Tag Archives: france

Some engravings from Labyrinte de Versailles, 1677, by Sébastian…

Some engravings from Labyrinte de Versailles, 1677, by Sébastian Le Clerc.

The “lost labyrinth of Versailles” was completed in 1677 for Louis XIV. It contained thirty-nine fountains, each of which depicted a scene from Aesop’s Fables. The Dauphin, Louis’ son, learned to read from the fables printed on the plaques affixed to each fountain.

The labyrinth was torn down by Louis XVI in 1778, and replaced by the Bosquet de la Reine, an English-style garden in which events involving Marie Antoinette and the infamous “Affair of the Diamond Necklace” took place.

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From various sources: this gourd contained a handkerchief soaked…

From various sources: this gourd contained a handkerchief soaked in blood which recent DNA tests have recently confirmed came from King Louis XVI.

The gourd bears an inscription reading:

“On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation”

Louis was, of course, King of France during the French Revolution, married to Marie Antoinette, and executed after being found guilty of treason by the National Convention in 1793.

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Masthead of the first issue of “Le Ballon Poste: Journal…

Masthead of the first issue of “Le Ballon Poste: Journal du siège de Paris” published 30 Oct., 1870.

During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Paris was under siege. The only way in or out of the city was by balloon; the French started making use of balloon mail. They used balloons to distrubute these newspapers detailing events within the besieged city. Brown University has scans.

Below, a cartoon of a Prussian soldier distracted by an escaping balloon.

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French MP starts race to Napoleonland

French MP starts race to Napoleonland:

Having apparently decided to challenge Micky Mouse’s cultural sovereignty, the French are supposedly planning an amusement park themed on a little imperialism of their own.

“Napoleonland” (artist’s rendition pictured above) is being championed by French M.P. Yves Jego. Some of the attractions being considered are:

– A ride based on the Egyptian expedition;
– A giant aquarium where visitors will be able to watch a re-enactment of the battle of Trafalgar from below;
– A dry-ski slope that is a re-enactment of the retreat from Russia (!), where patrons would pass by “frozen corpses of soldiers and horses”.

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