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Club d'Histoire

History Blog

This region is steeped in European history. There is a rich heritage from the Romans to the present day. Local experts are invited to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with the members. Many of the sessions are site visits.

History outing for September

Local History Posted on Mon, July 01, 2019 09:57


September 11th – The visit to commence at l’abbaye aux Dames, meeting at 11 am at the Carousel (details on Youtube),

At 12 am we will go to the restaurant we will have chosen (details later, when selected and priced from the many nice restaurants in Saintes)
After the meal we will go to the Musee de l’Echevinage to see the exhibition with our guide.

The tour will be on three levels: the first one is dedicated to paintings about Franche-Comté from where Courbet was born.

The second level is about the sponsors who helped him. And the last one is about the caricatures made on Courbet, because he was a ‘nefarious’ character.
After the exhibition we will go by gabarre on the river Charente to be shown the landscape he appreciated and the guide will tell us about his pictorial style.

The cost and further details will be forthcoming.

The details of Gustave Courbe’s life and paintings are, of course, on the internet as are details of this particular exhibition, the Carousel and the Gabarre.

The Orient Express

Local History Posted on Wed, February 06, 2019 10:49

Hello everyone…..Francoise Martin has prepared a lecture…for the A F A HistoryGroup, date 17th February, 3pm Le Maison des Associations Royan and invites you to enjoy travelling on

The Orient Express

‌Dans cette causerie en français et en anglais, nous vous parlerons de la création de l’Orient-Express par Georges Nagelmackers. Nous n’oublierons pas de mentionner le luxe et le confort qui ont fait la réputation de ce train mythique et qui a fait rêver plus d’une génération.

Sans oublier les apports tant politiques que techniques, car Nagelmackers, en créant son train avait une grande ambition: celle d’ouvrir les frontières européennes et d’accélérer les échanges entre Occident et Orient.
Nous parlerons aussi de quelques mésaventures arrivées à ce train et à ses passagers, ainsi que de quelques clients célèbres pour leurs frasques amoureuses à bord de l’Orient-Express.
Nous vous souhaitons bon voyage !

The talk, in English and French, will tell you the story and the creation of the Orient-Express, by Georges Nagelmackers.
We will not forget to mention the luxury and the comfort that made this mythic train’s reputation, fulfilling more than one générations dream.
As well, we will not forget its important political contribution. Creating this train Nagelmackers had a great ambition: to open the boarders and to accelerate the exchanges between Occident and Orient.
We will talk about some of the misadventures that happened to the train and its passengers, and about some clients, famous for their romantic mischief on board of the Orient-Express.
Have a good trip !


Local History Posted on Thu, January 24, 2019 07:45

Jean-Noel Becuwe has now given us 5 very interesting and detailed musical lectures. Last Sunday’s was almost the most successful with over 40 people attending and enjoying the afternoon. He has created a ‘blogspot’ giving details of all his lectures and we thought it would be of interest to all of you who attended the lectures and maybe some other music and history lovers who were unable to attend. Here are the details Many thanks to Jean-Noel and of course Lauriane.

January 2019

Local History Posted on Thu, December 13, 2018 17:55

Two History events for January 2019

Here are two dates for your diary to begin the New Year 2019 thanks to Francoise Martin and Jean-Noel Becuwe. Please make a note of them and if you want to come to the Museum contact Francoise, details below and for the Lecture on Sir Edward Elgar and Lady Alice Elgar there is not need to book just please come and share an interesting afternoon discovering their world and hearing some of the lovely music he made.

First Event: January 8th, 2.15 for 2.30 outside the Musee de Royan to see the exhibition of photography:

Exhibition at le Musee de Royan History guided tour on Tuesday 8th January 2.30 meet outside the Musee at 2.15.”La Grande Guerre dans l’estuaire” “WWI in the estuary” réalisée par le Conservatoire de l’Estuaire de la Gironde WWI seen by Fernand Braun”Grâce à de grandes reproductions découvrez comment le photographe de Royan, Fernand Braun, mit en images les conséquences de la Grande Guerre dans la région: vie quotidienne, présence de l’armée, hôpitaux temporaires.les visites sont réalisées par le chercheur associé de l’Université de La Rochelle, Benjamin Caillaud, spécialiste de l’œuvre de Fernand Braun.Thanks to great reproductions, come and see how the Royan photographer, Fernand Braun, put in images the WWI conséquences in the region: daily life, presence of the Army, temporary hospitals.the visits are made by the researcher, benjamin Caillaud attached to the University of La Rochelle. He is a specialist of Fernand Braun.

Afer the exhibition from 4.30pm Francoise has arranged for a sum of 8.50€ to go to the Casino for a drink (coffee, tea or chocolate) and one plate with lemon tart, brownie and mille feuille. Again contact Francoise to confirm.

