Named in honour of Doctor Bretonneau (1778–1862), a genius epidemiologist. He performed the first successful tracheotomy (entrance into the trachea through the muscles of the neck); successfully treated children suffering from rickets by feeding them cod-liver oil; made the clinical distinction between scarlet fever and diphtheria to which he gave its name; distinguished between typhoid and typhus; studied smallpox and introduced inoculation in the districts around Tours; was the first to realise that disease is caused by bacteria; discovered that the same illness manifests itself differently in different patients.Read More
Rue Nationale (formerly Rue Napoleon).
The most famous Frenchman of all time, Napoléon (the acute accent seems to be arbitrary) Bonaparte (1769-1821) is one of the most controversial leaders in history.Read More
Philosopher, author, composer and botanist, Rousseau (1712–1778) influenced the sociological, educational and cultural thought of eighteenth century Europe.
He was born into a family of watchmakers in Geneva. His parents were French but were exiled to Switzerland because they were Protestants. His mother died nine days after his birth, his father died when Jean-Jacques was ten. When he was sixteen, Rousseau left Switzerland to travel around France.Read More
The son of a lawyer, François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778) was known by his nom de plume Voltaire. Poet, philosopher, playwright, historian, biographer, pamphleteer, outspoken, controversial writer with a sharp, often cruel, wit. He had strong opinions on just about everything. He was scathing about Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church. He wanted freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the separation of church and state. Often vilified, he could never have imagined the posthumous recognition he would receive.Read More
René Descartes, as the street sign says, was a philosopher, mathematician and physicist. He is remembered for many reasons not least among them for saying: ‘I think, therefore I am’ (cogito, ergo sum). Known as The Father of Modern Philosophy, his writings are still in vogue. He is also famous for stating that the mind is separate from the body. He identified the mind with consciousness and self-awareness separated from the physical brain. This is known now as Cartesian Dualism. Humans have a mind (non-physical) and body/brain (physical). The mind and body are separate. It was Descartes who made the connection between geometry and algebra to solve geometrical problems with algebraic equations.Read More
Jean Racine (1639–1699) was a gifted playwright. He is not given nearly enough credit for influencing playwrights Henrik Ibsen, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. Racine was the first French author to live entirely on money earned from writing. How many plays, apart from those of Shakespeare, are staged three hundred years after the playwrights death? Racine’s are.Read More
François Rabelais (1494–1553) was, and still is, a much-loved eccentric thought of with affection. He was a writer, doctor, philosopher and monk.
Rabelais was born near Chinon, not far from Amboise. His father was a successful lawyer. You do wonder what he thought of his son who was famous for dirty jokes and bawdy songs. No-one was safe from his funny, mocking, provocative satires. An avant-garde inventor of fantasy and of the grotesque, his laugh out loud crude language still shocks five hundred years later. His comic masterpieces are about two giants, Gargantua and his son Pantagruel whose adventures are littered with crude scatological humour. Rabelais gave the world its ‘gargantuan’ appetite and its ‘Rabelaisian’ sense of humour.Read More