French Language Blog

French Culture – Saving History Posted by on Feb 26, 2019 in Culture, Vocabulary

One of the things I always loved about living in France was just how much history was … everywhere! On my very first visit to la Bretagne my host brother took me to see le Mont Saint-Michel and to the ruins of an ancient château fort in the middle of the woods. For a kid from les Etats-Unis (the United States) seeing these old buildings was amazing.

But keeping all of these splendeurs (splendors) sparkling and accessible to the public takes work. Enter Dartagnans! Launched by Romain Delaume and  named for the hero of Les trois mousquetaires, Dartagans is le start-up qui veut sauver les châteaux (the start-up who wants to save the castles). It is, according to their site, la platforme de crowdfunding (autrement dit de financement participative) exclusivement dédiée au rayonnement et à la préservation de patrimoine (the crowdfunding (or participative financing) platform exclusively dedicated to the highlighting and protection of the national heritage/legacy).

Speaking of patrimoine, did you know that UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has a list dedicated to the preservation of the world’s treasures? You can see a list of the locations throughout France (including le Mont Saint-Michel and the Banks of the Seine!) here.

Modeled on an English concept, Romain and his co-founder sought to bring together users on the internet (des internautes) with property owners who wanted help preserving their historic properties. They’re even helping support some of France’s most famous locations … including one of my favorites, le chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte and its great clock.

Vaux-le-Vicomte is in many ways the godfather to much-better-known Chateau de Versailles. Louis XIV chose as the creators of his magnificent palace the same artists who made Vaux the jewel in Nicolas Fouquet’s (Louis’s finance minister) crown. Louis Le Vau served as architect on both chateaux, Charles le Brun as painter, and André La Nôtre as landscape architect. You can read a great history of the relationship between the two châteaux here … where as the author points out Vaux features in many films, including more than a few of my favorites.

Read a great overview of Dartagnans! and there work from the US news organization National Public Radio here.

Photo (C) Tim Hildreth, 1986

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.