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La Samaritaine is back!

Why am I – a non-shopper – excited about the re-opening of a department store?


Explore the Louvre online

Even if you aren't heading to Paris anytime soon you can still explore almost half a million objects from the Louvre in detail.

Happy Bastille Day

Le 14 Juillet, or the Fête Nationaleis what we call Bastille Day. It marks the day in 1789 when angry crowds in France stormed the Bastille prison, freeing the political prisoners being held there (all seven of them). It was a pivotal event that traditionally is seen as the start of the French Revolution.

In her book The Roads to Modernity, Gertrude Himmelfarb makes an incredibly powerful statement. She says that the difference between the European Enlightenment and the English and American Enlightenments was really one word. For the French philosophes, reasoning was supreme. For the English and the Americans, moral reasoning was supreme. One word makes a world of difference.

The American Revolution emphasized the liberty of man, restrained by moral rights and duties. The French Revolution emphasized equality, and sought to reshape the role of government in providing for that equality. The pursuit of equality, rather than liberty, led directly to the Reign of Terror, when tens of thousands of people were executed by the revolutionary government.

Petite France, Strasbourg

Petite France, in Strasbourg, France.⁠

Wandering the historic core of Strasbourg will be possible for Americans soon. France plans to reopen to vaccinated travelers on June 9, and Viking has announced that their Rhine River cruises will resume in July.

Explore the Bayeux Tapestry in high-res detail

The Bayeux Tapestry, which is really more of an embroidery, is a 270 foot long chronicle of the Norman invasion of England. It was created in the eleventh century, just a few years after the Battle of Hastings that changed William the Bastard into William the Conqueror.

The museum in Bayeux, France that houses the tapestry recently released a stunning, high-resolution version on their website.

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