Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Versailles update

The restoration of the Palace is an ongoing project, and the Art Tribune (a highly recommended read, listed in my blogroll) informs us of the acquisition for over 3 million dollars of a Savonnerie carpet (left) ordered by Louis XV for the Royal Chapel. From the same source, an article on the restoration of the […]

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Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry Purification of the Virgin

La Chandeleur, Candlemas

This day, second of February, is la Chandeleur, know in English as Candlemas, or the Purification of Mary. It celebrates the Blessed Virgin’s ritual purification, forty days after the birth of Jesus, and the redemption of the first-born according to Jewish law. To illustrate this post, a miniature from what may be the most beautiful […]

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Execution of Louis XVI

On this day in 1793 died on the guillotine Louis XVI. I recommend Elena’s post at Tea at Trianon. On this engraving you can recognize the Place de la Révolution, formerly Place Louis XV (whose equestrian statue used to stand on the empty pedestal) nowadays Place de la Concorde.

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Pantheon St Genevieve watching over Paris

Sainte Geneviève, patroness of Paris

Elena at Tea at Trianon has a post on Sainte Geneviève, whose feast we celebrate today. To illustrate this entry, I chose a painting by Puvis de Chavannes at the Panthéon, probably the most unfairly ignored landmark in Paris (by locals and tourists alike, I must say.) Originally intended by Louis XV as a church […]

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Children of the Revolution: the French, 1799-1914, by Robert Gildea

I hasten to say that I haven’t read this book yet. But I received one of those unsolicited Amazon emails informing me of its publication (crafty Amazon seems to have figured out that I have an interest in the French Revolution!) I also came across this review on the Christian Science Monitor book blog, which […]

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18th century French midwife diploma

Childbirth in the 17th and 18th centuries

Holly Tucker at Wonders and Marvels posted a great entry on early midwifery. I also call your attention to her other post, not for the faint of heart, on C-sections before anesthesia. It is estimated that, in the 17th and 18th centuries, one woman out of two died in childbirth. Staggering. How could it not […]

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The Hemingses of Monticello, by Annette Gordon-Reed

I had heard of this book through Elena at Tea at Trianon and wanted to order it, when I happened upon a piece by the author in The Root, titled Sally Hemings and me. Professor Gordon-Reed, who teaches law at New York Law School and history at Rutgers University, writes: It was particularly fascinating to […]

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Madame de Tourzel

Another great post by Elena at Tea at Trianon on the Marquise (later Duchess) de Tourzel, who became governess to the royal children after the emigration of Madame de Polignac following the storming of the Bastille. Elena reminds us that Marie-Antoinette wrote the Marquise on that occasion: “I entrusted my children to friendship. I entrust […]

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The Duchess, by Amanda Foreman: first impressions

I want to finish Amanda Foreman‘s biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, before watching the upcoming film starring Keira Knightley. I will post a series of mini-reviews on the book as I read it. First I should note that Ms. Foreman shines in her depiction of the ton, a French word that designates the world […]

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The Black Tower, by Louis Bayard, and an upcoming interview of the author

I am always on the lookout for French-themed historical fiction. So when I heard of The Black Tower by Louis Bayard, I knew I had to read the novel. The setting is 1818 Paris. The Bourbons have been unsteadily restored to the throne of France after the successive upheavals of the Revolution and Napoleon’s reign. […]

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