The first time Frederic Ozanam ever traveled on his own, from Lyon to Paris, was November 2, 1831; he was about to start his studies at the Faculty of Law. He departed in a horse-drawn stagecoach to cover the 292 miles. It took three days and three nights to arrive in Paris; five horses and 18 passengers, inside and outside the cab. It was a sort of a box, where he was sentenced to an almost complete immobility. One could only go out twice a day, for lunch and dinner.
In France, the passenger railway was inaugurated in 1831, with a pair of short-range lines.
About the newly opened railway line from Rouen to Paris, Frederic wrote in 1843: “One wonders if anything weirder could be invented than the procedures by which it is achieved to place a stagecoach on rails, and if there is nothing wilder, more worthy of a century of barbarism than these railways that do not respect any of the most beautiful things, neither valleys, nor mountains, nor rivers, these railways that fill all, perforate everything and go straight ahead, always black, so that this beautiful countryside from Rouen to Paris becomes the most gray and monotonous world.”
Frederic traveled to Germany and Italy several times — Frederic and Amelie’s honeymoon was spent in Sicily — to Belgium, Switzerland, London and Spain, by stagecoach, steamboat or train.
Author: Juan Manuel Gómez,
vice-president, SSVP in Spain.
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