The rooftops of Paris – Eiffel Tower

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The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011.[2] The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.

The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Because of the addition of the aerial atop the Eiffel Tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres (17 ft). Not including broadcast aerials, it is the second-tallest structure in France, after the Millau Viaduct.

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second. The third level observatory’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground,[2] the highest accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift (elevator) to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. Although there are stairs to the third and highest level, these are usually closed to the public and it is generally only accessible by lift.

The design of the Eiffel Tower was originated by Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers who worked for the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel, after discussion about a suitable centrepiece for the proposed 1889 Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair which would celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. In May 1884 Koechlin, working at home, made an outline drawing of their scheme, described by him as “a great pylon, consisting of four lattice girders standing apart at the base and coming together at the top, joined together by metal trusses at regular intervals”.[3] Initially Eiffel himself showed little enthusiasm, but he did sanction further study of the project, and the two engineers then asked Stephen Sauvestre, the head of company’s architectural department, to contribute to the design. Sauvestre added decorative arches to the base, a glass pavilion to the first level, and other embellishments. This enhanced version gained Eiffel’s support: he bought the rights to the patent on the design which Koechlin, Nougier, and Sauvestre had taken out, and the design was exhibited at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts in the autumn of 1884 under the company name. On 30 March 1885 Eiffel presented a paper on the project to the Société des Ingiénieurs Civils; after discussing the technical problems and emphasising the practical uses of the tower, he finished his talk by saying that the tower would symbolise

“not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude.”

Little happened until the beginning of 1886, when Jules Grévy was re-elected as President and Édouard Lockroy was appointed as Minister for Trade. A budget for the Exposition was passed and on 1 May Lockroy announced an alteration to the terms of the open competition which was being held for a centerpiece for the exposition, which effectively made the choice of Eiffel’s design a foregone conclusion: all entries had to include a study for a 300 m (980 ft) four-sided metal tower on the Champ de Mars.[4] On 12 May a commission was set up to examine Eiffel’s scheme and its rivals and on 12 June it presented its decision, which was that all the proposals except Eiffel’s were either impractical or insufficiently worked out. After some debate about the exact site for the tower, a contract was finally signed on 8 January 1887. This was signed by Eiffel acting in his own capacity rather than as the representative of his company, and granted him 1.5 million francs toward the construction costs: less than a quarter of the estimated 6.5 million francs. Eiffel was to receive all income from the commercial exploitation of the tower during the exhibition and for the following twenty years. Eiffel later established a separate company to manage the tower, putting up half the necessary capital himself.[5]

A second Statue of Liberty in Paris is near the Grenelle Bridge on the Île aux Cygnes, a man-made island in the Seine , 11.50 metres (37 feet 9 inches) high. Inaugurated on July 4, 1889, it looks southwest, downriver along the Seine. Its tablet bears two dates: “IV JUILLET 1776″ (July 4, 1776: the United States Declaration of Independence) like the New York statue, and “XIV JUILLET 1789″ (July 14, 1789: the storming of the Bastille). This statue is shown in the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets as one of the historic locations.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Alexandre III bridge, Paris

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The Pont Alexandre III is a deck arch bridge that spans the Seine in Paris. It connects the Champs-Élysées quarter with those of the Invalides and Eiffel Tower. The bridge is widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in the city. It is classified as a French Monument historique.

History

The Beaux-Arts style bridge, with its exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses at either end, was built between 1896 and 1900. It is named after Tsar Alexander III, who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892. His son Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in October 1896. The style of the bridge reflects that of the Grand Palais, to which it leads on the right bank.

The construction of the bridge is a marvel of 19th century engineering, consisting of a 6 metres (20 ft) high single span steel arch. The design, by the architects Joseph Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Cousin, was subject to strict controls that prevented the bridge from obscuring the view of the Champs-Élysées or the Invalides.

The bridge was built by the engineers Jean Résal and Amédée d’Alby. It was inaugurated in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle (universal exhibition) World’s Fair, as were the nearby Grand Palais and Petit Palais.

