Christopher S. Thompson

in The Tour de France

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780520256309
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934863 | DOI:

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter discusses the social, cultural, and political history of bicycling under the Third Republic, including aspects of the Tour de France. It explains that the French have found the Tour a particularly productive site for competing narratives about France and Frenchness, and notes that the race quickly established itself as the nation's most popular sporting event, attracting ever-more-extensive media coverage. The chapter discusses that most of the Tour-inspired narratives reflect their often-conflicted relationship with modernity. It clarifies that the French have used the race to tell stories about what it means to be French and what it means to be modern.

Keywords: bicycling; Third Republic; Tour de France; modernity; Frenchness; French

Chapter.  2188 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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