Rugby was introduced to France in 1872 by the British, and on New Years Day 1906, the national side played its first test match – against New Zealand in Paris. France played sporadically against the Home Nations until they joined them to form the Five Nations Championship (now the Six Nations) in 1910. France also competed in the rugby competitions at early Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal in 1900 and two silver medals in the 1920s. The national team came of age during the 1950s and 1960s, winning their first Five Nations title outright in 1959. They won their first Grand Slam in 1968. Since then they have won the title outright 17 times, including nine grand slams, and shared it eight times. (Full article...)
Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex (he was interested in rhythms from ancient Greek and from Hindu sources); harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations. Many of his compositions depict what he termed "the marvellous aspects of the faith", and drew on his deeply held Roman Catholicism.
He found birdsong fascinating, believed birds to be the greatest musicians, and considered himself as much an ornithologist as a composer. He notated bird songs worldwide and incorporated birdsong transcriptions into most of his music. His innovative use of colour, his conception of the relationship between time and music, his use of birdsong and his desire to express religious ideas are among features that make Messiaen's music distinctive.
The mille-feuille (French pronunciation:[mil fœj], "thousand-sheets"), vanilla slice or custard slice, similar to but slightly different from the Napoleon, is a pastry whose exact origin is unknown. Its modern form was influenced by improvements made by Marie-Antoine Carême.
Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée), alternating with two layers of pastry cream (crème pâtissière). The top pastry layer is also layered with cream and chocolate drizzle, and sometimes cocoa, pastry crumbs, or sliced almonds. Alternatively, the top is glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) stripes, and combed. (Full article...)
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.
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 CharlesVII 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.
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.
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.
A map of the the French city of Brest, dated to around 1700. Located in the Finistère department of Brittany, Brest lies in a sheltered bay close to the western extremity of metropolitan France. Originally named Bresta, possibly derived from a Celtic word meaning hill, the city came under the rule of the duke of Brittany in 1240. From 1342 to 1397 the city was under English rule, and became part of France in 1491 when a marriage unified Brittany with the French crown. Cardinal Richelieu designated the city a major naval base in 1631, a status it retains today. The city centre was mostly rebuilt after heavy Allied bombing during World War II.
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.
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.
The écu was a gold and silver coinage system introduced in France in 1266 by LouisIX, 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 500years. 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.
Lithograph credit: Jean-Baptiste Singry; restored by Adam Cuerden
Joséphine Fodor (13October1789 or in1793– 10August1870) was a French lyrical artist (soprano) with Hungarian and Dutch ancestors. Her family moved to Saint Petersburg when she was an infant, probably because of the French Revolution. After marrying in 1812, Fodor and her husband moved back to France when Saint Petersburg came under attack during the French invasion of Russia. She performed roles for the Opéra-Comique in Paris, later being engaged by the Comédie-Italienne, and also appeared in London, Venice, Naples and Vienna. Experiencing problems with her voice, she gradually ended her operatic career and withdrew from the stage. This lithograph depicts her in 1815.