L’Esprit du Pays de Galles

Name of traveller

Jean-Claude Taralle (b. 1944)

Reason for travel

  • study trip abroad as holder of a Zellidja Travel Grant

Date of travel

2 July to 8 August 1961

[À Cardiff] L’ensemble est très moderne de conception, construit sur un plan très rationnel avec voies de communication, jardins, allées, parcs. C’est le nouveau Pays de Galles qui pourrait être symbolisé ici. (Taralle 28)


  • architecture:
    • very impressed by the modern and rational design of the architecture in Cardiff city centre as a symbol of the new Wales
    • Tintern Abbey is located in a magnificent setting, but of inferior, fragile Gothic architecture
  • customs:
    • describes Colwyn Bay as a very Celtic and Welsh old village and interesting seaside resort
    • sees a stronger national feeling in the people on Anglesey; a refuge for Welsh nationalism and the last druids
    • arrives in Llangollen in the week leading up to the International Eisteddfod; describes the town as having put on its Welsh costume, but it is not sufficiently Welsh
    • praises the success and quality of St Fagans National History Museum in its recapturing and preservation of Welsh life across the centuries
  • history:
    • relates the history of the National Library of Wales
    • finds Wales a strange nation without a national history or capital, but with a national people, identity and language
  • language:
    • notes a border between Wales and England only in terms of the different accent in Wales which is more difficult to understand
    • most of the gravestone inscriptions in the churchyard of Northop are in Welsh
    • most of the lessons at the university in Bangor are held in Welsh
    • mentions efforts to revitalise the Welsh language in more anglicised south-east Wales
  • people: is delighted with the friendliness and kindness of old ladies
  • recreation: stops at the newly opened tourist information service in Llandrindod Wells
  • terrain:
    • the north Wales coast has a good reputation for its beauty and the seaside resorts
    • views Anglesey as a separate entity from Wales
    • the old and new university buildings are under construction in Aberystwyth
    • splendid mountain scenery around Snowdon, the heart of Wales
    • Aberystwyth is very quiet and hardly a seaside resort
    • passes through many old and picturesque villages
    • finds south Wales an inhumane, industrial region; Swansea is a modern town with little Welsh character
  • transport:
    • modes of travel: hitchhiking; on foot; train
    • catches a lift to Colwyn Bay despite the warnings issued by the Fondation Zellidja against hitchhiking
    • slow roads in north Wales make it difficult to reach destinations
    • bemoans the lack of Sunday trains

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Taralle, Jean-Claude. L’Esprit du Pays de Galles. 1961. Rapports de premier voyage Zellidja jusqu'en 1974; 3100. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. TS.