Viva La France!
Bonjour! Today is Bastille Day, an annual celebration of the first storming of the Bastille prison in Paris. This was an important event in the French Revolution and today is remembered not only in France, but around the globe. Milwaukee, our neighbor to the south, has a four day festival, beginning today, that includes a "Storming of the Bastille" and a replica Eiffel Tower!
If you want to brush up on some French history before indulging in decadent pastries, fine wines and rich cheeses, try these titles:
Voices of the French Revolution, edited by Richard Cobb--this book is a collection of primary sources with commentary by modern historians. It includes replicas of famous artworks depicting some of the most famous people and events of the Revolution, including Robespierre, the execution of Louis XVI, and polical art.
Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King, Antonia Fraser--Louis XIV may be most famous for creating a glittering court at Versailles, but he was famous in his own time for his mistresses. This book brings to life the deliciously scandulous French court and the mess of relationships--familial, romantic, and political-- that it revolved around.
The Virgin Warrior: The Life and Death of Joan of Arc, Larissa Juliet Taylor--To delve a little farther into the French past, pick up this biography of one of the most famous and feared French women of all time: the teenage Joan of Arc. Detailing her early life through her role as a soldier, inspiration, and martyr, Taylor makes this mythologized figure come to life.
If you're more interested in celebrating contemporary French culture, check out Byki, our language learning database. You can learn to speak French--and then travel to France for the real Bastille Day celebrations!
This photo "Paris Pidgeon" is copyright (c) 2010 Xelcise and made available under Creative Commons Attribution License.