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Category: History

sacre basilica monument

The Dark Side of Sacre Coeur

A bit about this religious and (not widely known) political monument. The Sacred Heart of Paris is on top of a hill in Montmartre, a trendy, village-like part of the 18th district in the north of the city. One of the “rough around the edges” artists’ districts with the neon glow of Pigalle and the frills and kicks of the Moulin Rouge. The Christians proclaimed it “mount of Martyrs” in honour of St Denis in…

Walking Headless

No this is not a story of mutated zombies! It is however  a very strange and macabre story about Montmartre and how it got its name. Montmartre directly translated means “hill of martyrs” and is named after the first archbishop of France. His name was Saint Denis and he was sent by Pope Fabian along with six other missionaries to convert the Gauls, during this time in the third century the Romans still occupied Paris….

vintage lady

Let them eat cake!

This is a very well known, infamous quote that was allegedly uttered by the queen of France, Marie Antoinette. What if I told you that this is in fact, not true…   First a bit of back story. The year was 1789, a revolution was brewing. The people of France were starving due to poor crops and the royals weren’t doing much to help them. The king at the time was Louis XVI (the 16th)….

12 Magical Facts About The Eiffel Tower

Paris is one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities in the world. And nothing epitomizes that beauty and sophistication more than the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel, the engineering mastermind behind her construction himself once famously said “I ought to be jealous of the tower. She is more famous than I am.” Even today, she welcomes over 7 million visitors from all over the world who come to take in her beauty and grandeur, and…

Experiencing The Eiffel Tower A La Gustave Eiffel

I know what your thinking: “704 stairs to the second level, what am I, an athlete?” but look, it’s not that bad. Just like the construction of the Eiffel Tower itself, good things take time, and that’s exactly what you should do on your climb: take your time. This isn’t a fitness test, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.  When the Eiffel Tower was first opened to the public, it’s how Gustave Eiffel himself…

Fashion Scandal of 1947 on the Champs Élysées

The year is 1947 and Paris is slowly recovering after the trauma of WWII. Most shops still lacked many basic products. Everything was rationed, even fabric, and no one even thought about using precious materials and supplies beyond what was necessary. But 1947 was the year chosen by a Parisian tailor who was as yet unknown, for the debut of his new collection. In this collection he presented a new image of a woman, that of…

The Glory of Life And Also Of Death

Parisians live their lives in a way unlike most big city dwellers.  As you stroll along the city streets you can see Parisians in cafes who are leisurely enjoying their  morning coffee unhurried as if time didn’t exist. There is a certain “joie de vivre” (joy of life)  that permeates all aspects of being. As a native New Yorker who has been living in Paris for just over a year, I found it difficult to…

The Birth of a New Paris on Canvas

The French term “fin-de-siècle” means “end of century” or “the end of an era” is associated with a pessimistic vision of decline, and of the decadent tendencies of the late nineteenth century.  Europe at the end of the 19th century found itself in a difficult time, a time between old traditions and the ongoing industrial revolution. It was this world-wide depression which inspired new directions in art as one era ends and the next is ushered in. Thus,…

The Backdrop for one of the Most Famous Kisses in Paris History

The photo was shot in the ’50s and became very famous right after. The couple was considered a symbol of love in Paris.  Everybody was curious about the lovers’ identity, but famous French photographer Robert Doisneau likes to play games about this subject. Jean and Denise Lavergne believed themselves to be the couple in the picture, but it was a mistake. A mistake that Doisneau didn’t want to correct when he met them for a lunch, only…