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Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures


Theresa Vann


This project began with the intention of understanding the modern significance of medieval walled cities in France; some were torn down, some remain in pieces, and some were perfectly restored. By researching the histories of three cases studies, Carcassonne, Aigues-Mortes, and La Rochelle, as well as their current architectural states and tourist statistics, I have come to the conclusion that walled cities are preserved by the French as heritage sites in order to promote their cultural memory. Walled cities were once economic centers of trade as well as hot spots for conflict. The histories of Carcassonne, Aigues-Mortes, and La Rochelle present themes of religious persecution, inequality and assimilation, and recognition of authority, which contribute to an understanding of modern France. Additionally, communities of walled cities market their history through tourism in order to generate funds that continue preservation efforts and allow communities to maintain the walls. Tourism also allows the community to continue education about its heritage, thus preserving the cultural memory of the nation. For the French, the past does not pass and this phenomenon is evident at Carcassonne, Aigues-Mortes, and La Rochelle.


Readers: Karen Erickson, Chuck Villette