It’s official: Clermont-Ferrand has just launched its year-long celebration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Blaise Pascal, “le génie Clermontois.” The party started earlier this month with a performance of music from Pascal’s lifetime in the lovely church of Notre Dame du Port. Over the next 12 months, the celebration continues with: Exhibits at the Henri-Lecoq museum of science and natural history and the Roger-Quilliot museum of art An online collection of documents at the Overnia (Clermont’s digital library of historical materials) about the great man’s life, as well as reproductions of his most famous books and essays A year-long series of concerts, films, lectures and roundtables featuring distinguished artists and scholars celebrating Pascal’s life and the lasting […]
Get ready to celebrate the 400th birthday of Blaise Pascal – towering genius from the Deep Heart of France
We watched Season 2 of Victoria on Amazon last week. One of the episodes was especially interesting to me: in it, Queen Victoria’s husband (Prince Albert) gets tremendously excited from meeting Charles Babbage, inventor of a great mechanical “difference engine” designed to perform complex calculations.
The debate after Notre Dame – Should “traditional” buildings be updated?
The debate started almost the same day the Notre Dame fire in Paris was brought under control: Should this great cathedral be rebuilt “as it has always been”? Or should the fallen spire and fire-ravaged roof be “updated” to integrate more modern elements? Ideas for the restoration have already started to proliferate — here’s an example of one firm’s vision, and you can see several more by following this link. Predictably, traditionalists push back hard on the idea of putting a greenhouse under a glass roof or creating a new crystal spire for Notre Dame de Paris. But predictably, too, they ignore some key points in the history of the ancient building: It has not, […]
UPDATE: Blaise Pascal was a towering genius from the Deep Heart of France
Even after more than 40 trips to Paris over the last three decades, Karen and I always find something new and wonderful to see there. On our most recent visit, the winner in this category is the restoration work going on at the abbey church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the Left Bank. It’s only half finished at this point, but the work already done has painted the church in rich colors and gold leaf showing how gloriously beautiful it was centuries ago. But we also found two other “new” sites (new to us, that is), both with a connection to one of my personal heroes from the deep heart of France – Blaise Pascal. The incredible thing about […]
How the deep heart of France came to Paris
As the debate over immigration rages across the front pages of newspapers and in the nightly TV talk shows across France, it’s easy to forget that modern France – our concept of Paris and the country it represents – is itself less than 250 years old. It’s easy to forget, too, that what we think of as “France” today was built in large part by massive waves of internal migration. And one of the largest of all these “immigrant” populations…came to Paris from the Auvergne, in the Deep Heart of France!
Eiffel – 5 Years BEFORE That Famous Tower
Update: La Montagne has just published a new story with a remarkable video highlighting this early work by Gustav Eiffel in the deep heart of France… Click here to see the video. By the late 1800s, Gustave Eiffel was a busy and well-known engineer, with projects not just in France but across Europe and as far away as Vietnam, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and Turkey. His company managed the construction of an astonishing variety of train stations, grand galleries, and bridges all over the world. And while we all know something about a certain Tower in Paris, one of his most famous projects brought him to the deep heart of France five years before the Tower opened. Gustav Eiffel in 1888 […]