French Language Blog

French History – Shaking Things Up Posted by on May 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

The French have had more than their share of revolutions1Real ones and cultural … just see mai ’68 and les gilets jaunes. They’ve never had a problem when things weren’t working, just scrapping it all and starting over. There’s a reason that the current political administration is the Ve République (Fifth Republic)2As alluded to by the line “Marianne a cinq enfants” in this song.

Une histoire révolutionnaire / A revolutionay history

Most students of French language and culture are familiar with the revolution of 1789 that led to the execution of Louis XVI, the formation of the first French republic, and – at least in many people’s minds – the end of the French monarchy. But 1789 – la Révolution française – was just the first French revolution … and it wasn’t the end of the monarchy. While none were perhaps ever quite so dramatic, the history of France is also marked by:

  • La révolution de Juillet also known as les Trois Glorieuses (for les trois journées de 27, 28, 29 juillet / the three days in July, 1830), ended the reign of Charles X and the period known as la restauration.
  • La révolution de 1848, also known as la révolution de Février, will be familiar – along with  ses fameuses barricades (famous barricades) to any fans of Les Misérables. This revolution ended the rule of Bourbon kings in France once and for all.
  • La Commune de Paris (mars – mai 1871 / March – May 1871) was a republican uprising that sought to revive  the goals of the original French revolution after a period of kings and emperors.

Charles X? 1830?

As noted, the death of Louis XVI during la Révolution de 1789 was not the end of la monarchie in France. After Louis lost his head … and his throne! … most people probably assumed that was also the end of the Bourbons. But it wasn’t! Nor was it, as mentioned, the end of la monarchie.

After Louis XVI, France had three more kings … and two emperors!

Come back la semaine prochaine (next week) to learn more about them.

Colonne de Juillet courtesy Tim Hildreth

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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.