The "Land of our Ancestors" project

3 Communities to build an innovative tourism offer focused on roots tourism

The "Land of our Ancestors" project is based on a unique cooperation between three geographically distant communities, which are nevertheless convinced of the need to join forces to develop a coherent tourist offer and pool their resources. Alone we go fast, but with several we go further!

With a unique tangible and intangible heritage linked to the emigration to New France, the Interco Normandie Sud Eure, the Communauté de Communes des Hauts du Perche and the Community of Communes of the Marennes basinhave decided to jointly conduct a cooperation project focused on the development of an innovative form of tourism: roots tourism. The common challenge: to facilitate contact and travel for North Americans and Canadians in search of their French origins!

Land of our Ancestors" project begins in 2018 on three distinct territories that share a common history and a common desire to cooperate on this innovative tourism theme. Samuel de Champlain, the great architect of this colonisation, was born in Brouage and founded the city of Quebec in 1608. A few hundred Percherons left and settled in Quebec, keeping some of the most widespread family names (1.5 million descendants). The descendants of Paul Bertrand di Saint-Arnaud in the Eure region number more than 100,000 today, and François de Montmorency-Laval, the first bishop of Canada, was born in Montigny-sur-Avre.

An unprecedented cooperation in France to develop root tourism

Roots tourism is a project based on a form of tourism linked to a return to the roots of travellers to the land of their ancestors. It is a phenomenon that is already structured in the Anglo-Saxon countries that have provided many migrants (Ireland, Scotland, etc.), and is developing in African countries with the theme of slavery.

The idea is very prevalent in North America, among the descendants of those who colonised a territory and whose roots are extracontinental. It is therefore a question of a quest for identity and meaning for these tourists who return to the land of their ancestors, a tourism that is eminently sensorial and charged with emotion.

In France, very few territories have embraced this form of tourism, with the notable exception of the Montbéliard region, which offers routes relating to the migrants who left this territory in the 19th century.e Many of these people were born in Canada in the 19th century and have many descendants in Nova Scotia. However, many people choose to travel for reasons other than a change of scenery and culture; for them, it is a question of rediscovering a form of authenticity that brings into play the notions of identity, territory, mobility and otherness. In this sense, it is similar to religious tourism and memorial tourism, which offer a truly singular and personal journey by reappropriating history and that of one's family.

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Tour routes

Marennes basin


Tour routes



Tour routes



A common ambition, to discover the original lands of the founders of New France

Through the "Land of our Ancestors" project, the partner communities wish to :

In the framework of a first two-year action phase (2021-2022), the partner communities aim to build the foundations of the "Land of our Ancestors" offer through :