Each year the 'Mission des Célébrations nationales' establishes a list of people and events to be commemorated. We heard a lot about it recently because they had included Céline, writer and literary genius but also author of violent anti-semitic pamphlets in the years 1930 and 40. The debate about Céline almost made us forget that there was more on the list, especially characters and events of interest to this blog :

- The Académie Royale de Danse. The French dance institution was founded by letters patent on the initiative of Louis XIV on 30 March 1661. It was his first political decision after he decided to assume full control of his State. The institution disappeared in the years 1780.

- Nicolas Boileau (1636-1771), AKA Boileau-Despréaux, AKA « the Parnassus lawyer », poet, writer, and theoretician of the French classical esthetics in literature. Boileau was made historiographer to king Louis XIV in 1677.

- Claude Garamont (1499-1561), not really our time period, but he designed the Garamond font which was adopted as the French standard at the Manufacture Royal d'Imprimerie, the State printing founded in 1640 by Richelieu.

- Angélique Arnauld (1591-1661), abbess and reformator of Port Royal. In 1635, under the influence of the abbé de Saint-Cyran, she became one of the main promoters of Jansenism, a very influencial religious movement at that time, which a few years after her death was condemned and forbidden as heretical. Angélique Arnauld left memoires.

- Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), navigator, explorer and military commander.

- Jean-François Chalgrin (1739-1811), architect. He was a representant of the neoclassical style. He is best known for the Arc-de-Triomphe in Paris, but among his other works we find, still in Paris, the theatre de l'Odéon, part of the Palais du Luxembourg, of the churches Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Philippe-du-Roule and the Collège Royal de France. And, gorgeous illustration to this post, he also designed the temporary ballroom built in occasion of the wedding of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

- Alexandre Lenoir (1761-1839), archeologist and devouted to saving historic monuments, sculptures and tombs from the ravages of the Revolution, notably those of Saint-Denis and Sainte-Geneviève.

- Construction of Notre-Dame de Reims, cathedral where the kings of France were once crowned. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991.



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