Sculptures

Numerous sculptors provided the sculptures that feature prominently on the bridge.

Four gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the bridge, supported on massive 17 metres (56 ft) masonry socles, that provide stabilizing counterweight for the arch, without interfering with monumental views. The socles are crowned by Fames restraining Pegasus.

On the Right Bank, Renommée des Sciences (“Fame of the Sciences”) and the Renommée des Arts (“Fame of the Arts”) both by Emmanuel Frémiet; at their bases, La France Contemporaine (“Contemporary France”) by Gustave Michel and France de Charlemagne (“France of Charlemagne”) by Alfred Lenoir. The lions groups are by Georges Gardet.
On the Left Bank, the Renommée du Commerce (“Fame of Commerce”) by Pierre Granet and the Renommée de l’Industrie (“Fame of Industry”) by Clément Steiner; at their bases France de la Renaissance (“France of the Renaissance”) by Jules Coutan and La France de Louis XIV (“France of Louis XIV”) by Laurent Marqueste. The lions groups are by Jules Dalou.

Nymphs of the Seine relief.
The Nymph reliefs are at the centres of the arches over the Seine, memorials to the Franco-Russian Alliance. The “Nymphs of the Seine” has a relief of the arms of France, and faces the “Nymphs of the Neva” with the arms of Imperial Russia. They are both are executed in hammered copper over forms by Georges Récipon.
In the same political spirit, the Trinity Bridge in Saint Petersburg was conceived as a memorial to the Franco-Russian Alliance. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel, and the first stone laid in August 1897 by French president Félix Faure.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The colorful walk

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Shot made near Bergicourt, a small village in the Somme, Picardy, France.


Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Picardy region of France.

The north central area of the Somme was the site of a series of battles during World War I. Particularly significant was the 1916 Battle of the Somme. As a result of this and other battles fought in the area the department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating the many soldiers from various countries who died on its battlefields. The famed Battle of Cressy also took place in this department.

Picardy is one of the 27 regions of France. It is located in the northern part of France.


History

The historical province of Picardy stretched from north of Noyon to Calais, via the whole of the Somme department and the north of the Aisne department. The province of Artois (Arras area) separated Picardy from French Flanders.

Middle Ages

From the 5th century the area was part of the Frankish Empire, and in the feudal period it encompassed the six countships of Boulogne, Montreuil, Ponthieu, Amiénois, Vermandois, and Laonnois.[2] According to the 843 Treaty of Verdun the region became part of West Francia, the later Kingdom of France.

The name “Picardy” (which may have referred to a Frankish tribe of picards or pike-bearers) was not used until the 12th or 13th century. During this time, the name applied to all lands where the Picard language was spoken, which included all the territories from Paris to the Netherlands.[3] In the Latin Quarter of Paris, people identified a “Picard Nation” (Nation Picarde) of students at Sorbonne University, most of whom actually came from Flanders.[4] During the Hundred Years’ War, Picardy was the centre of the Jacquerie peasant revolt in 1358.

From 1419 onwards, the Picardy counties (Boulogne, Ponthieu, Amiens, Vermandois) were gradually acquired by the Burgundian duke Philip the Good, confirmed by King Charles VII of France at the 1435 Congress of Arras. They were again seized by King Louis XI of France after the Burgundian Wars and the death of Duke Charles the Bold in 1477.

Modern era

In the 16th century, the government (military region) of Picardy was created. This became a new administrative region of France, separate from what was historically defined as Picardy. The new Picardy included the Somme département, the northern half of the Aisne département, and a small fringe in the north of the Oise département.

In the 17th century, an infectious disease similar to English sweat originated from the region and spread across France. It was called Suette des picards or Picardy sweat.[5]

Sugar beet was introduced by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, in order to counter the United Kingdom, which had seized the sugar islands possessed by France in the Caribbean. The sugar industry has continued to play a prominent role in the economy of the region.[6]

One of the most significant historical events to occur in Picardy was the series of battles fought along the Somme during World War I. From September 1914 to August 1918, four major battles, including the Battle of the Somme, were fought by British, French, and German forces in the fields of Northern Picardy.[7]

Picardy today

This painting by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes recalls the “Golden Age” in the history of the province of Picardy.[8] The Walters Art Museum.

