Glossary of French Terms Used in the Quadrille

Quadrille Dancers, Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France
Quadrille Dancers, Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France

The Quadrille was a popular square dance that became fashionable in the late 18th century. It was first introduced at Louis XV’s court sometime around 1760 and was first performed with two couples facing each other.

In 1816, the Quadrille reached England through Sarah Sophia Child Villiers, Countess of Jersey. The Countess was an aristocrat and well-known patroness of Almack’s, and, because of her, the Quadrille became ultra-fashionable with the upper crust.

Elements of the Quadrille changed over time, and it evolved into the waltz. Additionally, other couples were added to the dance so that the Quadrille included eight persons thereby forming a square and allowing couples to take turns resting and dancing.

Because of its French origins, the terms used for the Quadrille were French, and, over time, some of the terms were done away with or changed. The following list provides the most frequent French terms used for the Quadrille by the mid 1800s, and it includes their English counterparts: Continue reading

Last Words During the French Revolution

Beginning of the French Revolution: Storming of the Bastille in July 1789, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Storming of the Bastille in July 1789, Courtesy of Wikipedia

The French Revolution was a tumultuous ten-year period from 1789 to 1799 that had far-reaching social and political affects. During this time, there were many social and political groups at odds because of conflicting wants and needs. Exacerbating the situation was financial issues, frequent famines, and Enlightenment ideals. Because of the upheaval many deaths occurred: some were ordered by the Revolutionary Tribunal, some occurred during revolts, and others were assassinations. The story of these tumultuous times can be told in the words of those who died.

Here are their words: Continue reading

Quotes Said During the French Revolution

French Revolution quotes
Napoleon Bonaparte, Author’s Collection

The French Revolution was a tumultuous ten-year period that forever changed France. Those people who experienced these tumultuous times saw monumental social and political change. It also ultimately created the Emperor Napoleon and did away with the ancien régime beheading its leader Louis XVI. The words of some of the people involved in the French Revolution and the drastic changes, are provided below:

Non sire, ce n’est pas une révolte, c’est une révolution.
No sire, it’s not a revolt; it’s a revolution.
This was said by the Duke of Rochefoucauld, a French social reformer, the morning after the storming of the Bastille when Louis XVI asked him, “Is it a revolt?” Continue reading

Nicknames of the French Royals

France's Flag, Courtesy of Wikipedia
France’s Flag, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Nicknames have been around for a long time and used for a variety of reasons. They were popular in France and even the country of France had a nickname. It was a poetical designation similar to that given England of “Merry England.” However, in France’s case it was “La Belle France.” Frenchmen also gave the nickname “Monsieur Dimanche” (which literally means “Mr. Sunday”), to a creditor in allusion to the fact “tradesmen and artisans had no other holiday, and usually collected their debts on Sunday.” Frenchmen also conferred nicknames upon French royalty and this resulted in King Louis XVI and his relatives having nicknames. Continue reading

21 Nicknames of Napoleon

Nicknames of Napoleon Bonaparte, Author's Collection
Napoleon Bonaparte, Author’s Collection

Nicknames have always been popular. They serve as substitute for a person’s proper name and are sometimes used affectionately or at other times as a form of ridicule. Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution, was the recipient of both types of nicknames. One of the first nicknames he acquired was “Nabulio,” which mean little meddler. This affectionate nickname was given to him by his family and referred to the mischief he reputedly caused. Napoleon later acquired many other nicknames. Among the many nicknames that he acquired are twenty-one (list below), as well as a brief description of how he obtained each one. Continue reading

French Cooking Terms in the Victorian Era

220px-Catherine-de-medici
Catherine de Medici, Courtesy of Wikipedia

In the Middle Ages, French food was similar to Moorish cuisine and it did not change until Catherine de Medicis married Henry duc d’Orléans (who later became Henry II of France). When Catherine came to France in 1533, Italy was the leader in cuisine, and she brought with her numerous Italian chefs, who were busy creating many wonderful and unique Italian delicacies, such as macaroni, manicotti, and lasagna. Catherine’s fine cooks then introduced their culinary secrets to the French court and skilled culinary craftsmen soon began to emerge in France. By the 17th and 18th centuries, Haute Cuisine or “High Cuisine,” developed in France, along with the idea of “French cooking.”  Thus, France became known internationally as the premiere place for cuisine and French cooking terms began appearing everywhere. Continue reading

Words Said To or About Napoleon

Napoleon Bonaparte, Author's Collection
Napoleon Bonaparte, Author’s Collection

Napoleon rose to prominence during the French Revolution and because of his numerous and successful military campaigns he dominated Europe for over a decade. In fact, his military prowess helped him became Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1814, and then again in 1815. Although Napoleon may have ended lawlessness and disorder in post-Revolutionary France, opponents considered him a tyrant and usurper. Today, some historians claim he had grandiose ambitions and was overly aggressive in building his empire. Because of his reputation — both good and bad — people who met or knew him always had something to say to him or about him. Here are their words: Continue reading