France

room in which there are rows of machinery

Textile technology: Joseph-Marie Jacquard and the loom that changed the world

Between 1801 and 1806, French weaver Joseph-Marie Jacquard developed a machine that was then seen as one of the most important technological advancements in history: the Jacquard Loom.

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neon signs on a building in a snowy city

Neon nights: how advertising signs lit up the city

Neon lighting’s distinctive glow has been brightening cities across Europe and the world all through the 20th century. Neon signs and lighting animate city centres, evoking both a modern, urban world, both futuristic and nostalgic.

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women sitting at long tables working with flowers, large piles of flowers are in the foreground

The fragrance factory: Roure-Bertrand Fils and the perfume industry in Grasse

When we spray on perfume, how often do we think about how the fragrance was made? The process to extract fragrances and oils from flowers is a perfect blend of nature, science and industry, as illustrated beautifully by this short book about Roure-Bertrand Fils factory in Grasse, France.

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A story of migration: Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours White

Each of the films of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours trilogy explores a topic from the French Revolution motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

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group of people performing music on musical instruments

Adrian Willaert and the foundation of the Venetian School

Composer Adrian Willaert was born around 1490 in the Low Countries, and moved at a young age to Paris to study law at the Sorbonne. There, having met composer Jean Mouton, he decided to devote his life to music.

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hand written manuscript

Adriatic relationships: Carlo Goldoni’s La Dalmatina

The 18th century play La Dalmatina by Carlo Goldoni – sometimes referred to as ‘the Italian Molière’ – is a striking illustration of the relationship between Venice, Istria and Dalmatia.

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man in corner of photograph sitting in an empty cinema

Krzysztof Kieślowski: migratory filmmaker

‘It is the road that’s really interesting,’ said Krzysztof Kieślowski at his last public event before his death. ‘I think that’s just the way we are. We know where the goal is and reaching it is not really as interesting as the path. That’s very curious. I think it’s the same with films, just like […]

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Josephine Baker – dancer, spy and freedom fighter 

Born into poverty, Josephine Baker reached heights beyond what could have been possible for an African-American woman between the 20s and 60s. She was a polarising force throughout her life as a performer and activist. Seen as a threat to the United States for speaking out against race discrimination, she was loved in France – […]

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The world was her stage: the extraordinary life and times of Unė Baye

From Hollywood glamour to the Siberian gulag, the life of Lithuanian actor Unė Baye was as dramatic in life as it was on the stage Uršulė Babickaitė-Graičiūnienė was born in the Lithuanian village of Laukminiškiai. She began acting and singing whilst in elementary school. In 1913, she moved to Russia, where she studied music, drama […]

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Elsa Schiaparelli: Declaring Feminine Willpower through Fashion

Elsa Schiaparelli is one of the most renowned personalities in fashion history. Not only because she was one of the most striking designers of 1930s Paris, but also because she was a woman who always fought for her plans to become reality, and for her voice to be heard directly through her stunning and unforgettable […]

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Love across borders: Serbian teachers on the France Riviera

We have recently begun collecting personal stories from people all across Europe relating to migration, following on from our successful Europeana 1914-1918 project. This new, short blog series, Love across borders, is inspired by collections discovered during this project, with stories of romance and love at the time of World War 1. Read on to […]

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many people crowded together on a ship deck

Pictures in Focus: Migrants, then and now

Today, Manuele Buono, of AEDEKA srl in Italy, talks about a photograph taken on board a ship arriving at Ellis Island in the early 20th century. I love this photo. It’s a striking reminder of the fact that once millions of Europeans just like me (yet not only Italians, but also Hungarians, Poles, Germans, Slavs, […]

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César Franck: the “Pater Seraphicus” of modern French music

On this International Migrants’ Day, Sofie Taes, musicologist & co-curator of the Europeana Photography Collection for PHOTOCONSORTIUM/KU Leuven, zooms in on the life and work of a brave Belgian who altered the course of French music history.   In the twilight of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), in which it led significant losses against Germany, France explored […]

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#5WomenArtists: celebrating female artists from across Europe

Ask someone to name five artists and responses are likely to include famous European names such as Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci — all male artists. Ask them to name five women artists, and the question poses more of a challenge. Last year, in honour of Women’s History Month, the National Museum of Women […]

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Racing Through France

When Sylvester Howard Roper attached a small steam engine to an cranky iron-frame bicycle near Boston in 1867, one question burned in his mind; How fast will it go? Guillame Perreaux probably asked himself the same thing in Paris that same year, when he also attached a steamer to one of Pierre Michaux’s pedal-velocipedes. However, […]

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Europeana 1914-1918 in France

Thanks to the National Library of France for this blog. Family History Roadshows for Europeana 1914-1918 took place in France from 9-16 November 2013. Thanks to the cooperation between the French National Library (BnF), Archives de France and their network, Europeana and Mission du Centenaire, more than 100 sites all over France participated. Thousands of […]

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