Clemenceau was an energetic, clear-sighted Republican, determined to pursue policies that were right for France and for the French. He deserves to be remembered more often, as the sort of man you want on your side.
He was a close friend of Claude Monet, encouraging him to finish the waterlily paintings that now hang in the Orangerie.
Clemenceau was one of the most effective campaigners for Dreyfus when he was falsely accused of espionage. Emile Zola's open letter accusing the government of the time of anti-semitism and false imprisonment was published on the front page of Clemenceau's newspaper.
He was vehemently anti-Church and is largely responsible for the fourth tenet of the French Republic (after liberty, equality and fraternity) finally becoming law. Church and state are now strictly separated and France is officially a secular state.
He was Prime Minister of France twice, with his second term beginning in the final year of the First World War. He became very popular with the troops due to his regular visits to the front line and his practical measures to end the war. He was open about the fact that France had been shattered by the war, and pointed out that in the industrial heartland of France, the northern coal and steel producers, would need extensive rebuilding. Germany, on the other hand, was virtually undamaged, and Clemenceau knew that whilst France and her allies had technically won the war, Germany had won economically, and would be the first to recover. Although a great advocate of the idea of a co-operative Europe, he was sceptical about the newly formed League of Nations, commenting that it would only work in a utopian world.
****************************************There is a Marché aux truffes (Truffle Market) at Marigny-Marmande on Saturday 12, from 9 am to 1 pm. There will be a gourmet market and truffles with everything! Ungraded truffles are affordable, with a walnut sized tuber costing about €20, an egg sized one about €30. If you buy one, do allow the vendor to choose one for you, or take their advice about which one to buy, so that you get the best value for money. Worth going to just for the all pervasive smell of truffles in the air.