Blois is a city and the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in central France, situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours. Though of ancient origin, Blois is first distinctly mentioned by Gregory of Tours in the 6th century, the city gained some notability in the 9th century, when it became the seat of a powerful countship known as Blesum castrum. In 1171, Blois was the site of a blood libel against its Jewish community that led to 31 Jews being burned to death, their martyrdom contributed to a prominent and durable school of poetry inspired by Christian persecution. In 1196, Count Louis granted privileges to the townsmen; the counts of the Châtillon line resided at Blois more than their predecessors, the oldest parts of the château were built by them. In 1429, Joan of Arc made Blois her base of operations for the relief of Orléans. Joan of Arc rode the thirty-five miles on Wednesday 29 April to Blois to relieve Orléans. After his captivity in England, Charles of Orléans in 1440 took up his residence in the château, where in 1462 his son, afterwards Louis XII, was born.
In the 16th century Blois was the resort of the French court. The Treaty of Blois, which temporarily halted the Italian Wars, was signed there in 1504–1505; the city's inhabitants included many Calvinists, in 1562 and 1567 it was the scene of struggles between them and the supporters of the Catholic Church. In 1576 and 1588 Henri III, king of France, chose Blois as the meeting-place of the States-General, in 1588 he brought about the murders of Henry, duke of Guise, his brother, archbishop of Reims and cardinal, in the Château, where their deaths were shortly followed by that of the queen-mother, Catherine de' Medici. From 1617 to 1619 Marie de' Medici, wife of King Henri IV, exiled from the court, lived at the château, soon afterwards given by King Louis XIII to his brother Gaston, Duke of Orléans, who lived there till his death in 1660; the bishopric, seated at Blois Cathedral, dates from the end of the 17th century. In 1814 Blois was for a short time the seat of the regency of Marie Louise, wife of Napoleon I.
Blois was occupied during World War II by the German army, which took the city on 18 June 1940. The city was liberated by American soldiers during the last two weeks of August 1944. On both occasions, the city withstood several days of bombing; the Château de Blois, a Renaissance château once occupied by King Louis XII, is located in the centre of the city, an 18th-century stone bridge spans the Loire. As Blois is built on a pair of steep hills and steep pathways run through the city, culminating in long staircases at various points. To the south of the city, the Forêt de Russy is a reminder of the thick woods that once covered the area. La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin is a museum fronting on the Château; as a museum of France, it is the only public museum in Europe which incorporates in one place collections of magic and a site for permanent performing arts, is directly reflects the personality of Robert-Houdin. The Gare de Blois railway station offers direct connections to Paris, Orléans, Tours and several regional destinations.
The A10 motorway connects Blois with Paris, Tours. Blois was the birthplace of: Thubois Stephen, King of England from 1135 to 1154. Louis XII, King of France from 1498 to 1515 Jean Morin and biblical scholar of Protestant parents Denis Papin, physicist and inventor Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras, royalist Jean Marie Pardessus, lawyer Jacques Nicolas Augustin Thierry, historian Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, magician René Guénon, philosopher, social critic, the founder of the Traditionalist School Philippe Ariès, medievalist and historian Albert Ronsin, 20th-century French scholar, historian and curator Philippe Gondet, footballer Claudine Doury, photographer Sonia Bompastor, female footballer Aly Cissokho, footballer of Senegalese descent Bernard Onanga Itoua footballer Nicolas Vogondy, cyclist Corentin Jean, footballer Fabrice Moireau, 21st-century French watercolourist and artist Blois is twinned with: Waldshut-Tiengen, since 30 June 1963 Weimar, since 18 February 1995 Lewes, United kingdom, since 30 June 1963 Sighişoara, since 18 November 1995 Urbino, since 1 May 2003 Huế, since 23 May 2007 Athos, the count of La Fère has a castle in Blois, in Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne.
