Sunday, 25 March 2012

The guillotine and Place de la Concorde in Paris

Place de la Concorde was originally named Place Louis XV after the king at the time, and a statue of the king stood in the square. However a few years later during the revolution the statue was torn down and the square was renamed Place de la Revolution.
The guillotine was installed and public executions abounded, including the beheading of Marie-Antoinette and King Louis 16th.
During the reign of terror in the summer of 1794 more than 1300 people were executed publicly in the square, allegedly.

A gruesome scene: the beheading of Louis 16th at Place de la Revolution, now called Place de la  Concorde.

After the turmoil of the revolution the square was renamed Place de la Concorde, the word concorde indicating the new era of harmony between people.

An impressive obelisk and two very beautiful and ornate fountains adorn the square which is located at the end of the Champs Elysees, with the Tuileries Gardens at the opposite end.

The obelisk was a gift from the Egyptian government and centuries ago it stood at the entrance to the Luxor temple. It is decorated with ancient hieroglyphics.

The spectacular fountains have an obvious water theme and feature statues of the Greek God Triton, messenger god of the big sea and father of Poseidon. There are also statues of naiads, Greeks nymphs who are bound to fresh water such as streams, wells and brooks.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Food and wine in the Vaucluse, Provence.

The Vaucluse department of Provence is known for its fine wines and fantastic Provencal foods. The three main wine appelations are the Cotes du Rhone, (named after the river) the AOC Luberon (named after the area) and the AOC Ventoux (named after the mountain.)

The sunny, warm climate makes it the perfect place to grow specialist grapes for wine making.

For those interested in wine, which is probably a good many of us, more can be found out about making wine, the history of wine and hopefully about drinking it, at the Vinter museums throughout the Vaucluse. Many Roman and other historic sites in the area, notably in Vaison-la-Romaine and Beaumes de Venises, have fascinating links to this most popular of drinks. 
More information from Wine museums in the Vaucluse

One of the best things one can do on a holiday in France is to spend hours wandering around the local markets. The food markets in Provence are really stunning. Some of the best Provencal produce includes melons from Cavaillon, strawberries from Carpentras, pungent black truffles, black and green olives, cherries and asparagus from Lauris.

More information from food and wine in the Vaucluse and also from The markets of Provence