Friday, 24 January 2020

les domains français à l’éstranger

Though we cannot say for sure but a minor scuffle during a visit to Jerusalem by the French head of state that echoed a pointed altercation by a popular predecessor—whether a stunt or not—did nonetheless afford a fascinating, convoluted look into the small territorial claims, property-holdings (see also here and here) that the country has beyond metropolitan France.
The Church of Saint Anne—the mother of Mary and erected in the twelfth century during the regency of Queen Melisende under Crusader rule, at the site of a grotto that was believed to be a play spot of her young daughter, was reportedly gifted to Napoleon III by the Ottoman sultan in gratitude for his intervention in the Crimean War. In addition to this medieval structure at the head of Via Dolorosa, France lays claim (all disputed) to three other sites in the Holy Land, the Villa Médici in Rome, seven churches and crypts in the Vatican and the historical home of Victor Hugo on the UK dependency of Guernsey and the ensemble of buildings on Saint Helena where the disposed Napoleon (see previously) was confined.