when was marie antoinette queen

The life of Queen Marie Antoinette, Part 1

When Marie-Antoinette arrived in France she was initially adored for her youth, her beauty, her vitality, her generous nature. The old king Louis XV was especially enamoured with his grandson’s new bride. But the palace of Versailles, steeped in courtly rituals and traditions, was not for the faint-hearted. Would she be strong enough to survive life at the palace?

The childhood of Marie Antoinette

On 2 November 1755, a tiny but healthy baby girl entered the world. Not an ordinary world, hers was the sprawling royal Hofburg complex in Vienna where kings and queens had been born since the 13th century. Nor was she an ordinary baby girl; she was Marie-Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria, who would be crowned Queen of France whilst still a teenager. She was born into privilege and wealth but would end her days in a dank prison on the Seine river; her life would be horrendously cut short by a revolutionary government thirsting for revenge. Here is the first of a series of articles on the life of Marie-Antoinette – daughter, wife, queen, mother, a fashion icon and a hated symbol of a repressive regime.

Is Château de Veauce the most haunted house in France?

The year is 1984. A French radio journalist and his crew have descended upon the Château de Veauce, in the village of the same name, the tiniest village in the Allier department. They are hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous Lucie, the White Lady who materialises in the medieval tower at midnight, making the château one of the most haunted houses in France.

why are there no French Queens?

For as long as there have been queens in France, there has never been a female monarch. No daughters of the King, the princesses of royal blood, have succeeded to the French crown and ruled in their own right. Why?

How well do you know your French desserts?

Decadent, luscious, velvety smooth, creamy and wonderfully delicious. How many French desserts have you savoured in achingly slow bites, to draw out every explosion of delight in your mouth.

Take my quiz and show everyone just how much you know about French desserts.

best things to do in bordeaux

The best things to do in Bordeaux (if you love history)

Classical and elegant, yet bold and brilliant, the city of Bordeaux has something for everyone. If you love wine, it’s among the best in the world. If you love food, there is foie gras and canelés. If you love history, Bordeaux is a potent mix of the medieval, the Renaissance and the modern. In fact, walk around the city and you’ll find almost half of it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. For those of you like me who adore their history, here are the best things to do and see in Bordeaux.

women march on versailles

The women march on Versailles

Take yourself back to the markets of Les Halles, Paris, exactly 231 years ago, and join the women who will march on Versailles. These women were wives and mothers and tired of endlessly waiting in line for bread for their families. They took whatever weapon they could get their hands on, found a spare cannon …

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Was Catherine de Medici really an evil queen?

The evil and wicked Catherine de Medici was a Queen consort, a Queen regent, and the mother to three French kings. Her reputation through the ages is one of a diabolical woman who strove for power, sacrificing her children, her country and her principles. History tells us she

Top 5 Historical Sites in france – Château of Blois

There are so many beautiful châteaux in the Loire Valley, it’s difficult to choose which to visit. The Royal Château of Blois is not the prettiest, but it has been the home of no less than seven French kings and ten queens, and its imposing architecture represents four distinct architectural periods. “The châteaux of few country towns can boast so many and so important events, so long a list of illustrious inmates, or so large a collection of historical recollections, as that of Blois”.

Top 5 historic places in France – Oradour-sur-Glane

There are some places you visit as a tourist which fill you with sadness and despair at the atrocities committed by men. Oradour-sur-Glane is one of these places. Once a peaceful village in the countryside, in 1944 it was changed forever after one of the most barbarous acts by German soldiers in France in World War II – a massacre in which 642 men, women and children were shot or burnt to death in the local church.

Top 5 historic sites in france – Strasbourg Cathedral

For over 200 years the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, or Strasbourg Cathedral, was the tallest structure in the world. When you stand at its doors and glance upwards, the carved Gothic figures tell you a story, they bring to life the medieval world in which they were created. The Strasbourg Cathedral was one of the first in France I visited, and it has left a lasting impression.

Top 5 historic sites in France – Lascaux Cave

Often called the Sistine Chapel of cave art, the Grotte de Lascaux, or Lascoux Cave, is one of very few places in the world you can come face to face with prehistoric paintings. It is located in the Vézère Valley in the Dordogne department in France and was occupied over thousands of years by paleolithic hunter-gatherers, until the end of the Ice Age.

A short but sweet history of the macaron

A truly French macaron is elegant, stylish, colourful and filled with deliciousness. But where did it come from, and why is the macaron so popular?

Escape to the île d’Arz, Gulf of Morbihan, Brittany

Come and spend a day, a week, a month on the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Morbihan, and escape to the île d’Arz. ‘Mor bihan’ means ‘little sea’ in the local Breton language, and there are around 40 isles and islets scattered in this magical body of water. L’île d’Arz is only four km long and 3km wide, but is still one of the larger isles in the gulf. Cars are limited, and the only way there is

The mysterious stones of Carnac

You’ve more than likely heard of Stonehenge, but have you heard of the megalithic stones of Carnac? In fact, the mysterious stones of Carnac are one of the largest megalithic sites in the world. Where are they? Carnac is in the region of Brittany, in the northwest of France. More specifically, Carnac is in the …

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The prettiest street in Paris

Do you think you’ve seen all that Paris has to offer? I’m sure there are many of you who have not yet visited the prettiest street in all of Paris. Paris is full of majestic monuments, stately iron towers, soaring columns and elegant facades. But often its the small things which catch your eye – …

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Bastille day in France

Bastille Day in France

The 14th of July is Bastille Day in France, and it is the best holiday of the year. For me it means a long weekend camping with the kids, fireworks at 11pm when the sun finally goes down, and walks along the coast. But it’s not called Bastille Day if you’re in France. It is …

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eating snails in france

A short but slimy history of eating snails in France

Recently my toddler was out in the garden, and as all curious toddlers must, he picked up a passing snail and put it into his mouth. “No!” I cried, pulling something slimy and half munched from his mouth. “We don’t eat snails!” Well actually, if you live in France, you do.

The medieval Abbey des Vaux de Cernay

Of all the medieval abbeys in France, the Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay is my favourite. Well to be honest I haven’t been to that many, but even if I had, this would still be my number one. Snuggled in the Valley of the Chevreuse, surrounded by verdant forest, walking through the remains of the medieval abbey will…

Famous French lovers

I met my lovely French husband whilst on a backpacking holiday. It was a coup de foudre, a bolt of lightning; we fell in love in 3 days. When I returned home after my trip, this is how I broke the news to my friends: “I’ve met someone”. “Ooh”. “He’s French”. “Ooh la la!” French …

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