In the UK we name our roads after trees, flowers, birds, etc. Occasionally we commemorate Prime Ministers, battle heroes or members of the royal family. In France many roads have the names of famous people, often with their dates of birth and a few lines about their lives. Every town has the obligatory rue Victor Hugo (novelist), boulevard Jean Jaurés (Minister of Education who established free primary schools) and place General De Gaulle (war time leader and President). It is possible to trace the progress of the allies in the second world war, especially in Normandy, by the roads containing dates starting from D-day through to August 25, 1944, when Paris was liberated. Fighting was still taking place after that so, rue 30 Août can be found in a town south of Paris. Writing a few lines about celebrities on lamp posts, seems to me, to be an excellent way for children to learn a bit of history.

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