Official website Documentary photography of Blois by "Sayf" Jewish Encyclopedia entry INSEE commune file
Georges Jacques Danton was a leading figure in the early stages of the French Revolution, in particular as the first president of the Committee of Public Safety. Danton's role in the onset of the Revolution has been disputed, he was guillotined by the advocates of revolutionary terror after accusations of venality and leniency toward the enemies of the Revolution. Danton was born in Arcis-sur-Aube in northeastern France to Mary Camus; as a child, he was attacked by several animals, resulting in the disfigurement and scarring of the skin on his face contributed to by smallpox. After obtaining a good education he became an Advocate in Paris, he married Antoinette Gabrielle Charpentier on 14 June 1787 at the church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois in Paris. The couple had three sons: François, born in May 1788, died in infancy on 24 April 1789 Antoine, born on 18 June 1790, died on 14 June 1858 with one child, Sophie Octavie Danton. François Georges, born on 2 February 1792, died on 18 June 1848. On 10 February 1793, while Danton was on a mission in Belgium, Charpentier died, aged 33, giving birth to a boy, who did not survive.
Danton was so affected by her death that he recruited sculptor Claude André Deseine and brought him by night to Sainte-Catherine cemetery to excavate Charpentier's body and execute a death mask. Her bust is now on display at Troyes museum. After his first wife's death, Danton married Louise Sébastienne Gély, aged 16, daughter of Marc-Antoine Gély, court usher at the Parlement de Paris and member of the Club des Cordeliers, she looked after his two surviving sons. Danton's first appearance in the Revolution was as president of the Cordeliers club, whose name derives from the former convent of the Order of Cordeliers, where it held its meetings. One of many clubs important in the early phases of the Revolution, the Cordeliers was a centre for the "popular principle", that France was to be a country of its people under popular sovereignty. In June 1791, the King and the Queen made a disastrous attempt to flee from the capital, they were forced to return to the Tuileries Palace, which became their prison.
Queen Marie Antoinette opened negotiations with the moderate leaders of the Revolution in an attempt to save the monarchy and to establish a moderate constitutional settlement. The popular reaction was intense, those who favored a constitutional monarchy, including Lafayette, became excited. A bloody dispersion of a popular gathering, known as the massacre of the Champ de Mars, kindled resentment against the court and the constitutional party. Danton was, in part, behind the crowd that gathered and fearing counter-revolutionary backlash, he fled to England for the rest of the summer; the National Constituent Assembly completed its work in September 1791. Due to the Self-denying Ordinance none of its members were eligible to its successor, the short-lived Legislative Assembly. Danton's party was able to procure for him a subordinate post in the Paris Commune. In April 1792, the Girondist government—still functioning as a constitutional monarchy—declared war against Austria. A country in turmoil from the immense civil and political changes of the past two years now faced war with an enemy on its eastern frontier.
Parisian distrust for the court turned to open insurrection. On 10 August 1792, the popular forces marched on the Tuileries. Danton's role in this uprising is unclear, he may have been one of its leaders. This sudden rise from the subordinate office which he held in the commune is a demonstration of his power within the insurrectionist party. In the provisional executive government, formed between the king's dethronement and the opening of the National Convention, Danton found himself allied with Jean-Marie Roland and other members of the Girondist movement, their strength was soon put to the test. The alarming successes of the Austrians and the surrender of two important fortresses caused panic in the capital. At that time, Danton was accused of directing these September Massacres, but no evidence of this is available from modern research. However, he did nothing to prevent the atrocities, instead insisted that his colleagues should remain firm at their posts; the election to the National Convention took place in September 1792.
The Convention ruled France until October 1795. Danton was a member. In the Convention, according to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, "He took his seat in the high and remote benches which gave the name of "the Mountain" to the revolutionists who sat there, he found himself side by side with Marat.
The Tuileries Palace was a royal and imperial palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine. It was the usual Parisian residence of most French monarchs, from Henry IV to Napoleon III, until it was burned by the Paris Commune in 1871. Built in 1564, it was extended until it closed off the western end of the Louvre courtyard and displayed an immense façade of 266 metres. Since the destruction of the Tuileries, the Louvre courtyard has remained open and the site is now the location of the eastern end of the Tuileries Garden, forming an elevated terrace between the Place du Carrousel and the gardens proper. After the accidental death of Henry II of France in 1559, his widow Catherine de' Medici planned a new palace, she sold the medieval Hôtel des Tournelles, where her husband had died, began building the palace of Tuileries in 1564, using architect Philibert de l'Orme. The name derives from the tile kilns or tuileries which had occupied the site; the palace was formed by a range of narrow buildings.
