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Best books and/or films about FRANCE during the medieval and Renaissance periods??

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May 16th, 2005, 11:53 AM
  #1
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Best books and/or films about FRANCE during the medieval and Renaissance periods??

Looking for inspiration for our upcoming trip to France (castles and more castles).

Would love some book and/or film recommendations. Historical dramas and comedies are fine.

Thanks!
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May 16th, 2005, 12:03 PM
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Vatel (beautifully "filmed" movie, each frame a work of art)
Cyrano deBergerac
(both later than the renaissance I know.. but period pieces and
both with Gerard Depardeau

Katherine Hepburn & Peter O'Toole in The Lion In Winter?
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May 16th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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Thanks, Suzie! I definitely will check out VATEL.
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May 16th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century - Barbara Tuchman
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May 16th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Thanks, Robespierre!
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May 16th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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"Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings;" excellent biography.

"Perfume," a bizarre novel set in medieval Paris and Provence.

Not quite the period you're after, but certainly "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo." Both are films as well as books.

"The Spider King."

More when I can unpack my books from the storatge boxes they're inhabiting while the family room is being painted.

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May 16th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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A Fool and His Money: Life in a Partitioned Town in 14th-Century France, by Ann Wroe

The Burning Times: A Novel of Medieval France, by Jeanne Kalogridis

Strong of Body, Brave and Noble: Chivalry and Society in Medieval France, by Constance Brittain Bouchard

Bawdy Tales from the Courts of Medieval France, by Paul Brians

Life in Medieval France, by Joan Evans

Self and Society in Medieval France,
by Guibert De Nogent

The Traveler's Key to Medieval France: A Guide to the Sacred Architecture of Medieval France, by John James
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May 16th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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La Reine Margot/Queen Margot by Dumas.
Good film too.
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May 16th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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Books--
I'm with Robespierre! "A Distant Mirror" is wonderful. (StCirq's list sounds fascinating--I'd like to try some of those).

Movies--
"Queen Margot" (1994) It's set in the 16th century, but this is really worth seeing. Isabelle Adjani is luminescent, and the movie is, ah, on the "romantic" side, which seems appropriate in preparation for a trip to France.

"The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" (1999) Visually impressive rather than historically diligent. Milla Jovovich is quite something.

Other--
Do you live near a university? It might be worth going to a history class and (with approval) auditing a couple of lectures.

Have a great trip!
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May 16th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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Underhill: Ooh...that novel "Perfume" sounds interesting too.

Unfortunately too busy to audit any university classes right now, but hopefully will have just enough time to squeeze in a book and a film or two.

Thanks, Everyone!
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May 16th, 2005, 03:07 PM
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I'd second the recommendations for "A Distant Mirror" and "Queen Margot". The latter is a sumptuous film based on Dumas' novel about the wife of Henri of Navarre and the Protestant-Catholic wars of the Reformation, centred on the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre.

However, religious wars were nothing new in France, and I recommend Stephen O'Shea's fascinating history of the Cathars, "A Perfect Heresy", especially if you're visiting that part of the country.

Of course, you can't beat Shakespeare for drama, and you might want to watch "Henry V" in either the Olivier or Branagh version (I prefer the latter).

This is sounding as if the middle ages and renaissance in France were bloody times, and certainly with the 100 Years'War and the Wars of Religion, much blood was indeed shed.

On a less bloody note, two period pieces I liked (though a bit after the Renaissance) were the films "Tous les Matins du Monde" and "Ridicule". They are both available with subtitles.
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May 16th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Sharon Newman's series set in medieval France. Excellent writing, strong on detail and history, fascinating characters.
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May 16th, 2005, 03:51 PM
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Another recommendation for ' A Distant Mirror'
and if you like historical novels Maurice Druon's series of 7 novels about the Valois and early Capetian kings of France are great reads.
The series is known as Les Rois Maudits (depending on your English translation preference "The Damned Kings" or "The Accursed Kings" In the series I liked "The Iron King" and "The Strangled Queen".
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May 17th, 2005, 05:37 AM
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Although I have not even flipped this book open yet... my wife got it yesterday (from the library), related to the Dordogne, as I understand it...

A traveller's history of the Hundred Years War in France: battlefields, sastles, and towns /

Author : Starks, Michael, 1944-

Publisher : New York : Interlink Books, 2002.

ISBN : 1566564689

It IS a "guidebook".. not really a history book per se.

Best wishes,

Rex
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May 17th, 2005, 06:15 AM
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My favorite has been named, Queen Margot and then there is the Horseman on the Roof, which is just plain good to look at (Olivier Martinez)
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May 17th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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Well... harrumph... not that this is critical, but I actually got the title of that book wrong (the one I did cite does sound interesting though!)...

The "other" correct book was:

The travelling historian's guide to France

Author : Neillands, Robin
Publisher : London : Robson, 2003.

ISBN : 1861056206

Once again, this is a guidebook, not really a history book. When I've had a chance to take a look at it, I suppose I can provide some more details about it.
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