Category Archives: History

La Mystère de Tjipetir

For the past year, from Spain to Denmark, mysterious rubbery tablets with the word “Tjipetir” inscribed in them have washed ashore on European beaches after storms. In February 2013, a family from Normandy was strolling along the beach when they … Continue reading

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À cheval donné, on ne regarde pas la denture

The story begins in 1829. The viceroy of Egypt, Mehemet-Ali, wanted to thank France for the aid of engineers sent by King Louis-Philippe. What’s the appropriate gift for helping to modernize a country? Well, how about a couple of ancient … Continue reading

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Ligne jaune

I’ve long heard about the Maginot Line, the military fortifications meant to prevent France from ever falling again to German invasion, but I didn’t know anything about the details. The ill-fated line was named after André Maginot, born on February … Continue reading

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Siècle d’or de l’éventail

Our favorite exhibit during our weekend in Paris was not one we’d planned to see, but one we happened upon. We were supposed to fly out on Sunday morning, but an airline strike canceled our flight. We were re-booked to … Continue reading

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Le Roi Citoyen

Quick. Name the last French king. If you said Louis XVI, you’d be wrong. The final king of the French, Louis Philippe I, was born on October 6, 1773 and reigned from 1830 to 1848. He was a young man … Continue reading

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Sous le manteau

My brother forwarded me a link to a story about an audacious group of French POWs who escaped from their camp during World War II. I grew up watching Hogan’s Heroes, a comedy about a group of international POWs who … Continue reading

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Une maîtresse

Diane de Poitiers, noblewoman and mistress of King Henry II, was born on September 3, 1499. As a girl, she was a member of the retinue of Anne de Beaujeu, who served as regent for her brother King Charles VIII. … Continue reading

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