During the reign of Henry IV, the building was enlarged to the south, so it joined the long riverside gallery, the Grande Galerie, which ran all the way to the older Louvre Palace in the east. During the reign of Louis XIV major changes were made to the Tuileries Palace. From 1659 to 1661 it was extended to the north by the addition of the Théâtre des Tuileries. From 1664 to 1666 the architect Louis Le Vau and his assistant François d'Orbay made other significant changes, they transformed Philibert de l'Orme's facades and central pavilion, replacing its grand central staircase with a colonnaded vestibule on the ground floor and the Salle des Cents Suisses on the floor above and adding a rectangular dome. A new grand staircase was installed in the entrance of the north wing of the palace, lavishly decorated royal apartments were constructed in the south wing; the king's rooms were on the ground floor, facing toward the Louvre, the queen's on the floor above, overlooking the garden. At the same time, Louis' gardener, André Le Nôtre, redesigned the Tuileries gardens.
The Court moved into the Tuileries Palace in November 1667, but left in 1672, soon thereafter went to the Palace of Versailles. The Tuileries Palace was abandoned and used only as a theatre, but its gardens became a fashionable resort of Parisians; the boy-king Louis XV was moved from Versailles to the Tuileries Palace on 1 January 1716, four months after ascending to the throne. He moved back to Versailles on 15 June three months before his coronation. Both moves were made at the behest of the Regent, the duc d'Orléans; the king resided at the Tuileries for short periods during the 1740s. On 6 October 1789, during the French Revolution, Louis XVI and his family were forced to leave Versailles and brought to the Tuileries where they were kept under surveillance. For the next two years the palace remained the official residence of the king. On 9 November 1789, the National Constituent Assembly the Estates-General of 1789, had moved its deliberations from the tennis court at Versailles to the Tuileries, following the removal of the court to Paris.
The Tuileries' covered riding ring, the Salle du Manège, home to the royal equestrian academy, provided the largest indoor space in the city. The royal family tried to escape after dark, on 20 June 1791, but were captured at Varennes and brought back to the Tuileries; the following year, on 10 August 1792, the palace was stormed by an armed mob, which overwhelmed and massacred the Swiss Guard as the royal family fled through the gardens and took refuge with the Legislative Assembly. The Paris National Guard defended the King, but the daughter of King Louis XVI claimed that many of the guard were in favor of the revolution. In November 1792, the Armoire de fer incident took place at the Tuileries palace; this was the discovery of a hiding place at the royal apartments, believed to contain the secret correspondence of Louis XVI with various political figures. The incident created a considerable scandal; the Tuileries accommodated the Constituent Assembly, its successor, the National Convention, and, in 1795, the Council of Five Hundred of the Directoire until the body moved to the Palais-Bourbon in 1798.
In 1799, the Jacobin Club du Manège had its headquarters there. The Committee of Public Safety met in the Pavillon de Flore. A courtier of a era could summon up nightmarish visions of the palace's Salle de Spectacle, or theater, where many Convention sessions were held during the Reign of Terror: At night a single lamp illumined this huge deserted hall, peopled with terrible memories; these I would muse over as I stopped at the spot once occupied by the chair of the president, where Boissy d'Anglas had saluted the bleeding head of Feraud, where Thuriot had listened impassively to the outburst of Robespierre at bay: "President of assassins, once more I ask your ear!" I saw in imagination the "Mountain," the "Plain," the crowded tribunes. When Napoleon Bonaparte came into power in 1799, he made the Tuileries the official residence of the First Consul and the imperial palace. In 1808, Napoleon began constructing the northern gallery which connected to the Louvre, enclosing a vast square; as Napoleon I's chief residence, the Tuiler
The Ancien Régime was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France from the Late Middle Ages until 1789, when hereditary monarchy and the feudal system of French nobility were abolished by the French Revolution. The Ancien Régime was ruled by Bourbon dynasties; the term is used to refer to the similar feudal systems of the time elsewhere in Europe. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts, internal conflicts, civil wars, but they remained and the Valois Dynasty's attempts at re-establishing control over the scattered political centres of the country were hindered by the Huguenot Wars. Much of the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIII and the early years of Louis XIV were focused on administrative centralization. Despite, the notion of "absolute monarchy" and the efforts by the kings to create a centralized state, the Kingdom of France retained its irregularities: authority overlapped and nobles struggled to retain autonomy.
