Trivia

Twenty-One
When Louis XVI of France was a child, an astrologer warned him to be always on his guard on the twenty-first day of every month. This advice terrified the young child, and thereafter he refused to undertake any important business on that day. In spite of his precautions regarding business, he was involved in larger events on that date. It was on June 21, 1791, that Louis and his queen were arrested at Varennes as they tried to escape the revolution. On September 21 of the following year, France abolished the institution of royalty and proclaimed itself a republic. And on January 21, 1793, Louis XVI was executed. (Mysteries)

Who Said What
Rene Descartes (1596-1650) "Cogito, ergo sum." (Latin for "I think, therefore I am.")
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) "Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains."
Voltaire (1694-1778) "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." Voltaire (1694-1778) "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." (Book of Facts)

Fashion--the Pursuit of Beauty
Seventeen thousand powder rooms became fashionable in Europe and America because men and women powdered their hair, wigs, and faces. In bed, women put oiled cloths on their foreheads and wore gloves to prevent wrinkles. (Book of Facts)

Orangery
Over one thousand orange trees were planted in the orangery in the gardens because of Louis XIV's love of oranges.

Animals
Camels, leopards, lions, and two large elephants were housed in the hexagonal compound on the grounds of the gardens.

Flowers
Two million pots of flowers were brought out of the greenhouses in winter and kept in the gardens for short periods of time to appear as if flowers grew outside year round.

Orangery Over one thousand orange trees were planted in the orangery in the gardens because of Louis XIV's love of oranges.

Orange Trees
Eight of Louis XIV's orange trees still live in the gardens of France after three hundred years.

Architecture down the Ages
Baroque (c.1600-c.1780) buildings designed with flowing curves and extravagantly decorated with plaster work, sculptures, gilt, paint, and marble are elements of a style known as rococo. Rococo is similar to baroque but generally lighter and less formal; rococo decoration often includes a shell motif. Several examples of rococo architecture are Versailles, France (1661-1756); St. Paul's Cathedral, London (1675-1710); and Vierzehnheiligen Church, Bavaria, Germany (1744-1772).

Practical Joker
King Louis XIV was a practical joker who loved to turn on faucets that squirted water on visitors who toured the central building in which there was a cavernous grotto; pipes were concealed in the walls and the floor.

Clocking Out
An ornate clock belonging to King Louis XIV of France stopped running at the precise moment of his death, 7:45 A.M. on September 1, 1715, and it has never run since. (Ripley's Giant Book of Believe It or Not!)

Slow Coach to Death
Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI might have avoided the guillotine during the French Revolution if the queen had not changed the original escape plan. In 1791, she insisted that the royal family travel together instead of allowing the king to leave Paris separately in a fast coach. A larger and therefore slower coach had to be used; thus the family missed their rendezvous with an armed escort of loyalists. The darkness and the difficulty of finding fresh horses in Varennes enabled a young man named Drouet to catch up with the royal family. Drouet had their escape blocked by pro-Revolution troops, and the royal family was sent back to Paris under guard. In January 1793, Louis XVI was guillotined; Marie Antoinette's execution followed nine months later. (Book of Facts).

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© Copyright 1998, Mississippi University for Women (Teachers' Guide text)
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