Auvergne conjures up many images. Its landscape, shaped by the largest concentration of dormant volcanoes in mainland Europe, is an outdoor paradise. It is France's 'water' capital for its mineral drinking water and thermal springs, which have been known for over 2000 years. Its heartland of the old Massif Central is ancient Celtic territory whose hero, the warrior Vercingetorix, led the revolt against the colonizing Romans, and is a French national legend. It retains its picture-book medieval towns, villages and castles, venerable crafts and the earthy flavours of its cheeses, meats or even Puy lentils. This originally harsh land suffered isolation and massive emigration to Paris at the end of the 19th century, but nevertheless retained its strong identity. It boasts three French presidents - Doumer, Pompidou and Giscard d'Estaing; other famous names are the Marquis de La Fayette, of American renown, the mathematician/philosopher Blaise Pascal and the civil rights champion and resistance fighter Germaine Tillion. Exceptional breeds of cattle and dairy products, fine bespoke cutlery and the Michelin rubber and mapping empire can be added to the list. Auvergne now attracts newcomers with the prospect of a greener and more fulfilling life. The book has a strong educational slant since it was inspired by the curiosity of the Author's former students of French about the character of the region. Enhancing the geography, history and economics are original extracts from literature and public announcements reprinted in French with English translations to aid the educational value.
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Catherine Pinchetti was born in Paris, and is a graduate of the Ecole des Chartes, a French Grande Ecole for historians and curators of heritage subjects. She taught French as a foreign language widely in the USA, France and the UK in prep schools, Alliances Francaises and Chambers of Commerce. She has also contributed articles to the journals 'Bien-dire' and 'Go! English', and has been actively involved in fostering cross-channel language and cultural exchanges, notably through twinning associations and summer-job placements for students. She now divides her time between Cambridge and Fontainebleau, and has embarked on a career as a writer.
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