ce pas? Wikipedia says ‘Even so, some people think “The most probable origin is that the town of Aulnay (Aulnay en Saintongeais), which was more important in the Middle Ages than it is today.’

To which I say ‘Quoi??’ It does not make sense.

I note an anagram of Aunis is ‘I anus’. Perhaps this is because in ancient times the marshy or boggy areas were rather nasty. Another anagram is ‘U nasi’, like ‘You nasty’. So once rather unpleasant and impenetrable, but drainage made it beautiful.

Thus it is improving drainage is a good thing for various reasons, whether it is marshy areas or your own household toilet (which in England we sometimes call ‘The bog’).

Saintongeais is ‘Saint Ongeais’, or Holy Ongish’ thus Holy English. And who I have said elsewhere are the Angelish. England held sway over the region for many years. The area was once part of the Saintonge region.

La Rochelle is the capital, and once a stronghold of protestant Christians, holding out against Roman Catholic France. Now I have some issues with Protestants taking Roman Catholic falsehoods on board, but in essence they were much in tune with the Most High’s wishes.

In any event the link must be clear.

So this takes us to:

Saintonge

According to Wikipedia originally spelt ‘Xaintonge and Xainctonge’. The X reminds one of the ‘Ch’ in Greek. This related to Christ as in Jesus Christ.

The word could be ‘healthy tongue’. Much of the province by the sea. Salt is related to health. Paul the apostle wrote ‘Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt’ All this makes sense.

But of course we must broaden the extent of ‘healthy tongue’ to Celts generally, the ancestors of many western peoples in Portugal and Spain, Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland etc. And a big chunk of middle Europe it seems.

And this no doubt means Celtic comes from saltic, the ‘salty people’.

The region is famous for grapes which are used to produce the famous Cognac and the not well known Pineau des Charentes.

Area famous for its medieval pottery apparently. English often considered to be potty or mad by the French, and potty to leave the wonderful EU which does so much good. For the French, peut-être, and the Allemandes. But pas les Anglais.

The capital is Saintes or saints in English. Makes perfect sense to me.

Poitou

Could be Pois Tous. ‘Pea all’. Full of peace? Well, there was the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, when the Black Prints came out (or didn’t come out if they were black) and the English won a great battle against the French. So not very peaceful then.

And Wikipedia says ‘During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Poitou was a hotbed of Huguenot (French Calvinist Protestant) activity among the nobility and bourgeoisie. The Protestants were discriminated against and brutally attacked during the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598). Under the Edict of Nantes, such discrimination was temporarily suspended but this measure was repealed by the French Crown.’ From

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poitou

So not very peaceful then either.

Includes come coastline and part of the Venise Verte referred to under Aunis.

Poitiers is the capital. Apparently, there was a battle which Wikipedia states as ‘The first, in 732, also known as the Battle of Tours (to avoid confusion with the second),’. The second is the battle referred to earlier. I hope that is clear.

As Tours and Poitiers are about 65 miles apart, why it is called this is anybody’s guess. Is this French academics for you? I thought the French were logical. Apparently not always.

I shouldn’t be surprised though, with Michel Barmier doing the negotiations on Brexit, and ‘God with us Mac Ron’ pontificating with no conceivable logic.

I see the city has a Pont Wilson, a good English name. Might explain why the French called the Battle ‘of Tours’, rather than ‘of Poitiers. The area was in English hands for a long time, and the French are rather jealous of that sort of thing.

Guyenne & Gascony

Home to ‘Guy’ Anne who was a rather masculine girl and her pet rabbit or ‘coney’ which could talk or ‘gas’. Lots of vineyards in the area. You can often hear them whining about the quality of the wine in a particularly bad year.

Probably the largest region in this list.

As far as I can tell includes areas of the Dordogne, and other areas now popular with the British. As the English ruled much of it for centuries this is perhaps not surprising.

Bordeaux is the capital. Explains the vineyards as presumably Brits bored of water as the name suggests. Great Britain surrounded by water of course, and there is only so much water you can drink. And did not Paul the apostle say something about drinking a little wine for the stomach? Sensible chap.

Large area of land called, unsurprisingly, Landes. For those who might have called it sea by mistake. It was afforested just to make sure people understood that it is land, not sea.

Burgundy

Where underwear is made in the towns or ‘burghs’. Famous for deep red pants and brassieres. Very sexy if you like that sort of thing.

They use the deep red wines of the region as a dye. Very handy as you can drink the excess that doesn’t get used in the processing.

You can of course drink it anyway, and not be too bothered about red underwear or any underwear if you wish. Fits in with the motto of France.

Liberté – All are free not to wear underwear

Equalité – Men and women are free not to wear underwear

Maternité – Frequent result of above, i.e. bébé arrives.

Dijon the capital cuts the mustard as we say in ‘Angleterre’. The region well known for its multi-coloured tiled roofs.

