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French history

The Women's March on Versailles

In 1789, a group of protesters -- mostly women -- marched from Paris to Versailles to pressure King Louis XVI to address France's food shortage. See more »

Live at the DMA: Pierre de Coubertin and the Modern Olympics

Coubertin had a vision to unite the world through sport, and he eventually managed to launch the modern Olympic Games. But those first few times out, things weren't always smooth. See more »

The Montgolfier Brothers and Their Balloons

As man was looking to the skies and yearning to fly, two inventive brothers came up with an idea to set humans aloft. The Montgolfiers were among many inventors working toward flight in the 18th century, but they often get all the attention. See more »

April Calahan on France's Fashionable Resistance

Fashion historian April Calahan joined Holly for a talk about the surprising ways that women of France protested German occupation during WWII. See more »

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

No starving artist, Vigée Le Brun was the first woman to ever become a court painter in France when she was commissioned to paint Marie Antoinette. She painted royalty and nobility throughout Europe, even as her personal life had its ups and downs. See more »

Courrières Mine Disaster of 1906

One of the worst mining tragedies in history, the explosion that sent fire through the Courrières mine tunnels claimed more than a thousand lives. It also created awareness of dangerous issues in mines that hadn't received much focus up to that point. See more »

The Krampus and Friends Holiday Special, Part 2

In addition to the characters we talked about on our last episode, there are even more colorful holiday traditions that may be a bit surprising to people who didn't grow up with them. That includes the ogress of Iceland and the Catalan pooping log. Read the show notes here. See more »

Gilles Garnier, the Werewolf of Dole

Sixteenth-century France had a serious case of werewolf panic. Did Garnier really transform into lupine form and attack and eat humans? Or were the gruesome deaths of several children merely the work of wild animals? See more »

The Franco-Mexican Pastry War

When a French pastry chef complained to King Louis-Phillippe that his shop in Mexico was destroyed in a riot, it catalyzed a conflict between the two nations. But the military action of the Pastry War was really about a trade agreements and unpaid debts. See more »

Charles IX of France

Much like many of the other mad royals that have been discussed on the podcast through the years, Charles IX of France was prone to fits of rage so intense that people at court feared for their lives. See more »