Thinking concurrently about the French remains a major imperative, despite the distance between Columbia and the Sorbonne. The need for doing so does not disappear in the absence of a manifest Methodenstreit, for the French had their own version; nor does the lack of a Pirenne or a Lamprecht in pre-war France provide a case for its marginality. As one looks forward into the period of European disaster between 1918 and 1939, the impression strengthens that the belle époque concealed a time of transition that would provide the groundwork for a series of developments that would make France the most exciting forum of historical thought between the great wars of the twentieth century. The date of fundamental importance within that period is one known to everyone who studies historiography at all: 1929, the year when Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre founded a new periodical to which they, under pressure from their publisher, gave the title Annales d’histoire économique et sociale. Though the subtitle has changed, Annales has remained an avatar for one approach and become the name not only of a publication but also of a major school of historical enquiry, the most celebrated and admired, lamented and despised school of historiography to which the present century has given rise. Much of the resonance of Annales’ foundation derives from the conditions of the inter-war period, as we shall see. But no small degree of influence attaches to developments within French historiography in those crucial years of transition before 1914 that we have observed in the cases of Germany, Britain and the United States. Annales has a history avant la lettre.