chapter  4
Provincialism
ByHugh Clout
Pages 19

The economic unity that had been proclaimed at the Revolution remained more illusory than real after the July Monarchy. Feudal dues and internal tolls had been swept away by the Revolutionary fiscal regime but systems of communication were highly imperfect and thereby prevented the practical implications of legal unity being experienced throughout the realm. Rather than being a truly unified country nineteenth-century France remained a collection of provinces and pays displaying strikingly different sets of environmental resources and food supplies (Figure 1.1a). Tradition and custom continued to permeate agricultural activities and, indeed, every aspect of life. Feudalism had been abolished in name but something very similar survived in many areas well into the nineteenth century. The new national systems of weights and measures were not accepted readily by countryfolk and provincial languages and patois remained the normal means of expression across wide stretches of rural France.