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France 2019 Calendar

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If you want to ski, there is the Mer de Glace in Chamonix. Swimming is wonderful in Corsica surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. For culture, there is the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. A river cruise on the Seine through Normandy is visually and gastronomically delicious. And if work will assuage the guilty pleasures of France 2019, join the workers harvesting grapes in St. Emilion. Salut!

Locations featured in the 2019 France calendar include:

January

A cruise on the river Seine is a fine way to see Normandy. Cruises typically last about a week and depart from Paris, with stops at Medieval villages like Vernon to see the Château de Bizy, or Giverny to visit Claude Monet’s home. The chalk cliffs pictured here are at Les Andelys, where Richard the Lionheart built Gaillard castle in 1197 to defend the Duchy of Normandy against the king of France.

February

This is a good time to plan a visit to St. Emilion in Bordeaux where the famous Jurade festival celebrates the autumn harvest and also the passing of wine-making control from King John to the Jurade de Saint-Emilion in 1199. Officers of the Jurade controlled civic, legal, and administrative affairs of the city, and also set standards for and approved or disapproved the quality of the region’s wine.

March

Fougères is a Medieval town notable for the Château de Fougères, a vast stronghold built to defend the Duchy of Brittany against French aggression. A fortification at Fougères was first chronicled in the 10th century. The ramparts of the castle pictured here were probably built in the 13th century. Today the castle is considered one of the finest of its kind in Europe.

April

The Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux was designed in the Neo-classical style as a temple to the arts. The 12 columns of the portico support an entablature on which stand 12 statues representing the nine Muses and three goddesses who inspire the arts. Today the theater is home to the Opéra National de Bordeaux and the Ballet National de Bordeaux.

May

In the center of Lyon 12 streets meet at the Place des Jacobins. From about 1296 a monastery of the Order of St. Dominic, known as the Jacobins, occupied the southern side of what is now the square, which actually served as the Order’s cemetery. In 1556 King Henri II decided to replace the cemetery with a market that has evolved into the space we see here. The fountain, installed in 1885, commemorates four French artists: a painter, an engraver, a sculptor and an architect.

June

Considered to be among the most attractive villages in southern France, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie was begun as a defensive fortress built on a cliff located 300 feet above the river Lot. After the remains of St. James were interred at Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie became a stop on the pilgrimage route to northern Spain. Largely unchanged for centuries, the town now attracts visitors interested in its antiquity.

July

In 1878 confectioner Georges Forest invented the first soft-centered candy. Its filling of chocolate, almond, and hazelnut is enrobed in a brilliantly colored shell of hand-beaten sugar. Forest’s company, Maison de la Forestine, still occupies the headquarters he built in 1884 in the central French city of Bourges. In addition to candy, Bourges is noted for its half-timbered houses and exceptional Gothic cathedral.

August

The vexed history of Corsica dates from the expulsion of the Romans by Vandals in 469. In 828 Boniface II of Tuscany began construction of a fortress that now dominates the island’s Bonifacio harbor. The Republic of Genoa ruled the island from 1284 until ceding Corsica to France in 1768. That was just in time, since otherwise Napoleon Bonaparte, born here in 1769, could not have played his part in French history.

September

Once part of the estate of Pierre de Rauzan, the vineyard at Château Pichon Longueville Baron was classified as one of 15 Deuxièmes Crus, or Second Growths as part of the official wine classification in 1855. Located in the Paulliac appellation of Bordeaux, the estate continues to produce wine described by critics as “glorious” and “…a wine to lay down for decades.”

October

Château de Castelnaud is a restored 12th century medieval fortress that overlooks the Dordogne river in Périgord, southern France. Castelnaud boasts a notable collection of weapons and armor, including siege engines, mangonneaux (catapult), and trebuchets, and invites visitors to a range of medieval-inspired events, both military and gustatory.

November

Chemin de fer du Montenvers rack (cog) railway runs for 3 miles (5.1 km) from the village of Chamonix to the Montenvers station at the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), France’s largest glacier. Skiing in the French Alps, dominated by Mont Blanc, is a well-established pastime. The first winter Olympics was held at Chamonix, on the north side of Mont Blanc, in 1924.

December

Île de la Cité is the heart of Paris, and among its notable attractions is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, seen here with a large pine tree lighted for Christmas on the square in front of it. Begun in 1160, the cathedral is considered the foremost example of French Gothic architecture. The island was long occupied by the Parisii, a Celtic Iron Age people, until the Romans captured it in about 50 AD.

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