A wholly original and captivating history of France, filled with a lifetime’s knowledge and passion.

Robb’s own adventures and discoveries while living, working and travelling in France connect this mystery tour through space and time with on-the-ground experience. The scenes of wars and revolutions, from the plains of Provence to the slums and boulevards of Paris, and some of the protagonists may be familiar, but in a very different light – Caesar, Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon Bonaparte, General de Gaulle. Many other events, places and people have never before appeared in a history of France – a steam engine in a Gothic cathedral, a giant tree at the centre of France, an enigmatic attempt on the author’s life . . .This is the fruit of nearly half a century of research and thirty thousand miles on a self-propelled,  two-wheeled  time  machine  (a  bicycle).  It  will  make  even  seasoned Francophiles wonder if they really know that terra incognita on the edge of the Western Asian continent which is currently referred to as ‘France’.

Chaired by Sarah Kemp

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Booking Information

  • Priority Booking for Festival Friends opens at 08.00 on Tuesday 19th April. Tickets go on general sale from Thursday 21st April. 
  • Please note that a handling charge of 50p per ticket applies to bookings made in person or over the phone. No handling charges apply to online bookings.
  • Hearing loops are available.  Carers qualify for free ‘essential companion’ tickets. Wheelchair spaces are limited. In all cases, please call the Box Office on 01434 652477 to book (booking fees will not apply).