In 2009, the Regional Committee for local government reform proposed to reduce the number of French regions and cancel additions of new regions in the near future. Picardy would have disappeared, and each department would have joined a nearby region. The Oise would have been incorporated in the Île-de-France, the Somme would have been incorporated in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Aisne would have been incorporated in the Champagne-Ardenne. The vast majority of Picards were opposed to this proposal, and it was scrapped in 2010 (see newspaper: “Courrier Picard”).

Today, the modern region of Picardy no longer includes the coastline from Berck to Calais, via Boulogne (Boulonais), that is now in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, but does incorporate the pays of Beauvaisis, Valois, Noyonnais, Laonnois, Soissonnais, Omois, among other departments of France. The older definition of Picardy survives in the name of the Picard language, which applies not only to the dialects of Picardy proper, but also to the Romance dialects spoken in the Nord-Pas de Calais région, north of Picardy proper, and parts of the Belgian province of Hainaut.

(Source: Wikipedia)


 

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The village crossing (Picardie, France)

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Shot made in Guizancourt, a small village in the Somme, Picardy, France.


Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Picardy region of France.

The north central area of the Somme was the site of a series of battles during World War I. Particularly significant was the 1916 Battle of the Somme. As a result of this and other battles fought in the area the department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating the many soldiers from various countries who died on its battlefields. The famed Battle of Cressy also took place in this department.

Picardy is one of the 27 regions of France. It is located in the northern part of France.


History

The historical province of Picardy stretched from north of Noyon to Calais, via the whole of the Somme department and the north of the Aisne department. The province of Artois (Arras area) separated Picardy from French Flanders.

Middle Ages

From the 5th century the area was part of the Frankish Empire, and in the feudal period it encompassed the six countships of Boulogne, Montreuil, Ponthieu, Amiénois, Vermandois, and Laonnois.[2] According to the 843 Treaty of Verdun the region became part of West Francia, the later Kingdom of France.

The name “Picardy” (which may have referred to a Frankish tribe of picards or pike-bearers) was not used until the 12th or 13th century. During this time, the name applied to all lands where the Picard language was spoken, which included all the territories from Paris to the Netherlands.[3] In the Latin Quarter of Paris, people identified a “Picard Nation” (Nation Picarde) of students at Sorbonne University, most of whom actually came from Flanders.[4] During the Hundred Years’ War, Picardy was the centre of the Jacquerie peasant revolt in 1358.

From 1419 onwards, the Picardy counties (Boulogne, Ponthieu, Amiens, Vermandois) were gradually acquired by the Burgundian duke Philip the Good, confirmed by King Charles VII of France at the 1435 Congress of Arras. They were again seized by King Louis XI of France after the Burgundian Wars and the death of Duke Charles the Bold in 1477.

Modern era

In the 16th century, the government (military region) of Picardy was created. This became a new administrative region of France, separate from what was historically defined as Picardy. The new Picardy included the Somme département, the northern half of the Aisne département, and a small fringe in the north of the Oise département.

In the 17th century, an infectious disease similar to English sweat originated from the region and spread across France. It was called Suette des picards or Picardy sweat.[5]

Sugar beet was introduced by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, in order to counter the United Kingdom, which had seized the sugar islands possessed by France in the Caribbean. The sugar industry has continued to play a prominent role in the economy of the region.[6]

One of the most significant historical events to occur in Picardy was the series of battles fought along the Somme during World War I. From September 1914 to August 1918, four major battles, including the Battle of the Somme, were fought by British, French, and German forces in the fields of Northern Picardy.[7]

Picardy today

This painting by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes recalls the “Golden Age” in the history of the province of Picardy.[8] The Walters Art Museum.

