On my daily commute to and from my internship, I've started a new habit of listening to podcasts to pass the time. I honestly can't rave enough about it. I'm obsessed. One of my favorites has quickly become Stuff You Missed in History Class. My inner nerd lives for their fascinating takes on historical events. I recently and coincidentally listened to one on the French Revolution.
Many people who don't live in France are confused by Bastille Day and what it actually is. Well, for those who don't know, Bastille Day, or as it's more commonly referred to in France "La Fête Nationale" or "Le 14 Juillet," was the start of the French Revolution. It is essentially their version of Fourth of July, except instead of a bunch of old guys signing a paper, it involves the storming of a prison.
The French people were long dissatisfied with the rule of Louis XV, and when his teenage son took over the thrown with his ostentatious wife (Marie Antoinette? You might have heard of her?) they had had enough. On July 14, 1789, they stormed the prison, killing the guards and setting the prisoners free. They also managed to steal all of the gun powder that was inside, thus beginning the French Revolution. And well, for those who know anything about history, you know it doesn't end well for Marie Antoinette and her husband, Louis XVI.
France as a Republic didn't last long though before Napoleon Bonaparte became emperor. There are a million more details to read up on, and it really is incredibly interesting. I definitely recommend these podcasts to anyone looking to learn more! There were several podcasts specifically on each of the monarchs as individuals which were equally fascinating. If French monarchs aren't your cup of tea, there are plenty of others including the history of peanut butter and the proposed hippo farms of the early 20th century.
These pictures are from the Bastille Day on 60th celebration which was held this weekend in honor of the holiday. I got to eat delicious pastries and listen to people actually speaking French causing me to reminisce on my days as a Parisienne.
I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday as much as I did! Especially those in France who got to enjoy the real celebration!