Showing posts with label France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label France. Show all posts

Neuchatel: The Anachronistic City in Switzerland

Neuchatel is a beautiful little town in Switzerland situated on Lake Neuchatel, but it is a city. It was an anachronistic holdover from the middle ages well into the 19th century. It's feudal past almost brought newly founded Switzerland and the Kingdom of Prussia to declare war on each other in the middle of the 19th century. Today, it has a university and is a center for tourists visiting the beautiful lakeside countryside and the Jura Mountains.



Palmanova: Italy's Star City

Towns are founded to succeed. Some do and grow out of all recognition. Some fail and disappear into the ground. Some few fall into a vegetative state and keep going without growing. They are the ones to visit like Palmanova in Italy. Like a time capsule, the town remains almost unchanged since the time of Napoleon. It was founded by the Republic of Venice as the ideal Renaissance town.


Royal Changelings

While discussing the possibilities and impossibilities of exchanging Royal offspring and heirs in times of turmoil is amusing, it doesn't bring you much further in search for the truth. What you accept as possible is your point of view and so called proofs usually are pretty flimsy. Looking at the usual suspects, though, might give you some new ideas as to whether it should or could have been done or not.

Louis Charles and Marie-Therese

United Nations World Capital Geneva

Geneva is mostly seen as the seat of the United Nations and the International Red Cross. This is flattering, but it is also a very old city full of history with a unique international charm. At some time or another, it was capital to three kingdoms, home to a handful of saints and to many more less saintly. Situated on Lake Geneva (in French Lac Leman), it is a beautiful place to spend some days of a holiday.


The Race For The First Flight Over The Channel

The first flight over the Channel was not a sedentary affair. It was a race. And there were no rules. Read a book that gives the wider view rather than the known story behind Louis Blériot s first flight over the Channel. Barbara Walsh compiled the details on the life and career of Hubert Latham and many facts around the days leading up to the historic flight in 1909.


Museum City: Basel

Basel is a cultural center with more than 60 museums. The city's special geographical situation bordering both Germany and France has brought forth peculiarities, such as three railway stations in the town center and a trinational airport. It is also a city steeped in legend, most of which is fervently believed by its inhabitants.


Antoine De Saint Exupéry and The Lost Prince

60 years after his death, Antoine de Saint Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, solved the riddle of the lost Hereditary Prince Alexis at Bentheim and at Steinfurt by default. This is for once not a ghost story or a conspiracy theory. Instead it is the story of two fighter pilots lost in World War II that never met in real life.




Did Louis XVII of France Have Children?

Louis XVII would have been King of France after the beheading of his father Louis XVI but for the fact that France was a republic at the time. He died while imprisoned in Paris; or maybe he didn't. The case is puzzling to this day, and conflicting evidence is offered from likely or unlikely sources. 


When One Prince is Not Enough: Andorra

Among the dwarf states of Europe, the Principality of Andorra is the largest. Until quite recently, it was an absolute monarchy. It was governed not by one, but two princes, and both are not citizens of Andorra. They don't even live in Andorra. To make the case even more curious, it is not a hereditary monarchy.


The President's Slaves

At a time when the first Afro-American President resides at the White House, Annette Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses Of Monticello: An American Family published by Norton is a timely reminder. Presidents of the United States of America used to own slaves. This book covers the story of the 'second' family of a historic president residing in pomp at Monticello. 


Independent Corsica

Corsica was once independent. It was a kingdom before becoming a republic and then a kingdom again. The whole affair has to be classified as highly unsuccessful as most of Europe just ignored it. The first king was German and spent nine months on the island; the second king was British and never set foot on Corsica. In between the two was a general turned president; he then turned prime minister for the last act.



If Short on Facts, Then Invent: Marketing of Chateau Talbot

The Chateau Talbot winery in the Saint Julien region of Bordeaux prides itself on its wines. It is also  proud of its long history and purported link to Sir John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, and Constable of France under King Henry VI of England and (at least in Henry's exalted opinion) of France. 



The Principality of Monaco in World War II

During World War II, the Principality Monaco was a neutral state. It was fiercely contested by Germany and Italy who had mutually opposing and exclusive ideas as to its future. Prince Louis II had been brought up in Germany and was a general in the French army. He played his connections for all they were worth in trying to keep the country afloat.



Princes: Not All That Glitters

There are Princes and Princesses, and then there are Princes and Princesses. Some are Royal or more, some are not. The problem lies in geography. Depending on where the title came from, the title of Prince does not mean the same thing. The puzzle can be solved given some knowledge of geography and history, and quite some of the muddle derived from translating foreign titles into English. 



Demons’ Dungeons or Soul Storage?

Ley tunnels are treated as one of the favorite myths in Anglo-Saxon Europe. After the discovery of the 700th such tunnel in Bavaria alone, archaeologists decided to make a major stab at unraveling their secrets. As usual, archaeologists' answers just produced many more questions. 



Wallis Simpson: The Bored Duchess of Windsor

A biography invented and written by Anne Sebba on Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor manages the impossible: The book is more boring than her and of even less consequence. The only amusement to be gained from reading it is following up the constant contradictions contained in it.