France

Catherine de Medici and St. Bartholomew’s Day

Catherine de Medici and St. Bartholomew’s Day

On April 13, 1519, Italian noblewoman and Queen of France Catherine de’ Medici was born. Catherine played a key role in the reign of her sons, and is blamed for the excessive persecutions of the Hugenots in particular for the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, in which thousands of Huguenots were killed in Paris and throughout France. Catherine de Medici and Henry, Duke of Orleans Catherine de’ Medici was born into a…
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Robert Delaunay and Orphism Art Movement

Robert Delaunay and Orphism Art Movement

On April 12, 1885, French artist Robert Delaunay was born. Together with his wife Sonia Delaunay and others, he cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. Light in nature creates movement in color. The movement is provided by the relationships of uneven measures, of colors contrasts among themselves and constitutes Reality. – Robert Delaunay Early Years Robert Delauney grew up with his aunt and…
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Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

On April 9, 1821, French poet Charles Baudelaire was born. He produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. Baudelaire is most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire is considered one of the major innovators in French literature. His themes of sex, death, lesbianism, metamorphosis, depression,…
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Baron Haussmann’s Renovation of Paris

Baron Haussmann’s Renovation of Paris

On March 27, 1809, French politician and city planer Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann, was born. He was the Prefect of the Seine Department in France, who was chosen by the Emperor Napoleon III to carry out a massive program of new boulevards, parks and public works in Paris, commonly called Haussmann‘s renovation of Paris. Old Paris In the middle of the 19th century, the center of Paris had the…
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General Thomas Alexandre Dumas – Napoleon’s ‘Black Devil’

General Thomas Alexandre Dumas – Napoleon’s ‘Black Devil’

On March 25, 1762, Thomas Alexandre Dumas was born. Dumas was the Father of the famous French author Alexandre Dumas [5] and the first black General in the French army. The story of his life should become the blueprint for his son’s most famous novels ‘The Count of Monte Christo‘ and ‘The Three Musketeers‘. “Do not value money for any more nor any less than its worth; it is a good servant but…
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The Phantastic Life of Cyrano de Bergerac – Forerunner of Enlightenment

The Phantastic Life of Cyrano de Bergerac – Forerunner of Enlightenment

On March 6, 1619, French novelist, playwright, epistolarian and duelist Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac was born. A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first half of the seventeenth century. Today he is best known as the inspiration for Edmond Rostand’s most noted drama Cyrano de Bergerac, which, although it includes elements of his life, also contains invention and myth. Cyrano – as he is…
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Henri Becquerel and Radioactivity

Henri Becquerel and Radioactivity

On March 1, 1896, French physicist Henri Becquerel while experimenting with X-rays and photographic plates discovered radioactivity along with Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, for which all three won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. “I developed the photographic plates on the 1st of March, expecting to find the images very weak. Instead the silhouettes appeared with great intensity. It is important to observe that it appears this phenomenon must not be attributed…
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La Voisin and the Scandalous Affair of the Poisons

La Voisin and the Scandalous Affair of the Poisons

On February 22, 1680, Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin, aka La Voisin, was sentenced to death for witchcraft and poisoning, and burned at the stake. This Affair of the Poisons (L’affaire des poisons) was a major murder scandal in France which took place in 1677–1682, during the reign of King Louis XIV. During it, a number of prominent members of the aristocracy were implicated and sentenced on charges of poisoning and witchcraft. The scandal…
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The Inglourious Death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Composer

The Inglourious Death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Composer

On January 8, 1687, French ballet dancer and composer Jean-Baptiste Lully struck his foot with his long conducting staff during a performance of his Te Deum. Because he refused to treat the wound, it got infected and he died from gangrene soon after. Besides this inglourious way of death, Lully is considered the chief master of the French baroque style, who stripped of all Italian influences from French music of the period and…
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Jean-Pierre Blanchard and the Balloonomania

Jean-Pierre Blanchard and the Balloonomania

On January 7, 1785, French inventor, aviation pioneer and balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English channel in a balloon flying from Dover Castle to Guînes for the first time. After the first balloon flights of the Montgolfier brothers a veritable “baloonomania” evolved with all manner of objects decorated with images of balloons or styled au ballon, from ceramics to fans and hats. Balloonomania Just two years before, the two brothers and business partners, Joseph-Michel…
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