• 1500s,  Huguenot,  Mistress

    The unsung architects of the Edict of Nantes (yes, they were women)

    The Unsung (Female) Architects of the Edict of Nantes. If you have Huguenot ancestry, or if you’ve studied 16th French history, you’ve no doubt heard of the Edict of Nantes, which Henry IV of France promulgated on this day in 1588. Henry is celebrated by historians for being pragmatic and good natured enough to unite the Protestant and Catholic factions of France after a century of bloody religious warfare, which led to the proclamation that French Protestants would be hereafter be given equal rights as Catholics under French law. While that’s essentially true, the official story handed down by scholars leaves out two essential figures who shepherded the Edict through…

  • Behind the scenes

    Did you know that there’s a Facebook Page for French Historical Fiction? It’s true!

    I’ve been extremely blessed to be part of a group of writers who specialize in French history from the cave paintings to about 1900. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we’ve joined forces to promote our love of French history and historical fiction based in France. Today on April Fool’s Day, Ann Mc Clellan wrote about court jesters, and the role they played in French royal courts. If I managed to understand the code embed from Facebook, Ann’s post will appear here: Each of us take turns writing every Friday about various aspects of French history and culture. While we try to identify ourselves at the end of…

  • 1500s

    Keira Morgan looks at the effectiveness of the King’s Scrofula

    There’s a mystic aspect to kingship, and one of the most common mystical beliefs is that a royal representative of God has the power to cure. For most of its history, France believed that its monarchs could cure Scrofula. Keira Morgan, author of The Importance of Pawns, takes a closer look at a belief that lasted for almost a millennia.

  • Renaissance

    mercredi des Cendres: celebrating Ash Wednesday in France

    As a side note, as an Anglican (we’re called “Episcopalians” in the US), when I Googled “Ash Wednesday in France,” this Anglican church in Paris came up in the results. I had to smile at that; it’s named St. George’s as a direct salvo at the French. It’s not the kind of day you can really call a “holiday.” It’s more apt to call it an observance. It’s also one of those practices that was so tied into Mideaval life that the more Calvinist- leaning Protestants were more than happy to drop it as soon as humanly possible. (Looking at YOU, Jeanne of Navarre!) Amongst the most observant Catholics, there…

  • France

    Mardi Gras in France: crêpes, beignets and waffles galore

    When I was researching my post for Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras/ Fat Tuesday/ Pancake Day/ Gumbo Because We’re Southerners and This is Practially Louisiana Anyway Day, I was shocked to learn that France has two “Pancake Days” related to the Catholic liturgical calendar. I’ll try to simplify it for you. After Christmas (Christ’s birthday), there’s Epiphany (the day the Wise Men actually showed up to the manger). A few days later there’s a feast called Chandeleur (Candlemas) which celebrates the newborn Christ being presented to the temple in Jerusalem. None of these dates are scientific of course, they’re just approximations to parcel out the story of Christ for the general…