Appreciating the History of France During Your Vacation

Posted on: 5th September 2014

France VacationThere is so much to France than the world-acclaimed Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum. Truly, it is the world’s capital for all the fabulous couture, chateaux and champagne. There is no doubt that your vacation here – whether it is a few days or a whole year’s worth of stay – would truly be unforgettable, mesmerising and exhilarating. But during your French vacation, take time to appreciate all the interesting facts about its history.

It is because of France that the Americans have their constitution and the English have their liberalism. France gave everyone the Loire Château, Notre-Dame, Versailles, Chardin, Stendhal, Renoir, Monet, and Paris, which is the world’s most beautiful city, and everyone’s fantasy. The country has been the bearer of standard for the civilizations of the west. No wonder that it unravels like an enormous pop-up book of rich history. To give you an understanding of France’s skilful blend of new and old, here is an overview of the country’s historical fair.

58 BC – 51 BC:          Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul

800 AD:                      Charlemagne became the Holy Roman Emperor

1066 AD:                    Victorious at the Battle of Hastings, Normandy’s William invaded England

12th-13th century:      The magnificent cathedrals of Chartres and Notre Dame were established

1431:                           Joan of Arc was burned, and the French were revived from their lowest point

1572:                           Saint Bartholomew Massacre of Protestants

1580-1587:                  Montaigne’s Essays

1678:                           Versailles was adorned with the Hall of Mirrors by Louis XIV

18th century:               Thanks to Racine, Voltaire, Rousseau, Moliere, and Diderot, French influence and enlightenment reached at its zenith

1789-1792:                  The French Revolution

1793:                           Queen Maria-Antoinette was executed in a guillotine on Place de la Concorde in Paris

1799-1804:                  Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as First Consul of the Consulate

1805-1812:                  Napoleon Bonaparte conquered large regions of Europe, but failed in Russia

1815:                           Napoleon Bonaparte lost the battle at Waterloo, which was fought against the Duke of Wellington

1848-1870:                  Under Napoleon III’s reign, the Second Empire expanded into Mexico, Syria, and Indochina

1863:                           A show displaying Impressionist painting was held in Paris at Salon des Refuses

1870:                           Franco Prussian War took place in which France was defeated

1871:                           Alsace and Lorraine were relinquished to Germany

1940:                           Paris fell when France surrendered to Germany during the Second World War

1958:                           General de Gaulle was elected as president of France

1969:                           Paris was full of student riots: government was stabilized through leaders such as Pompidou, Mitterand, and Sarkozy

Old France

The stone compounds in Brittany are the country’s personal ‘Stonehenge’. There were created in 3500 BC by the Celts. Majority of the areas in northwest of Europe were inhabited by the Celts during the final millenniums BC. When Gaul was conquered by Julius Caesar in the first century, artistic inroads were soon made by the Mediterranean’s classical civilizations. The trading colonies of the Greek at Marseille yielded to the Roman Empire, which resulted in a lasting impression of the aesthetics of ancient Rome. Because of the Roman influence and impression, it is no surprise to see that the Arc de Triomphe is located in Paris.

Places to Visit

France is home to numerous examples of Roman architecture, which even the homeland of the Romans is unable to match with. Provence was among the most popular holiday destinations for the Romans. No wonder the region’s name is from Latin. Because of their strong and lasting influence, the best preserved arena of the Romans can be found in Nimes, the best preserved theatre of the Romans can be found at Orange, and bridge aqueduct at the Pont du Gard. You are likely to learn more about the Romans in France than in their own country!

Middle Ages

Throughout the country, Christianity was deep-rooted by the 1600s. The Romans were expelled from the French soil by tribes of Germany who were called Franks; in collaboration with Christianity, the first French culture was produced, which was known as Merovingian or the Frankish. Various provinces in France started to unite to become part of the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne. France became a centre of European Catholicism, and encouraged monastic centres of Chartres, Reims, Tours, and Auxerre, which were also powerhouses of culture. Romanesque style of architecture was developed by monastic orders such as the Benedictines after the Crusades. This style then yielded to the Gothic style of architecture, which resulted in the construction of numerous cathedrals. The Gothic style of architecture was the greatest achievement of France in the field of architecture. The government of France got more centralized under the reign of the Capetian Kings. King Louis IX, who was known as St Louis, was the most notable. He left significant structures in the Gothic style that lasted for four hundred years.

Places to Visit

Burgundy is home to some of the best artistic landmarks of classic Roman art, including Gislebertus’ sculptures, and Basilique Ste-Madeleine’s tympanum. The Bayeun Tapestry is on display in Normany, which is also among the best artwork of the Romans. The desire to let in more light resulted in a new style of Gothic that became famous for using the rib vault, and the pointed arch. This resulted in structures that comprised a lot of glass. First example of such a structure is Notre-Dame in Paris. Other examples include Reims, Amiens, and Chartres. Sainte Chapelle was commissioned by King Louis IV in the 13th century, and it is considered as The Middle Ages’ most amazing artistic work.


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