Animals

Tuileries Garden Bird Charmers

Tuileries Garden bird charmers were street performers who appeared in the mid to late 1800s and enticed flocks of birds to come to them. Later, the bird charmers began appearing in other gardens or in public green spaces, such as the Champ de Mars. One of the earliest of the bird charmers at the Tuileries…

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Wolf Attacks in France in the Early 1800s

Wolves were considered a problem in France as early as Charlemagne’s reign, and Charlemagne was the first to institute a special corps of wolf hunters (called the louveterie) to deal with them between 800 and 813. The louveterie was abolished after the French Revolution but was then reestablished in 1814. The wolves in France during…

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The First Pet Cemetery in the World

Claimed to be the first pet cemetery in the world, Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques, (literally translated as the “Cemetery of Dogs and Other Domestic Animals”), opened in 1899.* It was originally founded as the Cimetière des Chiens (“Cemetery of Dogs”) because of a law that was passed in 1898 by Paris’s city…

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An 18th Century Experiment on Cats

Supposedly, the French have always had a mania for cats. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known better by his stage name Molière, is said to have had a favorite cat, and a celebrated harpist named Madame de Puis, so loved her furry feline she left a pension for it in her will. There was also French impressionist artist…

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Popular Posts for 2016

Last year was a great year for me. I published my book, Marie Antoinette’s Confidante, and I published many interesting posts on topics related to the 18th and 19th centuries. Looking at the past year, here are the twelve most popular posts, by month, for 2016: January – French Dueling Codes for Swords, Pistols, and…

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Hans and Marguerite: The Elephants of France

Two young elephants were captured in 1785 in Sri Lanka. They eventually ended up in the Netherlands with William V, Prince of Orange, and during the revolution, they were confiscated by France and sent to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. The two elephants were male and female. Hans was the male and the female…

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Belle Africaine: The First Giraffe In France

The first giraffe in France arrived at the port of Marseilles (Marseille in French) on 23 October 1826. The strange animal with spots, long legs, bulging eyes, eighteen-inch tongue, and horn-like structures on its head, was a gift from the Viceroy of Egypt to Charles X. Everyone who saw her thought she was marvelous. In…

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French Toad Showers

For years French people reported on toad showers. French toad showers seemed to occur most frequently in the months of August and September. In fact, in the 1800s, in the northern provinces of France, it was claimed toad showers were not “unfrequent.” One man wrote about a toad shower he remembered from his youth. He…

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Tales of Monkeys as Pets in the 18th Century and 19th Century

Many people desired a pet monkey in the 1700 and 1800s. One nineteenth century gentleman claimed a pet monkey was “a mischievous beast … but affording so much amusement as to compensate for the trouble,”[1] and another person wrote, “there is no pet which can be so interesting or amusing as a monkey.”[2] Because of…

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