In 2009, the Regional Committee for local government reform proposed to reduce the number of French regions and cancel additions of new regions in the near future. Picardy would have disappeared, and each department would have joined a nearby region. The Oise would have been incorporated in the Île-de-France, the Somme would have been incorporated in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Aisne would have been incorporated in the Champagne-Ardenne. The vast majority of Picards were opposed to this proposal, and it was scrapped in 2010 (see newspaper: “Courrier Picard”).

Today, the modern region of Picardy no longer includes the coastline from Berck to Calais, via Boulogne (Boulonais), that is now in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, but does incorporate the pays of Beauvaisis, Valois, Noyonnais, Laonnois, Soissonnais, Omois, among other departments of France. The older definition of Picardy survives in the name of the Picard language, which applies not only to the dialects of Picardy proper, but also to the Romance dialects spoken in the Nord-Pas de Calais région, north of Picardy proper, and parts of the Belgian province of Hainaut.

(Source: Wikipedia)


 

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Life along a stream

DSCF1958

Shot made near Bergicourt, a small village in the Somme, Picardy, France.


Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Picardy region of France.

The north central area of the Somme was the site of a series of battles during World War I. Particularly significant was the 1916 Battle of the Somme. As a result of this and other battles fought in the area the department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating the many soldiers from various countries who died on its battlefields. The famed Battle of Cressy also took place in this department.

Picardy is one of the 27 regions of France. It is located in the northern part of France.


History

The historical province of Picardy stretched from north of Noyon to Calais, via the whole of the Somme department and the north of the Aisne department. The province of Artois (Arras area) separated Picardy from French Flanders.

Middle Ages

From the 5th century the area was part of the Frankish Empire, and in the feudal period it encompassed the six countships of Boulogne, Montreuil, Ponthieu, Amiénois, Vermandois, and Laonnois.[2] According to the 843 Treaty of Verdun the region became part of West Francia, the later Kingdom of France.

The name “Picardy” (which may have referred to a Frankish tribe of picards or pike-bearers) was not used until the 12th or 13th century. During this time, the name applied to all lands where the Picard language was spoken, which included all the territories from Paris to the Netherlands.[3] In the Latin Quarter of Paris, people identified a “Picard Nation” (Nation Picarde) of students at Sorbonne University, most of whom actually came from Flanders.[4] During the Hundred Years’ War, Picardy was the centre of the Jacquerie peasant revolt in 1358.

From 1419 onwards, the Picardy counties (Boulogne, Ponthieu, Amiens, Vermandois) were gradually acquired by the Burgundian duke Philip the Good, confirmed by King Charles VII of France at the 1435 Congress of Arras. They were again seized by King Louis XI of France after the Burgundian Wars and the death of Duke Charles the Bold in 1477.

Modern era

In the 16th century, the government (military region) of Picardy was created. This became a new administrative region of France, separate from what was historically defined as Picardy. The new Picardy included the Somme département, the northern half of the Aisne département, and a small fringe in the north of the Oise département.

In the 17th century, an infectious disease similar to English sweat originated from the region and spread across France. It was called Suette des picards or Picardy sweat.[5]

Sugar beet was introduced by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, in order to counter the United Kingdom, which had seized the sugar islands possessed by France in the Caribbean. The sugar industry has continued to play a prominent role in the economy of the region.[6]

One of the most significant historical events to occur in Picardy was the series of battles fought along the Somme during World War I. From September 1914 to August 1918, four major battles, including the Battle of the Somme, were fought by British, French, and German forces in the fields of Northern Picardy.[7]

Picardy today

This painting by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes recalls the “Golden Age” in the history of the province of Picardy.[8] The Walters Art Museum.

In 2009, the Regional Committee for local government reform proposed to reduce the number of French regions and cancel additions of new regions in the near future. Picardy would have disappeared, and each department would have joined a nearby region. The Oise would have been incorporated in the Île-de-France, the Somme would have been incorporated in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Aisne would have been incorporated in the Champagne-Ardenne. The vast majority of Picards were opposed to this proposal, and it was scrapped in 2010 (see newspaper: “Courrier Picard”).

