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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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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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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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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Fattening Fowl in the Mid to Late 1800s

Fattened fowl were an extremely desirable commodity in England and France in the mid to late 1800s. Many attempts were made to fatten fowl not only because consumers wanted better meat but also because sellers found fattened fowl a highly profitable business. But it was not always easy to fatten fowl, even if they were…

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Eccentricities of a Dog Lover: The Earl of Bridgewater

Francis Henry Egerton, 8th and last Earl of Bridgewater, (known as Francis Egerton until 1823), was a first-class British eccentric. One newspaper noted of him that “no one has higher claims to a distinguished place in … history than Mr. Egerton.”[1] Part of their illustrious opinion of him may have had to do with the…

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Points of a Horse

Did you know a lost horse can find its way home by sniffing out its previous footsteps and manure remnants? That’s because horses learn about their world through their nose, and this extraordinary sense of smell allows them to read the chemical messages in the air. They can recognize friends, sense danger, find food, discover…

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