Reportedly owned by Prince Charles, Marans are named for a port town on France’s Atlantic coast. They are prized for their chocolate brown eggs, which are noted as James Bond’s favorites and apparently the only ones used on Martha Stewart’s television show.
Their origins date back to the 12th century, when Eleanor of Aquitane married Henry Platagenet, the Duke of Anjou and later Henry II of England. The subsequent domination of France by the English brought British sailing ships to the port of Marans, whose sailors were fond of keeping chickens for companionship and fighting purposes. These chickens were crossed with French marsh chickens, resulting in a breed that can tolerate dampness well.
This poster dates from 1936
Marans were introduced to England and the United States in 1929. They come in a variety of strains, including Silver and Golden Cuckoo, White, Coppered Black and Black, Wheat, Black-tailed Fawn, and Ermine; with the considered addition of Silvered Black. They are generally known to be calm and even lazy, although temperament varies by strain and some can be wild and difficult to manage.