Today, the modern region of Picardy no longer includes the coastline from Berck to Calais, via Boulogne (Boulonais), that is now in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, but does incorporate the pays of Beauvaisis, Valois, Noyonnais, Laonnois, Soissonnais, Omois, among other departments of France. The older definition of Picardy survives in the name of the Picard language, which applies not only to the dialects of Picardy proper, but also to the Romance dialects spoken in the Nord-Pas de Calais région, north of Picardy proper, and parts of the Belgian province of Hainaut.

(Source: Wikipedia)


 

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The village crossing

DSCF0186

Shot made near Bergicourt, a small village in the Somme, Picardy, France.


Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Picardy region of France.

The north central area of the Somme was the site of a series of battles during World War I. Particularly significant was the 1916 Battle of the Somme. As a result of this and other battles fought in the area the department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating the many soldiers from various countries who died on its battlefields. The famed Battle of Cressy also took place in this department.

Picardy is one of the 27 regions of France. It is located in the northern part of France.


History

The historical province of Picardy stretched from north of Noyon to Calais, via the whole of the Somme department and the north of the Aisne department. The province of Artois (Arras area) separated Picardy from French Flanders.

Middle Ages

From the 5th century the area was part of the Frankish Empire, and in the feudal period it encompassed the six countships of Boulogne, Montreuil, Ponthieu, Amiénois, Vermandois, and Laonnois.[2] According to the 843 Treaty of Verdun the region became part of West Francia, the later Kingdom of France.

The name “Picardy” (which may have referred to a Frankish tribe of picards or pike-bearers) was not used until the 12th or 13th century. During this time, the name applied to all lands where the Picard language was spoken, which included all the territories from Paris to the Netherlands.[3] In the Latin Quarter of Paris, people identified a “Picard Nation” (Nation Picarde) of students at Sorbonne University, most of whom actually came from Flanders.[4] During the Hundred Years’ War, Picardy was the centre of the Jacquerie peasant revolt in 1358.

From 1419 onwards, the Picardy counties (Boulogne, Ponthieu, Amiens, Vermandois) were gradually acquired by the Burgundian duke Philip the Good, confirmed by King Charles VII of France at the 1435 Congress of Arras. They were again seized by King Louis XI of France after the Burgundian Wars and the death of Duke Charles the Bold in 1477.

Modern era

In the 16th century, the government (military region) of Picardy was created. This became a new administrative region of France, separate from what was historically defined as Picardy. The new Picardy included the Somme département, the northern half of the Aisne département, and a small fringe in the north of the Oise département.

In the 17th century, an infectious disease similar to English sweat originated from the region and spread across France. It was called Suette des picards or Picardy sweat.[5]

Sugar beet was introduced by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, in order to counter the United Kingdom, which had seized the sugar islands possessed by France in the Caribbean. The sugar industry has continued to play a prominent role in the economy of the region.[6]

One of the most significant historical events to occur in Picardy was the series of battles fought along the Somme during World War I. From September 1914 to August 1918, four major battles, including the Battle of the Somme, were fought by British, French, and German forces in the fields of Northern Picardy.[7]

Picardy today

This painting by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes recalls the “Golden Age” in the history of the province of Picardy.[8] The Walters Art Museum.

In 2009, the Regional Committee for local government reform proposed to reduce the number of French regions and cancel additions of new regions in the near future. Picardy would have disappeared, and each department would have joined a nearby region. The Oise would have been incorporated in the Île-de-France, the Somme would have been incorporated in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Aisne would have been incorporated in the Champagne-Ardenne. The vast majority of Picards were opposed to this proposal, and it was scrapped in 2010 (see newspaper: “Courrier Picard”).

Today, the modern region of Picardy no longer includes the coastline from Berck to Calais, via Boulogne (Boulonais), that is now in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, but does incorporate the pays of Beauvaisis, Valois, Noyonnais, Laonnois, Soissonnais, Omois, among other departments of France. The older definition of Picardy survives in the name of the Picard language, which applies not only to the dialects of Picardy proper, but also to the Romance dialects spoken in the Nord-Pas de Calais région, north of Picardy proper, and parts of the Belgian province of Hainaut.

