FRANCE: A la Recherche de Marcel Proust

On summer weekends, trains, cars and buses converge on the tiny (pop. 3,250) hamlet of Illiers, 73 miles southwest of Paris, and disgorge groups of tourists. Illiers is, in most respects, an unremarkable French village. One thing sets it apart—it was here that Marcel Proust whiled away the timeless summer days of his childhood. Later, he immortalized the town under the fictional name of Combray in his monumental novel, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past). Relatively untouched by the modern age, as if it has been locked up...

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