Posts Tagged ‘French Revolution’

Demolition of the Bastille by Hubert Robert

The Bastille: in the shadow of a fortress

Truth be told, I miss the Bastille. The current column that stands where the old fortress towered above passersby seems very bland by comparison. What a building the old Bastille must have been! But 18th century Parisians had a grimmer take than I on the fortress. It was used as a weapon and ammunition depot […]



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Madame Royale, a novel by Elena Maria Vidal

The French Restoration (1814-1830) is an era woefully neglected by historical novelists. Fortunately, Elena Maria Vidal helps fill this void with her Madame Royale. Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte de France, Duchesse d’Angoulême, was the eldest child of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, and later the last Queen of France, albeit for a few minutes, until her husband’s abdication on […]



Louis XVI farewell to his family

21st of January 1793: death of Louis XVI on the guillotine

As usual on this blog, I will strive to recount this dramatic event through the testimony of eyewitnesses. Let us simply remember that, following the storming of the royal palace of the Tuileries on the 10th of August 1792, Louis XVI and his family (Marie-Antoinette, their two children, Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte and Louis-Charles, and his sister Madame […]



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For the King: the Christmas Eve assassins

Today is the 210th anniversary of the Rue Nicaise attack, the topic of my second novel, For the King. The assassination attempt against Napoleon Bonaparte missed its target, but killed or maimed dozens of innocents.Today is the 210th anniversary of the 1800 Rue Nicaise bombing, which is the backdrop of my second novel, For the […]



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The Salon of the Grand Couvert at Versailles: the room where Marie-Antoinette did not have dinner

Another Versailles update: the Salon of the Grand Couvert has been restored to its past splendor, as part of the ongoing refurbishment of the entire palace. The Salon of the Grand Couvert is part of the Queen’s Grand Apartment. Couvert means place setting in French, and this is the room where the royal couple had […]



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Swimsuits in 1810 Paris…

Parisians used to love to bathe in the Seine. Horrendous pollution notwithstanding, in the 18th century every summer saw people swimming in the river, generally in the nude. Only at the onset of the French Revolution was skinny-dipping outlawed, for men and women. Hence these early 19th century bathing suits, shown in a print posted […]



AE Instant History Expert French Revolution

A giveaway: win the entire A&E Instant History Expert series

A&E Home Entertainment has just released a new line of six titles – HISTORY INSTANT EXPERT, offering “on-the-spot knowledge to students and lifelong learners on a wide variety of topics. Each DVD has bonus features – quizzes, study guides, activities and more.” Here is more information on each title, provided by A&E: FRENCH REVOLUTION: The […]



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The Chouans, Jean Chouan, the Catholic and Royal Army and the fall of Napoléon

On Christmas Eve 1800, a group of Chouans, royalist insurgents, detonated a bomb along Napoléon Bonaparte’s path. This assassination attempt provides the backdrop of my new novel, For the King. Readers have asked me for more information about them. Why the name Chouans? What drove them to political violence? Were they a major political force? […]



Bastille-demolition-Hubert-Robert

The aftermath of Bastille Day: what happened after the 14th of July 1789

I can never walk by the Place de la Bastille without thinking of the mighty fortress that used to stand there. A medieval oddity at what was then the city limit. Yes, I wish the huge walls were still there, towering over me. I recounted the events of that fateful summer day of 1789 in […]



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Diane de Poitiers returns to her grave…

Diane de Poitiers is one of the foremost ladies of the French Renaissance. As the mistress of King Henri II, twenty year her junior, she wielded immense political influence. She was given the royal title of Duchesse de Valentinois, and much of the crown jewels. The palatial chateau of Anet was built for her in […]