The Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

About 80 kilometers southwest of Paris stands the city of Chartres, one of whose main cultural attractions is its Gothic cathedral built between 1194 and 1220. It was built in the same place where other churches and cathedrals had been before, the first one around 360 A.D., all of them destroyed by fires: the first…Continue readingThe Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

Beijing-Paris, the automobile race of 1907 that inaugurated the tradition of celebrating victory with champagne

If there is one classic of sports celebrations, it is motor racing, where victories are showered with champagne (including competitors, hostesses and the team at the foot of the podium). It is something that has transcended to the point that other disciplines also do the same. But no one asks why, what is the reason…Continue readingBeijing-Paris, the automobile race of 1907 that inaugurated the tradition of celebrating victory with champagne

A fly-whisk provoked the French occupation of Algeria and the establishment of the protectorate

Most readers will be aware of the historical link between France and Algeria, if only because of the number of immigrants from the North African country on French soil or, above all, because of the famous people who have Algerian ancestors or roots, such as the sportsmen Zidane and Benzemá or the minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.…Continue readingA fly-whisk provoked the French occupation of Algeria and the establishment of the protectorate

The French resistance in Lille that saved time for the British to be evacuated in Dunkirk

If we talk about battles of the Second World War, the names of some that are already inevitable references will come to mind, from Stalingrad to Berlin to El Alamein, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, the Bulge and several more very famous ones. But there were others that are not so well known, even if some of…Continue readingThe French resistance in Lille that saved time for the British to be evacuated in Dunkirk

The strange and controversial prehistoric ‘sorcerer’ of the Cave of the Trois Frères

Very close to the French town of Montesquieu-Avantés, in the Midi-Pyrénées region, and to the Tuc d’Audoubert cave with its fantastic prehistoric clay bisons, is the cave of the Trois Frères (Three Brothers). Both are part of an underground system of three caves formed by the river Volp (the third one is the Enlène cave).…Continue readingThe strange and controversial prehistoric ‘sorcerer’ of the Cave of the Trois Frères

The wrought iron bar chain that saved the Amiens Cathedral from collapsing

The Amiens Cathedral, listed as a Historical Monument in 1882 and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981, is a reference in its style and also has a series of curious elements that make it particularly interesting. One of them is the famous labyrinth that paves the floor of the nave; another, the…Continue readingThe wrought iron bar chain that saved the Amiens Cathedral from collapsing

Christine de Pizan, the first professional female writer in the Late Middle Ages and a forerunner of feminism

The honor of being a pioneer, of paving the way to something, is usually much disputed. Today we are going to see a female case, that of the considered first female professional writer in the western world, an honour that tradition bestows on the Venetian Christine de Pizan. Her legacy would have a considerable influence…Continue readingChristine de Pizan, the first professional female writer in the Late Middle Ages and a forerunner of feminism

What’s the origin of the right and left terms in politics?

Why do we use the terms right and left in politics to identify ideologies or concepts on a one-dimensional axis? Everything has its origin in the French RevolutionContinue readingWhat’s the origin of the right and left terms in politics?

The sword embedded in the rock of the precipice of Rocamadour for 9 centuries

Durandal (or Durandarte) was the famous sword of Roland, the Frankish knight who died at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass on 15 August 788 by attack of the Basques. The accounts of that battle and the subsequent fate of the sword are plagued with mythical stories with little or no historical or archaeological basis. For…Continue readingThe sword embedded in the rock of the precipice of Rocamadour for 9 centuries

The unusual square waves of the island of Ré

Sometimes Nature is entertained in playing with shapes and textures, as if, boring and mischievous, it wanted to attract our attention. Whimsically eroded rocks, clouds forming silhouettes, lakes of unusual colours… In France, for example, there is a coastal spot where, sometimes, the sea surface is geometrically articulated forming something very similar to a chessboard.…Continue readingThe unusual square waves of the island of Ré