1939 was a difficult year for France. Not only did it experience the indignity of an invasion on its North East border from Hitler’s hordes late in the year, the country suffered a very different incursion in its far South-West in the early months of the year.

The shameful camps, over crowded, in-humane, crammed to overflowing with desperate Republicans escaping Franco’s Spain seem an unlikely place for art to flourish. But artists were there as can be seen in the Museum in La Jonquera. And they did not go un-noticed in Perpignan either.

On the site will be « un musée de la grandeur de l’homme libre, pour un mémorial non de la défaite mais du combat, pour un musée de l’homme digne et debout. » (A musem to show how great is the free man, a memorial of combat, not of defeat, a museum showing man dignified and standing tall)

The poppy is a powerful and iconic symbol of remembrance in England, but did you know that the French have an equivalent, ‘Le Bleuet de France’, their own poignant reminder of the First World War?