Breaking Barriers on Wheels: The Inspiring Story of the Duchess of Uzès

You’ve heard us go on and on about how wonderful the medieval city of Uzès is by now. With its countless reasons to fall in love with Uzès, its history definitely ranks up there as being one of them.

While visiting Uzès, you will no doubt explore its heart and soul and the fragrant, appetizing Marché d’Uzès every Wednesday and Saturday on and around the Place aux Herbes. But of all the things we’ve shared with you about Uzès, there is one fascinating fact that I think we somehow overlooked.

As we celebrate Women’s Month this March, let’s spotlight a remarkable figure from history who broke barriers and paved the way for women in the world of automobiles – the Duchess of Uzès.

The Duchess of Uzès

Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart, better known as the Duchess of Uzès, was a true pioneer in the late 19th century. In 1898, she became the first woman in France to earn her driver’s license, a remarkable feat in an era when driving was predominantly a male-dominated activity. Her journey didn’t stop at just earning the license; she also made headlines for being the first woman to be fined for speeding – a testament to her fearless spirit and love for automobiles. PS If you’re thinking of driving in France best read up on what to expect!

The Duchess was not just any aristocratic figure. She was a descendant of the famous Veuve Clicquot and became a duchess at the age of 20. Widowed eleven years later, she did not conform to the expectations of her time. Instead, she channeled her energy into various passions – art, hunting, political activism, and, of course, her love for automobiles.

Her story is not just about breaking the glass ceiling in the world of driving. It’s about challenging norms and asserting the place of women in spaces where they were not expected to thrive. When she was denied entry into the Automobile Club de Paris, she didn’t step back. In 1926, she established the Women’s Automobile Club, creating a space for women enthusiasts in the automotive world.

Duchess of Uzès First Woman Driver
Photo: Wikipedia

The Duchess of Uzès’ story is a reminder of the tenacity and courage of women who dared to defy the status quo. As we reflect on her legacy, we see not just a story of a woman and her love for cars but a narrative of empowerment, challenging societal norms, and paving the way for future generations.

This Women’s Month, let’s draw inspiration from the Duchess of Uzès and celebrate all the women who continue to break barriers and drive change in every field they choose to venture into.

Join us on an extraordinary culinary adventure with our “Let’s Eat Uzès” holiday. Centered around the delectable world of food, our culinary tours are the perfect blend of history, culture, and gastronomy. Feed your passion for both food and travel as you take a bite out of history in the charming city of Uzès. Book your spot now and savor the taste of adventure!


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