The need for centralization in this period was directly linked to the question of royal finances and the ability to wage war. The internal conflicts and dynastic crises of the 16th and 17th centuries and the territorial expansion of France in the 17th century demanded great sums which needed to be raised through taxes, such as the land tax and the tax on salt and by contributions of men and service from the nobility. One key to this centralization was the replacing of personal patronage systems organized around the king and other nobles by institutional systems around the state; the creation of intendants—representatives of royal power in the provinces—did much to undermine local control by regional nobles. The same was true of the greater reliance shown by the royal court on the noblesse de robe as judges and royal counselors; the creation of regional parlements had the same goal of facilitating the introduction of royal power into newly assimilated territories, but as the parlements gained in self-assurance, they began to be sources of disunity.
The term in French means "old regime" or "former regime". However, most English language books use the French term Ancien Régime; the term first appeared in print in English in 1794, was pejorative in nature. It conjured up a society so encrusted with anachronisms that only a shock of great violence could free the living organism within. Institutionally torpid, economically immobile, culturally atrophied and stratified, this'old regime' was incapable of self-modernization."More ancien régime refers to any political and social system having the principal features of the French Ancien Régime. Europe's other anciens régimes had diverse fates; the Nine Years' War was a major conflict between France and a European-wide coalition of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, the Dutch Republic, Spain and Savoy. It was fought on the European continent and the surrounding seas, in Ireland, North America, India, it was the first global war. Louis XIV had emerged from the Franco-Dutch War in 1678 as the most powerful monarch in Europe, an absolute ruler who had won numerous military victories.
Using a combination of aggression and quasilegal means, Louis XIV set about extending his gains to stabilize and strengthen France's frontiers, culminating in the brief War of the Reunions. The resulting Truce of Ratisbon guaranteed France's new borders for 20 years, but Louis XIV's subsequent actions – notably his revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 – led to the deterioration of his military and political dominance. Louis XIV's decision to cross the Rhine in September 1688 was designed to extend his influence and pressure the Holy Roman Empire into accepting his territorial and dynastic claims, but when Leopold I and the German princes resolved to resist, when the States General and William III brought the Dutch and the English into the war against France, the French King at last faced a powerful coalition aimed at curtailing his ambitions; the main fighting took place around France's borders, in the Spanish Netherlands, the Rhineland, Duchy of Savoy, Catalonia. The fighting favoured Louis XIV's armies, but by 1696, his country was in the grip of an economic crisis.
The Maritime Powers were financially exhausted, when Savoy defected from the alliance, all parties were keen for a negotiated settlement. By the terms of the Treaty of Ryswick, Louis XIV retained the whole of Alsace, but he was forced to return Lorraine to its ruler and give up any gains on the right bank of the Rhine. Louis XIV accepted William III as the rightful King of England, while the Dutch acquired their barrier fortress system in the Spanish Netherlands to help secure their own borders. However, with the ailing and childless Charles II of Spain approaching his end, a new conflict over the inheritance of the Spanish Empire would soon embroil Louis XIV and the Grand Alliance in a final war – the War of the Spanish Succession. Spain had a number of major assets, apart from its homeland itself, it controlled important territory in the New World. S
Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois
Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois was a French actor, dramatist and revolutionary. He was a member of the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror and, while he saved Madame Tussaud from the Guillotine, he administered the execution of more than 2,000 people in the city of Lyon. Born in Paris, Collot left his home in the rue St. Jacques in his teens to join the travelling theatres of provincial France, his moderately successful career as an actor, supplemented by a vigorous outpouring of works for the stage, took him from Bordeaux in the south of France to Nantes in the west and Lille in the north and into the Dutch Republic, where he met his wife. In 1784 he became director of the theatre in Geneva, at the prestigious playhouse at Lyon in 1787. At the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789 he dropped everything and returned to Paris, where his lead actor's voice, his writing skills, his ability to organise and direct large-scale fêtes were to make him famous, he contributed to revolutionary agitation from the beginning.
