French

French and Frankish culture and history

Joan of Arc "relics" trace to ancient Egypt

Devotees of Joan of Arc were disppointed recently to learn that relices of Joan of Arc, overseen by the Archbishop of Tours in Chinon, France, are not only fake, but actually the "bones of a human and a cat tracing back to ancient Egypt."

Diane de Poitiers, victim of own vanity?

Diane de Poitiers, mistress of King Henry II of France, was known for her youthful looks, which kept the interest of the king, twenty years her junior, but did her vanity and desperation lead to her death? Experts believe they did.

300 early medieval graves found near Paris

Archaeologists working in Noisy-le-Grand, a suburb of Paris, have discovered two burial grounds dating to Merovingian and Carolingian times. The site is believed to contain more than 300 graves.

Belles Heures to be displayed at the Cloisters

Beginning March 2, 2010, the Belles Heures (1405–1408/9) of Jean de Berry, a lavishly-illustrated manuscript, will be on display at the Cloisters Museum in New York. The unbound leaves will remain on display until June 13, 2010. (video)

Medieval Paris' "Carolingian Wall" found

A team of archaeologists from the Institut national des recherches archaeologiques has discovered the fortifications of medieval Paris.

New book looks at role of women in Carolingian society

History professor Valerie Garver knows that women faced challenges in the medieval world, but believes that they still played an important role in the world of Charlemagne. Garver's book, Women and Aristocratic Culture in the Carolingian World has been published by Cornell University Press.

Fête des Remparts Dinan

The Fête des Remparts is a medieval festival held every other year in the picturesque town of Dinan. The next Fête de Remparts will be held on 24th and 25th July 2010.

Agincourt redux

The Battle of Agincourt took place on St. Crispin’s Day, October 25, 1415, and the details of the victory of the English over the French has been debated since that time. In a recent article for the New York Times, James Glanz looks at the controversy which continues to this day.

Notes on Agincourt

Agincourt Computing has created a website chronicling the history and literature surrounding the Battle of Agincourt, the 1415 battle between the French and the English near Calais.

Happy birthday, Asterix!

On October 29, 2009, Gaul's most famous denizon, Asterix, celebrated his Lth birthday. (That would be 50 to the Roman-numerically-challenged.) The comic book character was created in 1959 by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo.

Dazzling, dizzying Lyon

Nestled between the Rhône and the Saône rivers in east-central France, the city of Lyon offers visitors 2,000 years of history. Tourists are encouraged to visit by Andrea Bolitho in a recent blog forFrance Today.

Quant la Doulce Jouvencelle called a "magnifique interpretation"

Posted on YouTube is a video clip of the medieval music duo performing Quant la doulce jouvencelle. The performance is in French.

Castle builders "go medieval" in France

A group of medieval enthusiasts in Burgundy in France are building a castle using only medieval tools and techniques. An MP3 version of the radio story is available to download online.

Database catalogs soldiers' records from Hundred Years War

A new web site provides searchable databases of the detailed service records of 250,000 medieval soldiers, including archers who served with Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt.

"Soldier in later Medieval England" online database

This web site, created by Dr. Adrian Bell of the ICMA Centre and Professor Anne Curry of the University of Southampton (UK) and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, catalogs all known service records for soldiers in the Hundred Years War between 1369 and 1453 CE.

To see Roman France, go south

When asked the best way to view the Roman heritage of France, Patrick Périn, the director of the Musée des Antiquités Nationales replied, "Go South." That is what travel reporter Elaine Sciolino did to research her article for the New York Times. (photos)

Armoured combat covered on French TV

Sir Angus O'Niall, Founder of the Academy of Knightly Arts, reports that French National television recently covered a documentary in which he participated involving "a bunch of steel fighters" who fought tournaments in castles in southern France.

Da Vinci to be subject of cultural theme park

Was Leonardo da Vinci, "poet, musician, philosopher, engineer, architect, scientist, mathematician, anatomist, inventor, architect and botanist," the true Renaissance man, or was he just a "frustrating dilettante?" Curators of the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise, France, da Vinci's last home, are betting on the former and hope for the success of their "world's first "intellectual and cultural theme park."

Today in the Middle Ages: April 22, 1370

On April 22, 1370, the first stones of the Bastille were laid in Paris. Initial construction of the fortress was completed in 1382.

Burgundy vineyards dated to Roman times

A recent archaeological dig sponsored by the Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives and the ARTeHIS Laboratory (CNRS/Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication/Université de Bourgogne) shows that the production of burgundy wine near Dijon, France dates to Roman times.

13th century midden yields shoe soles

A batch of leather shoe soles dating from the 13th to 18th centuries was found in 2005 in a hollow tree trunk in an ancient trash dump in Lyon, France. The soles are well-preserved.

Spirits reign in 12th century French house

Writer, chef, and cooking school owner Susan Herrmann Loomis suspects that spirits may inhabit one room of her 12th century house in Louviers, a small Norman town north of Paris. Ronert P. Walzer of the New York Times looks at Loomis' renovation of the labyrinthan house into a home and cooking school.

Jewish treasures on display in England

The Treasures of the Black Death exhibit at London's Wallace Collection showcase two hoards of medieval jewelry dating to the 14th century. The treasures were owned - and buried with - Jewish families who perished during the Black Plague. (photos)

Medieval chainmail for sale on eBay

An authentic chainmail hauberk is being offered for sale on eBay. According to the description, the 14th to 15th century piece is "of highest quality and in perfect condition of preservation," although it appears to be missing one sleeve.

Benedictine nuns victims of Black Death

The remains of several Benedictine nuns from the Sainte-Croix Abbey near Poitiers, France have shown evidence that the sisters died of the plague, probably while caring for other victims of the disease. Their deaths have been dated to the early 17th century.

Medieval Facebook

Researchers working with land documents dating to the 13th century have discovered Facebook-like social networks that tied together ten villages in southwest France.

Secret letters of Mary, Queen of Scots to be available online

Two dozen letters, written in a secret code by Mary, Queen of Scots, will soon be available online to visitors of the Scottish Catholic Archives website.

Jean I: Rightful King of France

In a strange footnote to the Hundred Years' War, a Sienese merchant named Giannino di Guccio came to believe that he was actually King Jean I of France. A new book, translated from Italian, he Man Who Believed He Was King of France by Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri, tells the story.

Bernard Cornwell, author of "Agincourt," interviewed

National Review Online has posted an interview with author Bernard Cornwell discussing his new book Agincourt. The interview is in MP3 format.

Battling for cheese

You've heard of "Bowling for Dollars?" In England, it's battling for cheese, a publicity stunt to determine who claims bragging rights for the best bleu cheese between representatives of France's Saint Agur and Britain's Stilton.