France changed forms of the government several times and was either an Empire or a Republic, with its possessions in Europe, Africa and Asia. By the end of the 19th century, France had emerged as a colonial power, introducing its culture, language and architecture to various countries in Africa and Asia. From a tourist point of view, the architecture and houses preserved in various cities of Vietnam, Tunisia, Algeria and even Turkey are of particular interest. For lovers of military history, of great interest are the forts built on military bases in northern Africa, which, unfortunately, are not yet accessible to tourists, as they are used by the local military and gendarmes as military installations. At the end of the First World War, France also had military bases, primarily in Turkey (Istanbul, Chatalca, Gallipoli..) and Greece (Lemnos island). Of great interest to historians and tourists is also a unique phenomenon – the French concession in Shanghai with its unique architecture and flavor. After the Second World War, the national liberation movement of former colonies and protectorates in Africa and Asia began for their independence. This movement was supported by the Soviet Union, the “Evil Empire” (according to the American President) and consisted of ideological, financial and military-technical assistance. Thus, the Cold War affected France in its former territories.
France and emigrants, short notes and comments
France is a multinational and multi-religious country, where there are many emigrants not only from African countries, but also political refugees from communist countries in Europe. France received the largest number of political refugees after the revolution in Russia. Tsar Nicholas 2 and the Imperial Army were allies in the Entente, so France helped the White armies during the Russian Civil War in the fight against the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks hated everything tsarist, pre-revolutionary and killed everyone – officers, engineers, priests and even writers and artists. The entire pre-revolutionary elite left Russia and ended up at French military bases in Turkey, Greece and Tunisia. In the Far East, in the French concession in Shanghai, the number of Russian refugees exceeded several times the French living there. The total number of these refugees numbered several million. Having lost a significant part of the male population in the First World War, France needed workers and accepted emigrants from the former Russian Empire for hard work in the mines, but also as engineers. As an example, we can cite the fact that in the 20s and 30s, almost all taxi drivers in Paris were Russians, former officers and generals of the Imperial Army.
World War II and Displaced Persons DP camps
After World War II, there were French occupation zones and Displaced Persons (DP) camps in Austria and Germany. This story is very interesting, but very few emigrants came from the DP camps to France, mainly from the French Concession in Shanghai through the camps on the island of Tubabao, Philippines.
Our team has unique archives and artifacts regarding the above events, cities, military bases and concessions, which we will show on our Guide. Our team conducts private tours of some memorable places. For places that no longer exist, we show on our directory “Virtual Tours” with old photographs and descriptions. Below we provide links to some such memorable historical places.
Guide, description and virtual tour of Tunisia.
France made significant contributions to the history, culture, architecture and military affairs of Tunisia. French is considered the second official language in this country, spoken by almost all residents. The Arabic flavor combined with the French districts of the old cities make traveling around Tunisia very exciting. For lovers of military history, I would like to note the former naval base and fortified area of the city of Bizerte. More than 10 forts built at the end of the 19th century represent military-historical attractions, but only two can be visited; the rest are used by the Tunisian army. The Mediterranean coast and Lake Bizerte are the largest tourist beach areas in Tunisia. The sun, clear sea, excellent beaches combined with an Arab and former French city make Bizerte attractive to tourists from all over the world. During World War II, battles also took place here, after which many artifacts remained in museums. Of course, Tunisia is not a very good state legally; there are many prohibitions and dangers, which we will also talk about.
– Bizerte, Travel Guide, old photos, description and virtual tour
The city of Sousse is also inextricably linked with French history. For a long time there was a base of the French foreign legion, including the cavalry regiment, consisting of Russian emigrants – Cossacks and officers of the tsarist and anti-Bolshevik army. Sousse is also one of the main tourist seaside resorts in Tunisia with many modern comfortable hotels, restaurants and beaches. For history buffs, we recommend visiting the Medina, an ancient fortress district in the city center.
– Sousse, Travel Guide, old photos, description and virtual tour
The entire country of Tunisia contains historical sites related to the Arab past, the stay of France, the Second World War and the struggle for independence. Below we provide old and modern photos of various cities and places, as well as memories from our own archives. In Bizerte, there was a parking not only for submarines and ships of the Navy, but also a base for aircraft and airships. French military intelligence from the airship * made a whole series of magnificent unique panoramic views of Bizerte, Sousse, Tabarca and other cities and corners of Tunisia. Professional views of places with indication of time, height, shooting direction are made by excellent cameras and printed on paper with silver. All this makes it possible now to consider fortresses, beaches, houses, terrain and even cemeteries, as it was 100 years ago. We also provide modern views of these places, which you can visit on your own or with the help of local English-speaking guides. Perhaps you will find our own visit experience, reviews and useful tips useful.
– All cities and interesting places in Tunisia
Turkey, Constantinople, Istanbul and Gallipoli
Few people know, but the French army actively participated in the Dardanelles operation.
China and the French concession in Shanghai
to be continued..