French history

Charles VI of France: The Mad King

France’s mad king Charles VI reigned in the middle of the Hundred Years War between England and France. While his early reign hinted at greatness, things soon spiraled downward.

The Evacuation of Dunkirk

With a huge number of British Expeditionary Force troops stranded in one location, a massive evacuation operation was undertaken. While it was considered a success, the costs to the Allies were high.

The Battle of France and the Flight to Dunkirk

Retellings of the Dunkirk rescue often leave out how the Allied forces got into such a predicament, with a huge part of the British Expeditionary Force stranded. Today, we'll talk about the lead-up to WWII and its relentless progression into France.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.