France

Adventure Time with Alexandre Dumas

Adventure Time with Alexandre Dumas

On July 24, 1802, French writer Alexandre Dumas, also known as Alexandre Dumas, père, was born. He is best known for his historical novels of high adventure. Translated into nearly 100 languages, these have made him one of the most widely read French authors in history. The Master of the Musketeers Alexandre Dumas’ novels have all become popular icons. Think of his ‘Three Musketeers‘, I really don’t know how many versions I saw…
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Jean de La Fontaine and the Moral of the Story

Jean de La Fontaine and the Moral of the Story

On July 8, 1621, Jean de La Fontaine, the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century, was born. He is best known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists all across Europe. “History some truths contains, which well may serve  For lessons.” – Jean de la Fontaine, Fables (1668–1679), Book I (1668), Dedication “To Monseigneur the Dauphin”. The…
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Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

On July 7, 1752, French weaver and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard was born. He is best known for his invention of the programmable loom, the “Jacquard loom“, which in turn played an important role in the development of the computer. Back in the 18th century, literally nobody – maybe with the exception people like Leibniz [4] or Pascal [5] – thought about a programmable computer. But, it was the time, the industrial revolution should get…
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Pierre Corneille and the Baroque Drama in France

Pierre Corneille and the Baroque Drama in France

On June 6, 1606, French tragedian Pierre Corneille was born. Seen on a European scale, his entire oeuvre belongs to the Baroque era. Along with Molière [1] and Jean Racine, he is considered one of the great playwrights of the French classical period. “La raison et l’amour sont ennemis jurés.” (Reason and love are sworn enemies.) – Pierre Corneille, La nourrice, La Veuve [The Widow], (1631), Youth and Literary Beginnings Pierre Corneille was the…
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The Mechanical Telegraph – a French Invention

The Mechanical Telegraph – a French Invention

On May 23, 1813, the first (modern) optical telegraph line following the mechanical telegraphy system of the French inventor Claude Chappe between Metz and Mainz was established. No, this wasn‘t the first of its kind, but it was the first to connect the former already in France established telegraphy system with a (now) German city. Long before the Days of Morse Code Early telecommunications included smoke signals and drums. Talking drums were…
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Honoré de Balzac and the Comédie Humaine

Honoré de Balzac and the Comédie Humaine

On May 20, 1799, French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac was born. He is best known for his his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, which is reflected in his opus magnum, the Comédie Humaine, sequence of short stories and novels, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the period of the Restoration and the July Monarchy (1815–1848).…
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Vauban or the Art of Fortress Construction

Vauban or the Art of Fortress Construction

On May 1 (or May 4), 1633, French military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban was born. Considered the expert in his field, rivaled only by his Dutch contemporary, Menno van Coehoorn, his design principles served as the dominant model of fortification for nearly 100 years, while his offensive tactics remained in use until the early twentieth century. He made a number of innovations in the use of siege artillery and founded the Corps…
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Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and the Marseillaise

Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and the Marseillaise

On April 25, 1792, French army officier Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle during the French Revolution composes the ‘Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin‘ for the declaration of war against Austria. Under the name ‘La Marseillaise‘ his song later becomes the national anthem of France. Everybody knows the French National Anthem I’m pretty sure that almost everybody knows the French national anthem, the so-called Marseillaise, simply because of its numerous references throughout music…
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Encore un Moment – The Life of Madame Du Barry

Encore un Moment – The Life of Madame Du Barry

On April 22, 1769, Jeanne Bécu, comtesse du Barry, better known as Madame du Barry, was introduced at the French court. Originally being only a seamstress, Madame du Barry should become Maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV of France and the most powerful woman in France. From Street Seller to Courtesan Madame du Barry was born in Lorraine, France and had to support herself financially at the age of 15 or 16. It is…
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Royal Botanist Charles Plumier

Royal Botanist Charles Plumier

On April 20, 1646, French botanist Charles Plumier was born. He is considered one of the most important of the botanical explorers of his time. He made three botanizing expeditions to the West Indies, which resulted in a massive work Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera (1703–04) and was appointed botanist to king Louis XIV of France. A Friar and Botanist Charles Plumier was born in Marseille and entered the order of the Minims,…
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