The Bal des Ardents (Ball of the Burning Men), also called Bal des Sauvages (Ball of the Wild Men), was a masquerade ball held on 28 January 1393 in Paris at which Charles VI of France performed in a dance with five members of the French nobility. Four of the dancers were killed in a fire caused by a torch brought in by a spectator, Charles's brother Louis I, Duke of Orléans. Charles and another of the dancers survived. The ball was one of a number of events intended to entertain the king, who the previous summer had suffered an attack of insanity. The event undermined confidence in Charles's capacity to rule; Parisians considered it proof of courtly decadence and threatened to rebel against the more powerful members of the nobility. The public's outrage forced the king and his brother Orléans, whom a contemporary chronicler accused of attempted regicide and sorcery, to offer penance for the event.
An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was an apprentice in a law office, but he turned his back on the study of law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.
The dish is said to have originated in the town of Castelnaudary, and is particularly popular in the neighboring towns of Toulouse and Carcassonne. It is associated with the region once known as the province of Languedoc. An organization called The Grand Brotherhood of the Cassoulet of Castelnaudary (French: La Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet de Castelnaudary), has organized competitions and fairs featuring cassoulet every year since 1999. (Full article...)
An illustration showing the Stade Françaisrugby union team, wearing dark blue jerseys, playing against Racing Club (now known as Racing 92) in 1906. On 20 March 1892, the two teams played in the first ever French rugby championship in a one-off game.
The French franc is a former currency of France and Monaco and, alongside the Spanish peseta, a former de facto currency in Andorra. The first franc was a gold coin introduced in 1360, which showed King John II of France on a richly decorated horse, earning it the name franc à cheval. A later coin, showing Charles VII on foot, under a canopy, was named the franc à pied. The decimal franc was established by the French Revolutionary Convention in 1795 as a decimal unit, and became the official currency of France in 1799. France joined the euro in 1999, and the franc was replaced by euro notes and coins in 2002.
This picture shows a 100-franc gold coin, dated 1889, with a "winged genius" designed by Augustin Dupré on the obverse. Only a hundred proof coins of this design were minted.
A schematic depiction of the first successful frameless parachute, invented by André-Jacques Garnerin (1769–1823). On October 22, 1797, Garnerin rode in a basket hanging from the parachute, which was attached to the bottom of a hot air balloon (centre). At a height of approximately 3,000 feet (910 m), he severed the rope that connected his parachute to the balloon. The basket swung during descent, then bumped and scraped when it landed, but Garnerin emerged uninjured.
The Palais Galliera, formally known as the Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, is a museum of fashion and fashion history located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, France. Following the death of her husband in 1876, the Duchess of Galliera gave land and funds for the erection of a museum to house his collection of paintings and fine art that she proposed to give to the state. The building was completed in 1894, but the collections were in fact donated to Genoa, Italy, where they are now displayed at the Palazzo Rosso and the Palazzo Bianco.
Graziella is an 1852 novel by the French author Alphonse de Lamartine. It tells of a young French man who falls in love with the eponymous character, a fisherman's granddaughter, during a trip to Naples, Italy; they are separated when he must return to France, and Graziella dies soon afterwards. The novel received popular acclaim; an operatic adaptation had been completed by the end of the year, and the work influenced paintings, poems, novels, and films. This 1878 oil-on-canvas painting by the French artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre shows Graziella sitting on a rock, fishing net in hand, gazing over her shoulder at a smoking Mount Vesuvius in the distance. The painting is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Saint George Palace is an historic building in the city of Rennes, France. Built in 1670, it was used as an abbey residence, replacing a much older abbey building that stood on the same site. During the French Revolution the abbey was closed and the property was seized by the government. Since 1930 the building has been listed as a monument historique of France. It now houses the fire services for the city and other civil administrative offices.
Serge Gainsbourg, born Lucien Ginsburg (2 April 1928 – 2 March 1991), was a French musician, singer-songwriter, actor, author and filmmaker. Regarded as one of the most important figures in French pop, he was renowned for often provocative and scandalous releases which caused uproar in France, dividing its public opinion, as well as his diverse artistic output, which ranged from his early work in jazz, chanson, and yé-yé to later efforts in rock, zouk, funk, reggae, and electronica. He is often regarded as one of the world's most influential popular musicians.
His lyrical works incorporated wordplay, with humorous, bizarre, provocative, sexual, satirical or subversive overtones. Gainsbourg's music has reached legendary stature in France, and he has become one of the country's best-loved public figures. He has also gained a cult following all over the world with chart success in the United Kingdom and Belgium with "Je t'aime... moi non plus" and "Bonnie and Clyde", respectively.
The écu was a gold and silver coinage system introduced in France in 1266 by Louis IX, so called because the coins featured the French coat of arms. The silver coin proved popular but the gold did not, because of the unrealistic ratio of 1:10 used, which did not properly reflect the metals' exchange rate. The écu remained in use for 500 years. Depicted here are two écu coins, the first made of gold and minted in 1641, in the reign of Louis XIII, and the second made of silver and minted in 1784, in the reign of Louis XVI. Between these two dates, exchange rates were unstable, new coins were issued, and existing ones revalued periodically.
This picture is an oil-on-panel portrait of Budé, produced around 1536 by Jean Clouet, a painter at the court of King Francis I of France. He was a very skilful painter and many fine portraits are attributed to him, but his picture of Budé is his only documented work, being mentioned in Budé's handwritten notes. The painting is now held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Les raboteurs de parquet (The Floor Scrapers) is an 1875 oil on canvas painting by French impressionistGustave Caillebotte. Measuring 102 by 146.5 centimetres (40 in × 57.7 in), it depicts three men scraping the floor of what is thought to be Caillebotte's own studio, apparently engaged in conversation. According to the Musée d'Orsay, where the painting is held, this is one of the first paintings to feature the urban working class, and indeed the subject matter proved scandalous at the time.
The Bathers is an oil-on-canvas painting by the French artist Paul Cézanne, first exhibited in 1906. The painting is the largest of a series of paintings of bathers by the artist, and is considered a masterpiece of modern art. He worked on the painting for seven years, and it remained unfinished at the time of his death. Often considered Cézanne's finest work, it is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Turgot map of Paris is a highly accurate and detailed map of the city of Paris, France, as it existed in the 1730s. It was published in 1739 as an atlas of twenty non-overlapping sectional bird's-eye-view maps, each approximately 50 cm × 80 cm (20 in × 31 in), in isometric perspective toward the southeast, as well as one simplified overview map with a four-by-five grid showing the layout of the twenty sectional maps. It has been described as "the first all-comprising graphical inventory of the capital, down to the last orchard and tree, detailing every house and naming even the most modest cul-de-sac". The complete map is shown here in its assembled form.