(Source: Wikipedia)


 

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The cows are out

DSCF0321

Shot made near Bergicourt, a small village in the Somme, Picardy, France.


Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Picardy region of France.

The north central area of the Somme was the site of a series of battles during World War I. Particularly significant was the 1916 Battle of the Somme. As a result of this and other battles fought in the area the department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating the many soldiers from various countries who died on its battlefields. The famed Battle of Cressy also took place in this department.

Picardy is one of the 27 regions of France. It is located in the northern part of France.


History

The historical province of Picardy stretched from north of Noyon to Calais, via the whole of the Somme department and the north of the Aisne department. The province of Artois (Arras area) separated Picardy from French Flanders.

Middle Ages

From the 5th century the area was part of the Frankish Empire, and in the feudal period it encompassed the six countships of Boulogne, Montreuil, Ponthieu, Amiénois, Vermandois, and Laonnois.[2] According to the 843 Treaty of Verdun the region became part of West Francia, the later Kingdom of France.

The name “Picardy” (which may have referred to a Frankish tribe of picards or pike-bearers) was not used until the 12th or 13th century. During this time, the name applied to all lands where the Picard language was spoken, which included all the territories from Paris to the Netherlands.[3] In the Latin Quarter of Paris, people identified a “Picard Nation” (Nation Picarde) of students at Sorbonne University, most of whom actually came from Flanders.[4] During the Hundred Years’ War, Picardy was the centre of the Jacquerie peasant revolt in 1358.

From 1419 onwards, the Picardy counties (Boulogne, Ponthieu, Amiens, Vermandois) were gradually acquired by the Burgundian duke Philip the Good, confirmed by King Charles VII of France at the 1435 Congress of Arras. They were again seized by King Louis XI of France after the Burgundian Wars and the death of Duke Charles the Bold in 1477.

Modern era

In the 16th century, the government (military region) of Picardy was created. This became a new administrative region of France, separate from what was historically defined as Picardy. The new Picardy included the Somme département, the northern half of the Aisne département, and a small fringe in the north of the Oise département.

In the 17th century, an infectious disease similar to English sweat originated from the region and spread across France. It was called Suette des picards or Picardy sweat.[5]

Sugar beet was introduced by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, in order to counter the United Kingdom, which had seized the sugar islands possessed by France in the Caribbean. The sugar industry has continued to play a prominent role in the economy of the region.[6]

One of the most significant historical events to occur in Picardy was the series of battles fought along the Somme during World War I. From September 1914 to August 1918, four major battles, including the Battle of the Somme, were fought by British, French, and German forces in the fields of Northern Picardy.[7]

Picardy today

This painting by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes recalls the “Golden Age” in the history of the province of Picardy.[8] The Walters Art Museum.

In 2009, the Regional Committee for local government reform proposed to reduce the number of French regions and cancel additions of new regions in the near future. Picardy would have disappeared, and each department would have joined a nearby region. The Oise would have been incorporated in the Île-de-France, the Somme would have been incorporated in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Aisne would have been incorporated in the Champagne-Ardenne. The vast majority of Picards were opposed to this proposal, and it was scrapped in 2010 (see newspaper: “Courrier Picard”).

Today, the modern region of Picardy no longer includes the coastline from Berck to Calais, via Boulogne (Boulonais), that is now in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, but does incorporate the pays of Beauvaisis, Valois, Noyonnais, Laonnois, Soissonnais, Omois, among other departments of France. The older definition of Picardy survives in the name of the Picard language, which applies not only to the dialects of Picardy proper, but also to the Romance dialects spoken in the Nord-Pas de Calais région, north of Picardy proper, and parts of the Belgian province of Hainaut.

(Source: Wikipedia)


 

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The bridge

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Shot made near Bergicourt, a small village in the Somme, Picardy, France.


Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Picardy region of France.