So with all the wine, your sexy underwear (or not), and those roofs, you can have a night on the tiles.

Or just a day looking at the tiles if you wish.

Contains the area known as the Morvan. More van what? Probably more vin I suspect.

We mustn’t forget Avallon where my wife I have stayed. A beautiful town and area. Reminds one of the Isle of Avalon, in Somerset. There are those who say Avallon is Avalon. But generally they say it is just the Glastonbury area in Somerset.

I say it is Great Britain, as the whole is magical to my mind. And I suspect Ireland too if the Irish don’t mind (though I have never visited, sadly).

Though that would be Isles of Avalon.

Picardy

Ancestral home of Jean-Luc Picard or ‘John the Lucky’. In the far North of France or just ‘Le Nord’. Very cold in winter compared to rest of France.

Hence Cardy or cardigans required. And a pi or pie to eat, both of which keep you warm.

Clearly not a pleasant place to live.

Unless of course you have watched ‘Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis’. If you have, you will hopefully have been pleasantly surprised, as the inhabitants are not the peasants you might have supposed.

The weather can be better than you think, and certainly not raining all the time. My wife and I thought the film wonderful, both funny and moving.

People say Ch’tis is made up of the words/sounds that are made in the patois. That seems obvious. But it sounds like ‘shitty’, and those from places such as the Île de France might consider the place and language rather disgusting.

But then they can be stuck up, or over refined so what else do you expect?

I found this website, which I think is rather good, explaining clearly the basis of the dialect.

Wikipedia says The name “Picardy” derives from the Old French pic, meaning “pike”, the characteristic weapon used by people from this region in ancient times.

Yes, but how about the fish, eh? That was there earlier and the language of the Picard was used well before the weapon was in wide spread use (according to Wikipedia!). So do use your brains.

Before I forget, the capital is Amiens. Where you can say your ‘amens’ in the cathedral, which is apparently the largest in Europe, and finer than Notre Dame. It does look amazing from online photos. Apparently according to John Ruskin it is the “Pantheon of Gothic architecture”.

I haven’t been to see it in the flesh, but I’ll say amen to that.

Anjou

A bit like ‘An Jew’, although ‘In December, 1288, the Jews were formally expelled from Anjou by Charles II’ according to

http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1543-anjou

However, Wikipedia says the region takes its name from the Andecavi, a Celtic tribe in the area. Makes no sense to me.

Anyway, the Andecavi must have lived in the caves in the locality to start with, and presumably very ‘andy they were, when you haven’t got a convenient home built yet.

The capital is Angers. This makes sense as Andecavi very annoyed at having to subject themselves to Roman rule, and have been angry ever since. The city was Juliomagus under the Romans, or ‘Big Jules’ or ‘Big Jewels’.

Presumably ‘Big Jules’ was Julius Caesar. If ‘Big Jewels’ this would make sense of the name Anjou, as some Jews do like big jewels.

Provence

Which means ‘Province’ obviously. The province of Provence. Bit like saying Farmer George, as George means ‘farmer’.

And no doubt  the first area conquered by Rome, as in ‘pro’ meaning ‘first’ and ‘vince’ meaning ‘conquer’.

Aix-en-Provence is the capital. This is where people who are uncomfortable with aches and pains can go and enjoy the thermal baths. It is a spa town of course.

And when they have soothed their bodies pains, they can eat some ‘pains’ or breads with ‘fromages et vins et autre chose comme ils aiment’.

There is the Cam-argue which sounds a bit as though it should have cars but doesn’t, as it has horses instead. I don’t think you ‘cam argue’ with that.

There are a lot of lavender fields I understand. And the landscapes are such that many artists painted here. Including ‘Paul, says Anne’, although who Anne is, is not recorded.

Indeed, Paul who, I hear you cry. Quite. Perhaps it’s a surname, a Monsieur Paul. I shall have to do some more research.

We must not forget the cuisine, the seafood stews, the wine, and the desserts (13 at Christmas apparently). Includes the tarts such as Tarte Tropézienne, and Bridget Bardot, sorry, a name suggested by Bridget Bardot who has a house in St. Tropez, I understand.

Angoumois

Meaning ‘An gou’ me’, like ‘an taste me’. Noted for sunflowers and cognac. If you are driving south ‘probablement le premier fois tu pense vous etes in la sud de France avec bowcoup de soleil’.

Cognac is said by Wikipedia to be ‘one of its small towns being at its origin’. Can’t understand the logic there. After all it clearly makes Cognac, the French brandy.

And not gin as ori-gin suggests.

However, or means ‘gold’ in certain languages, so might be ‘Golden gin’. Describes the colour of the brandy, so maybe not so stupid after all.

And here is a sea of sunflowers, gold and brown, like Cognac.

