Posts Tagged ‘French Revolution’

henry-iv-assassination-housez

14th of May 1610: assassination of King Henri IV

Henri was known as le bon Roy, the good King. I found memoirs of the Revolution in which he is mentioned, almost 200 years after his death, as “the only king whose memory the people of France have treasured.” When the royal tombs at the Abbey of Saint-Denis were destroyed in 1793, an eyewitness reports […]



Frances Fanny Burney d Arblay

Women under Napoléon, a conference of the Burney Society in Paris

To be held on June 10 and 11. Our theme will be Women under Napoléon, says the Burney Letter, with keynote talks from Professor Frédéric Ogee of the Université-Paris Diderot and Professor Peter Sabor, from the Burney Centre at McGill University. There will be five Panels looking at Female Journalists and the Revolution; Fashion, Dress, […]



La Conciergerie, from royal palace to revolutionary prison

I first thought of the view of the Conciergerie as a background for my website and posted it with this idea. It fits my first novel, since the heroine of Mistress of the Revolution is jailed there, and the second one, since Roch Miquel, my protagonist in For the King works at the Préfecture de […]



Tuileries during the French Revolution

The 10th of August 1792: fall of the French monarchy

The 10th of August 1792 is one of the key dates of the French Revolution. Why was the populace of Paris so enraged at the King and Queen? The war on Austria had been declared a few months earlier, and had turned into a military disaster for France. The Austrians and their Prussian allies were […]



5 October 1789 Paris women march on Versailles

The Tuileries during the Revolution: the eye of the storm

As we concluded the first installment of this series, we left the Tuileries on the eve of the French Revolution as a sleepy building abandoned by the royal family for decades. The King and Court still resided at Versailles during the spring and summer of 1789, when Louis XVI summoned the Estates General, an elected […]



Ollivier Hunt at the chateau of L Isle-Adam

Louis XVI, the Royal Hunt and Bastille Day

When Louis XVI wrote in his diary Rien (“Nothing”) on July 14, 1789, it did not mean that the King was oblivious to the events in Paris. On the contrary he had taken measures to prevent the unrest, in particular by posting foreign regiments in and around the capital. Those measures proved unsuccessful, and even […]



Jefferson 1791

Thomas Jefferson reports on Bastille Day

The website of the National Archives posts this letter sent on July 19, 1789 by Thomas Jefferson, then Ambassador of the young United States to France, to John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Jefferson, though not an eyewitness to the storming of the Bastille, reports on the event five days later. He wonders why the 5,000 […]



Storming of the Bastille

The 14th of July 1789: what really happened on Bastille Day?

First let’s put things in context. In 1789 France had been for decades in the grips of a budget crisis. It was due to the country’s absurd tax structure, and had recently been aggravated by the French support of the American Independence War. King Louis XVI, in order to implement new taxes, had called a […]



The new Royal Gates at Versailles: replicas or frauds?

The new Royal Gates of Versailles have just been inaugurated in the midst of much media fanfare. The Daily Telegraph, quoting Frédéric Didier, Chief Architect of of France’s Historical Monuments, assures us that the new gates are exact copies of the originals built in the 1680s, under the reign of Louis XIV. “It was very […]



Marie Therese 1780 Troy

Let them eat cake?

That is one of the questions I am often asked: did Marie-Antoinette really say Let them eat cake? Actually the full sentence is French is Qu’ils mangent de la brioche! or, literally, Let them eat brioche! I guess cake was more familiar to English speakers than brioche, a form of French bread enriched with eggs […]