French and Nature. Why so little love?

Original title: Les Français et la nature

Publication Date:

September 2017



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Animals & Nature

French and Nature. Why so little love?

Original title: Les Français et la nature

  • 2 Seas represents: English (US & Canada), Dutch and Nordic rights


(Mondes Sauvages)

Despite living in a country of vast swathes of beautiful countryside, the French are curiously indifferent to nature and its protection. It is a mindset that spans back centuries. Its neighbors, the British and Germans, have very different attitudes towards nature as can be seen in publications relating to the natural world, hunting and the environment.

This work looks at French peoples’ bizarre relationship to its wilderness by analyzing  the history of France’s vision of nature and the role of this vision in urbanization and the formation of rural identities and the geography of industrialization.

The approach enables a better comprehension of the complexity of phenomena and sidesteps hasty conclusions. Nature may have a more prestigious role in British and German research and literature, but their biodiversity and ecosystems are in an equally bad state.

As an historian of sciences and the environment, Valérie Chansigaud specializes in humankind’s relationship to nature. She has published a number of works with Editions Delachaux et Niestlé, including L’Histoire de l’ornithologie (2007), L’Homme et la Nature (2013, Grand Prix de l’Académie française, 2014) and Une histoire de fleurs (2014)