Bourbonnais

Where they drink bourbon, American whiskey,  and eat chocolate sandwich type biscuits, bien sur.

According to Wikipedia the area provided the ‘long-lasting House of Bourbon, which would provide the kings of France from Henry IV in 1589 to Louis-Phillipe in 1848’. Makes sense.

After all, most of these ended up drunk on power or so befuddled that they lost control of their senses and the goodwill of the populace. Hence ‘La revolution’. Not a good idea to drink too much, everything in moderation I say.

And frankly I say to the Franks that eating chocolate sandwich type biscuits with bourbon just isn’t done. It isn’t British, what?

But then they are French so what do you expect, eh? They will eat all sorts of things we wouldn’t (except when we are in France and no one is looking).

The area rather reminded me of England in places, once you were off the beaten track. My wife and I had an excellent meal at an unpretentious little restaurant, sitting in the square in the sunshine. Bliss.

The capital is Moulins where you can find ‘The Red Mill’ (nudge nudge, wink wink). And no doubt where the Mills family came from. Like Jean Moulins ou Hayley Moulins, par example.

Marche

It is always March here, it is said, so not very warm. Best therefore to keep walking to keep warm; hence the catch phrase ‘Let’s go for a march’, a brisk, orderly walk. Or ‘allons-y pour une marche’ in French. Peut-être.

And best to go to a marché or market in Marche in March by a march.

Or in French ‘allons-y pour une marche vers le marché de Marche en mars’. Possibly eating a mars bar.

In which case ‘allons faire un tour au marché des Marches en mars pour manger un Mars bar’. At a bar perhaps?

In which case ‘allons faire un tour au marché des Marches en mars pour manger un Mars bar dans un bar’.

If you can buy a mars bar at a bar that is, in Marche.

Wikipedia says Marche is really a county and ‘La Marche first appeared as a separate fief about the middle of the 10th century, when William III, Duke of Aquitaine, gave it to one of his vassals named Boso’

A boso might be related to bozo, someone who is, to be honest, a bit thick, but a liar. See https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Bozo

Whether bezo is related to bozo is a moot point. Or indeed Bezos to boso. Any thoughts?

The County of Marche is roughly where the department of Creuse is now. Wikipedia says in this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creuse

‘After World War 1, some towns in France set up pacifist war memorials. Instead of commemorating the glorious dead, these memorials denounce war with figures of grieving widows and children rather than soldiers. Such memorials provoked anger among veterans and the military in general. The most famous is at Gentioux-Pigerolles in the department (see picture on the left). Below the column which lists the name of the fallen, stands an orphan in bronze pointing to an inscription ‘Maudite soit la guerre’ (Cursed be war). Feelings ran so high that the memorial was not officially inaugurated until 1990 and soldiers at the nearby army camp were under orders to turn their heads when they walked past.’

Seems very reasonable to curse war. Since when was it ever a good thing? One thing to resist evil, another to glorify it.

But perhaps some people will not balance the remembrance of the dead who gave their lives with the loss suffered by widows and orphans.

I have driven once through the area and whilst I didn’t see anything special, I was only passing, and it would be good to return and explore. You can’t judge on first appearances the good in an area.

So you see it is quite an interesting region Marche, even though Wikipedia doesn’t list anything of note.

Brittany

From ‘Britt any’. ‘Or are there any Brit’s?’ And indeed there are, quite a few I believe. I know a good friend somewhere in the middle and west a bit.

Indeed, its name derives from Britain or vice versa. Land of the bright ones of course. It has lots of stuff under Wikipedia entry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brittany

Par example, there is a temple of Mars where presumably you can eat mars bars. There is a picture in Wikipedia, but is seems someone has been nibbling at the Mars bar already, judging by its condition. I like to eat the chocolate off the edges, so that figures.

Its capital is Rennes. This is because the queens wanted to live here away from the windy west which played havoc with their hair. As you know, their ladyships must be obeyed at all costs when it comes to such matters, so the Kings decided that this had better be the place to set up court.

There is also the port of Brest in the west. This is where the USA’s troops were landed in world war two after the port was taken in the Battle for Normandy.

The kings of Brittany would have rather like to have lived there for obvious reasons; they tried to reason with their wives at first saying ‘Brest is best’. But the ladies would have none of it as they did not want competition.

It is a lovely region generally with much to see and do, but I don’t have time to go into that now.

So that concludes part un. Part deux to follow in due course.

Author: alphaandomega21

Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector'sson. When not posting pages or paging posties, trying to be a good husband, and getting over a long term health issue, I am putting the world to rights. I have nothing better to do, so why not? But of course that includes dancing, being funny (in more than one sense), poking fun at life, poking fun at myself, deflating the pompous, reflating the sad. Seeking to heal the whole of the soul (and body where possible). In short making life as good as it possibly can be for others as well as myself. You can't say fairer than that. But if you can, please say. People need to know.

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