French magazine about Scottish culture launched to mark 730th anniversary of ‘Auld Alliance’

A magazine about Scottish culture and politics is to be created for the French market to mark the 730th anniversary of the Franco-Scottish “Auld Alliance”.

A group of French cultural experts living in Scotland - led by French journalist Assa Samake-Roman - is to create the magazine, La Revue Écossaise, to sell in bookshops across France and online to celebrate the special relationship between Scotland and France and “allow readers to consider Scotland through a Francophone lens”.

The twice-yearly publication will be the first French-speaking magazine about Scotland aimed at the general public. The group, which also includes tourist guide Sarah Lachhab, reporter and photo journalist Julien Marsault, Scots poet Paul Malgrati and political adviser Jean Roman-Samaké, are all founders of La Revue Ecossaise. They plan to publish a total of six issues from this summer, with the last falling in 2025 – the 730th anniversary of the “Auld Alliance” against England in 1295.

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Ms Samake-Roman, who has launched a crowd funding platform to publish the magazine, said: “Voltaire, the figurehead of the French Enlightenment, once wrote: ‘We look up to Scotland for our core ideas of civilisation’. Today, the Scottish nation is faced with many challenges. These are stimulating, not just for Scots, but for the world at large.

Journalist Assa Samaké-Roman, tourist guide Sarah Lachhab, reporter and photo journalist Julien Marsault, Paul Malgrati, Scots poet, and Franco-Scots translator and political adviser Jean Roman-Samaké are all founders of La Revue Ecossaise.

“We want to give Scotland a platform outside the English-speaking world: we want to amplify Scottish voices, allowing them to challenge, provoke, and intrigue our European and Francophone readers.”

She added: “In a day and age where there are so many divisions and so much acrimony, we want to show we have so much in common. This is something I feel very passionate about.”

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Ms Lachhab said: “Each issue is going to have a big theme. For me, as a tourist guide, I really see the interest of having touristic content because it will be interesting for people that just want to visit Scotland, but we actually want to go further than that and not just do the classic, super shiny, glossy pictures. We want to actually address the big questions of Scottish society, we want to address politics as well. We want to have a wider angle that actually goes further than just the easiest tourist stories you can find already, sometimes in newspapers and magazines you can buy in France.

“This is quite a challenge for us. How can we interest people who already know a lot about Scotland, but still give them really good content and a really good approach?”

The first edition will include a photo story about sister cities, Marseille and Glasgow, as well as an historical essay on Franco-Scottish ties, from the medieval Auld Alliance to democratic, cosmopolitan cooperation in the modern era.

The Auld Alliance began with a treaty, signed by John Balliol and Philip IV of France in 1295, against Edward I of England. The terms of the treaty stipulated that if either country were attacked by England, the other country would invade English territory. The 1513 Battle of Flodden, where the Scots invaded England in response to the English campaign against France, was one such occasion.

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