Did Marie Antoinette really utter the infamous words, "Let them eat cake"? The quick answer to this question is a simple "no." Marie Antoinette, the last pre-revolutionary queen of France, did not say "Let them eat cake" when confronted with news that Parisian peasants were so desperately poor they couldn't afford bread. The better question, perhaps, is: Why do we think she said it? For background, the quote has been slightly exaggerated in its translation from French to English. Originally, Marie Antoinette was alleged to have said, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche," or "Let them eat brioche." While this sweetened bread is more expensive than an average baguette, it isn't exactly the icing-laden, multi-tiered gateaux you might have imagined the queen had in mind. That said, this hyperbolic translation doesn't change the point, at least from a propagandist standpoint; it still suggests that the French queen was arrogant and out-of-touch with the working class. With callous … [Read more...] about Did Marie Antoinette really say ‘Let them eat cake’?
This file photo taken on April 16, 2019 shows charred debris inside Notre-Dame-de Paris in Paris in the aftermath of a fire that devastated the cathedral. April 15, 2021 marks the two years anniversary of the fire that devastated Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral, in the center of the French capital. Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP PARIS — On the evening of April 15 2019, France and the world watched transfixed in horror as flames ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, fearful that the heritage landmark could be lost to humanity forever. While the spire collapsed and much of the roof was destroyed, the efforts of firefighters ensured the great mediaeval edifice survived the night. Yet the road to restoration has been long and arduous and it is only expected to return to its former glory in April 2024, five years after the fire. The cause of the blaze remains a subject of uncertainty, although investigators are so far rejecting any idea of foul play and focusing on a … [Read more...] about Two years on, Notre-Dame awaits long path to pre-fire glory