The Road from the Past is a unique new way of looking at France, looking at history, and looking at travel. In it, Ina Caro takes us on an unforgettable tour of France, traveling north through its beautiful regions and chronologically through its colorful history.
We start in Provence, where the Roman Empire held sway, and then go to Languedoc to visit the sites that marked the Age of Faith following the Empire’s fall. Next is the Dordogne, where we experience the feudal Middle Ages, from Charlemagne and the Age of Chivalry to the life of Joan of Arc. Continuing north, we come to the château-studded Loire Valley, “the Valley of Kings,” where monarchs and nobles, as well as their charming mistresses, plotted for wealth and power. Finally, we reach the Île-de-France, surrounding Paris, where Louis XIV solidified his autocratic and imperialistic reign—as did Napoleon a century later
With Ina Caro as an epicurean, knowledgeable, and delightfully opinionated guide, we can always be sure to find the most breathtaking vistas, the most extraordinary châteaux, the most inspiring cathedrals, the best meals. The Road from the Past takes us to where history unfolds—and then to a favorite spot for a picnic or a five-course dinner.
The human drama of French history comes vibrantly alive as medieval historian Caro, who has driven many times from the Roman ruins of Provence to Napoleon's Arch of Triumph in Paris, re-creates the places she saw and the historical events connected with them. With her husband, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Robert A. Caro, as traveling companion, she takes us inside Roman villas, fortified medieval cities, royal castles, abbeys and Baroque palaces. Her delightful blend of travel, history and pithy observations on French culture unfolds chronologically with historic tales of love, murder, political intrigue, treachery and selflessness. Along with Joan of Arc, poet-prince Charles d'Orleans and extravagant Nicholas Fouquet, Louis XIV's embezzling finance minister, we meet astonishing figures such as Foulques Nerra (``Black Falcon''), the war-mongering 11th-century Count of Anjou who obtained a large segment of the Loire valley--the dowry of his first wife, who he burned at the stake. Then he married another heiress to win control of more of the valley.