2nd event for January:

Sunday January 20th at la Maison des Associations Royan at 3.00 pm you are invited to a conference given by Jean-Noe Becuwe entitled:

Pomp And Circumstance, Sir Edward Elgar et Lady Alice Elgar

Fils de modestes commerçants, Edward Elgar (1857-1934) est devenu le plus célèbre compositeur d’Angleterre. Grâce à l’appui sans réserve de son épouse Alice, il a rencontré les personnages les plus influents. Volage, curieux, et avide des nouveautés de son époque, il a beaucoup voyagé, tout en restant profondément attaché à sa campagne du Worcestershire. Ce sont les mille facettes d’Elgar et de sa musique que je vous invite à découvrir, dans un contexte historique allant de l’Angleterre victorienne jusqu’aux années 1930.

“Pomp And Circumstance”, Sir Edward Elgar and Lady Alice Elgar

Though being a son of a modest shop-keeper, Edward Elgar (1857-1934) became England’s most famous composer. Thanks to the unreserved support of his wife Alice, he met the most influential characters. Attracted by female acquaintances, curious, having a keen interest for new techniques, he traveled a great deal, nevertheless, he remained deeply attached to his Worcestershire countryside. I invite you to discover the world of Elgar and his music, in a historical context ranging from Victorian England to the 1930s

Please do come along, as all Jean-Noel’s previous lectures you will be in for a ‘treat’!!!!

Exploration of Outer Space

Local History Posted on Thu, November 22, 2018 17:19

Alain Fuenten is giving a lecture

The history of the conquest of Outer Space
Histoire de la conquest spatiale

(very topical at the moment,) on Sunday 2nd December, 3pm at le Maison des Associations Royan. Please come along to support Alain and the History Group…refreshments will be served after.

We look forward to seeing as many members as we can.

Destines de femmes, compositrices oubliees

Local History Posted on Wed, September 12, 2018 20:23

These are the details of Jean-Noel Becuwe’s lecture/talk for the AFA History Group. The subject is very interesting and ‘unusual’, and we hope as many of you who can, will come along to hear Jean-Noel give one of his, always, captivating talks.

Sunday 14th October at le Maison des Associations, Royan at 3.00 pm. You will be most welcome and tea and biscuits will be provided with a chance to discuss and question Jean-Noel after the talk.

Destins de femmes, compositrices oubliées.

Compositrices apparaissent dans les encyclopédies de la musique.
Pourtant des œuvres de valeur ont été écrites pas des femmes qui ont bravé les conventions et les préjugés de leur temps. Je vous propose d’aller à la rencontre de trois compositrices, dans un contexte historique entre la Révolution française et le vingtième siècle. Complètement différentes et novatrices dans leur démarche, elles ont essayé de pratiquer leur art à l’égal des hommes.

Fates of women, forgotten composers.

Few female composers are mentioned in encyclopedias of music, yet valuable works had been written by women who had braved the conventions and prejudices of their time.
I propose to talk about three female composers in an historical context between the French Revolution and the twentieth century. They were completely different and innovative in their approach to try to practice their art on a par with men.

Outing to le Vendee Thursday June 7th

Local History Posted on Tue, May 15, 2018 11:58

We still have places so take a look at the programme. As you can see Francoise has found us two wonderful places to discover and with a delightful restaurant for lunch…

(This time the first Abbaye is spelled correctly) and is Abbaye de Mallezais. Details can be found on the internet for all the visits and restaurant:

Starting at 10 am with a visit to: Abbey-Maillezais, Vendee

Then we have lunch at hotel Le Rabelais, Fontenay- le- Compte, or take a picnic if you prefer

with afternoon visit to

Chateau de Terre Neuve, Fontenay le Comte, Vendee.

Total cost for visits and lunch is 34.50 per persons, if only going to the Abbaye and Chateau it will be 10,50.

Contact Fancoise on
or telephone 0546383754

Sunday 18th March

Local History Posted on Thu, March 15, 2018 18:47

Haendel, le plus anglais des compositeurs allemands

La conférence nous transportera à Londres en 1717.

Il y a 300 ans, l’Angleterre adoptait avec enthousiasme le compositeur allemand Haendel.

En même temps, elle adoptait à contre cœur un nouveau roi, George 1er, lui aussi allemand.

Le roi faisait appel au musicien et à sa célèbre “Water Music” pour organiser une somptueuse fête sur la Tamise afin de se rendre plus populaire.

Essayer de reconstituer cette époque avec authenticité, c’est aussi se poser la question de l’usage des instruments anciens et du style d’interprétation. Tout simplement, jouer Haendel avec un cor moderne à piston, c’est aussi anachronique… que de le représenter en smoking devant une Jaguar !

Handel, the most English of German composers

The conference will transport us to London in 1717.

300 years ago, England enthusiastically adopted the German composer Handel.

At the same time, she reluctantly adopted a new king, George I, also a German.

The king called upon the musician and his famous “Water Music” to organize a sumptuous party on the Thames to make himself more popular.
Trying to reconstruct this time with authenticity is also about the use of old instruments and the style of interpretation. Simply, playing Handel with a modern piston horn is as anachronistic … as representing him in a tuxedo in front of a Jaguar!

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