The north central area of the Somme was the site of a series of battles during World War I. Particularly significant was the 1916 Battle of the Somme. As a result of this and other battles fought in the area the department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating the many soldiers from various countries who died on its battlefields. The famed Battle of Cressy also took place in this department.

Picardy is one of the 27 regions of France. It is located in the northern part of France.


History

The historical province of Picardy stretched from north of Noyon to Calais, via the whole of the Somme department and the north of the Aisne department. The province of Artois (Arras area) separated Picardy from French Flanders.

Middle Ages

From the 5th century the area was part of the Frankish Empire, and in the feudal period it encompassed the six countships of Boulogne, Montreuil, Ponthieu, Amiénois, Vermandois, and Laonnois.[2] According to the 843 Treaty of Verdun the region became part of West Francia, the later Kingdom of France.

The name “Picardy” (which may have referred to a Frankish tribe of picards or pike-bearers) was not used until the 12th or 13th century. During this time, the name applied to all lands where the Picard language was spoken, which included all the territories from Paris to the Netherlands.[3] In the Latin Quarter of Paris, people identified a “Picard Nation” (Nation Picarde) of students at Sorbonne University, most of whom actually came from Flanders.[4] During the Hundred Years’ War, Picardy was the centre of the Jacquerie peasant revolt in 1358.

From 1419 onwards, the Picardy counties (Boulogne, Ponthieu, Amiens, Vermandois) were gradually acquired by the Burgundian duke Philip the Good, confirmed by King Charles VII of France at the 1435 Congress of Arras. They were again seized by King Louis XI of France after the Burgundian Wars and the death of Duke Charles the Bold in 1477.

Modern era

In the 16th century, the government (military region) of Picardy was created. This became a new administrative region of France, separate from what was historically defined as Picardy. The new Picardy included the Somme département, the northern half of the Aisne département, and a small fringe in the north of the Oise département.

In the 17th century, an infectious disease similar to English sweat originated from the region and spread across France. It was called Suette des picards or Picardy sweat.[5]

Sugar beet was introduced by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, in order to counter the United Kingdom, which had seized the sugar islands possessed by France in the Caribbean. The sugar industry has continued to play a prominent role in the economy of the region.[6]

One of the most significant historical events to occur in Picardy was the series of battles fought along the Somme during World War I. From September 1914 to August 1918, four major battles, including the Battle of the Somme, were fought by British, French, and German forces in the fields of Northern Picardy.[7]

Picardy today

This painting by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes recalls the “Golden Age” in the history of the province of Picardy.[8] The Walters Art Museum.

In 2009, the Regional Committee for local government reform proposed to reduce the number of French regions and cancel additions of new regions in the near future. Picardy would have disappeared, and each department would have joined a nearby region. The Oise would have been incorporated in the Île-de-France, the Somme would have been incorporated in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Aisne would have been incorporated in the Champagne-Ardenne. The vast majority of Picards were opposed to this proposal, and it was scrapped in 2010 (see newspaper: “Courrier Picard”).

Today, the modern region of Picardy no longer includes the coastline from Berck to Calais, via Boulogne (Boulonais), that is now in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, but does incorporate the pays of Beauvaisis, Valois, Noyonnais, Laonnois, Soissonnais, Omois, among other departments of France. The older definition of Picardy survives in the name of the Picard language, which applies not only to the dialects of Picardy proper, but also to the Romance dialects spoken in the Nord-Pas de Calais région, north of Picardy proper, and parts of the Belgian province of Hainaut.

(Source: Wikipedia)


 

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The rooftops of Paris – Eiffel Tower

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The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011.[2] The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.

The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Because of the addition of the aerial atop the Eiffel Tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres (17 ft). Not including broadcast aerials, it is the second-tallest structure in France, after the Millau Viaduct.

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second. The third level observatory’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground,[2] the highest accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift (elevator) to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. Although there are stairs to the third and highest level, these are usually closed to the public and it is generally only accessible by lift.