With the publication of L'Almanach du Père Gérard, a book advocating a constitutional monarchy in popular terms, he acquired great popularity. His fame was soon increased by his involvement on behalf of the Swiss of the Château-Vieux Regiment, condemned to the galleys for mutiny at Nancy. Collot d'Herbois' efforts resulted in their freedom, his opinions became more radical. Collot d'Herbois was a member of the Paris Commune during the insurrection of 10 August 1792, was elected deputy for Paris to the National Convention. On the first day of the Convention he was the first to demand the abolition of the French monarchy. Collot d'Herbois voted for the death of Louis XVI "sans sursis", he was engaged in the struggle between the Mountain and the Girondists. After François Hanriot's coup d'état of 31 May 1793, he was conspicuous in his attack on the defeated Girondist party. Along with his close friend Billaud-Varenne, he sat at the extreme left of the Convention, attacking speculators, proposing egalitarian programmes.
In June, he was made president of the Convention. After having entrusted him with several missions to Nice and Compiègne, the Convention sent him along with Joseph Fouché, on 30 October 1793, to punish the revolt of Lyon. There, he introduced the Reign of Terror in its most violent form, with mass executions, including more than a hundred priests and nuns, beginning the dismantling of the city itself, his excessive behavior led the Committee of Public Safety to have Collot return to Paris as a suspect. The month of May 1794 saw assassination attempts on both himself on the 23rd and on Maximilien Robespierre on the 25th; as Collot was accused of excessive slaughter and destruction and he suspected that he might soon be arrested and executed, he opposed Robespierre during the Thermidorian Reaction, when he presided over the Convention during the initial session. Despite this change of heart, Collot d'Herbois was accused of complicity with Robespierre, the two having been colleagues on the Committee of Public Safety, but was acquitted.
Denounced a second time, he defended himself by pleading. Beginning his literary career in 1772 with the critically acclaimed Lucie, ou les Parents imprudents and finishing in 1792 with L'Aîné et le cadet, Collot was an accomplished, if minor, dramatist in a turbulent period of the French stage. Before the Revolution, he wrote at least fifteen plays, of which ten survive, including Lucie, an adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, an adaptation of Pedro Calderón de la Barca's El Alcalde de Zalamea, all three of which kept the stage throughout France for over a decade. During the first three years of the Revolution he wrote at least seven more plays, of which six survive, juggling the tearful love themes of le drame bourgeois with political themes and messages in such plays as L'Inconnu, ou le Préjugé vaincu and Socrate. In 1791, he wrote the prize-winning L'Almanach de père Gérard, a fictional account of revolutionary morality which went on to become the best-seller of the period, establishing his political credentials in the process.
He was one of the authors of the first French republican Constitution, written in 1793 but never applied. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Collot d'Herbois, Jean Marie". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6. Cambridge University Press. P. 694. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, in turn, cites as a reference: F. A. Aulard, Les Orateurs de la Legislative et de la Convention, t. ii. pp. 501–512. The principal documents relative to the trial of Collot d'Herbois, Barère and Billaud-Varenne are indicated in Aulard, Recueil des actes du comité de salut public, t. i. pp. 5 and 6. Much recent study has been done on Collot d'Herbois, in Australia (articles by Paul Mansfield -'Collot d'Herbois and the Dechristianizers', Journal of Religious History, volume 14, number 4, pp. 406–18.