The design of the Eiffel Tower was originated by Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers who worked for the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel, after discussion about a suitable centrepiece for the proposed 1889 Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair which would celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. In May 1884 Koechlin, working at home, made an outline drawing of their scheme, described by him as “a great pylon, consisting of four lattice girders standing apart at the base and coming together at the top, joined together by metal trusses at regular intervals”.[3] Initially Eiffel himself showed little enthusiasm, but he did sanction further study of the project, and the two engineers then asked Stephen Sauvestre, the head of company’s architectural department, to contribute to the design. Sauvestre added decorative arches to the base, a glass pavilion to the first level, and other embellishments. This enhanced version gained Eiffel’s support: he bought the rights to the patent on the design which Koechlin, Nougier, and Sauvestre had taken out, and the design was exhibited at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts in the autumn of 1884 under the company name. On 30 March 1885 Eiffel presented a paper on the project to the Société des Ingiénieurs Civils; after discussing the technical problems and emphasising the practical uses of the tower, he finished his talk by saying that the tower would symbolise

“not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude.”

Little happened until the beginning of 1886, when Jules Grévy was re-elected as President and Édouard Lockroy was appointed as Minister for Trade. A budget for the Exposition was passed and on 1 May Lockroy announced an alteration to the terms of the open competition which was being held for a centerpiece for the exposition, which effectively made the choice of Eiffel’s design a foregone conclusion: all entries had to include a study for a 300 m (980 ft) four-sided metal tower on the Champ de Mars.[4] On 12 May a commission was set up to examine Eiffel’s scheme and its rivals and on 12 June it presented its decision, which was that all the proposals except Eiffel’s were either impractical or insufficiently worked out. After some debate about the exact site for the tower, a contract was finally signed on 8 January 1887. This was signed by Eiffel acting in his own capacity rather than as the representative of his company, and granted him 1.5 million francs toward the construction costs: less than a quarter of the estimated 6.5 million francs. Eiffel was to receive all income from the commercial exploitation of the tower during the exhibition and for the following twenty years. Eiffel later established a separate company to manage the tower, putting up half the necessary capital himself.[5]

A second Statue of Liberty in Paris is near the Grenelle Bridge on the Île aux Cygnes, a man-made island in the Seine , 11.50 metres (37 feet 9 inches) high. Inaugurated on July 4, 1889, it looks southwest, downriver along the Seine. Its tablet bears two dates: “IV JUILLET 1776″ (July 4, 1776: the United States Declaration of Independence) like the New York statue, and “XIV JUILLET 1789″ (July 14, 1789: the storming of the Bastille). This statue is shown in the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets as one of the historic locations.

(Source: Wikipedia)

And then, there was the light

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The Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris, France. Measuring 8.64 hectares (21.3 acres) in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city’s eighth arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.

History

The Place was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755 as a moat-skirted octagon between the Champs-Élysées to the west and the Tuileries Garden to the east. Decorated with statues and fountains, the area was named Place Louis XV to honor the king at that time. The square showcased an equestrian statue of the king, which had been commissioned in 1748 by the city of Paris, sculpted mostly by Edmé Bouchardon, and completed by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle after the death of Bouchardon.

At the north end, two magnificent identical stone buildings were constructed. Separated by the rue Royale, these structures remain among the best examples of Louis Quinze style architecture. Initially, the eastern building served as the French Naval Ministry. Shortly after its construction, the western building became the opulent home of the Duc d’Aumont. It was later purchased by the Comte de Crillon, whose family resided there until 1907. The famous luxury Hôtel de Crillon, which currently occupies the building, took its name from its previous owners.

French Revolution

During the French Revolution the statue of Louis XV of France was torn down and the area renamed “Place de la Révolution”. The new revolutionary government erected the guillotine in the square, and it was here that King Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793.

Other important figures guillotined on the site, often in front of cheering crowds, were Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Élisabeth of France, Charlotte Corday, Madame du Barry, Georges Danton, Camille Desmoulins, Antoine Lavoisier, Maximilien Robespierre, Louis de Saint-Just and Olympe de Gouges.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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