1. An Abandoned Chateau Known as “Little Versailles”
In a village in the Vosges department of France is a chateau built in the nineteenth century by Charles Perron for the widow of a wealthy French industrialist, Elisabeth Géhin. Called the “Versailles vosgien”, the chateau was built in the Louis XV style, using only the finest materials including Carrara marble, fresco, and grand-scale tapestries. Unfortunately the chateau has been abandoned since 1972, though there is now a movement to preserve it.
Found on Wikipedia.
2. A 17th Century French noblewoman who rejected gender norms and became a sword-fighting opera singer
Julie d’Aubigny was an accomplished swordswoman who often dressed as a man. At seventeen, she fell in love with her fencing master and they ran away together, making a living giving fencing exhibitions and singing in taverns and at local fairs. She left her master for a young woman who was quickly sent away by her family to a convent in Provence upon discovery of the relationship. Julie followed her and staged her girlfriend’s death so they could run away together.
When an elderly nun died, the couple stole the body and placed it in the girl’s cell. Then they set fire to the convent to cover their tracks and escaped!
Julie’s dream, however, was to become an opera star. As such, she auditioned for the Paris Opéra, was pardoned for her crimes by the King, and by age 17 became a member of one of the world’s greatest musical companies. She appeared in all of the Opéra’s major productions from 1690 to 1694, and achieved lasting musical fame under her stage name “La Maupin.”
The title character of Madeleine de Maupin, in the famous French novel Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835) is based on her, although little is known for certain about her flamboyant and life and her tumultuous career.
Found on Interlude.
3. The last ivory carver in Paris
Pierre Heckmann, 93, is probably the last master of his craft. His shop just around the corner from St. Sulpice. Inside is a cabinet of curiosities with a weighty past.
Monsieur Heckmann studied sculpture at the prestigious Académie des Beaux-Arts, and took lessons from his father at the family’s ivory shop after his university classes. At 18, he properly earned the ivoirier title with his carving of his first ivory sculpture of Venus.
French laws regarding ivory have drastically changed Monsieur Heckmann’s career in recent decades. For most of his life, NYT reports, Heckmann focused on creating sculptures, but a French law about five years ago prohibited it. Now his work is restricted to repairs of existing ivory pieces.
Found on the New York Times
4. These ring designs
From a book, The ring: design past and present, 2002, found on Instagram
5. Women’s 20th Century Style in Madagascar
Found on Pinterest.
6. Spend a Night in Ghandi’s House in Johannesburg
Stay in the home where Ghandi lived between 1893 to 1914. There’s even a museum inside that creates “a peaceful and meditative atmosphere channelling Gandhi’s life within these walls inhabits the property”.
More information on the Saryagraha house’s website.
7. Utrecht: A City-break alternative to Amsterdam
The fourth-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands, known for its medieval center, tree-lined canals and a venerable university.Found on Utrecht Alive.
8. University of Illinois frat boys in their apartment in 1910
Found on Reddit.
9. A Man Claimed He Could Photograph Ghosts, And No One Today Can Prove He Couldn’t
10. An 8-year-old slid his handwritten book onto a library shelf. It now has a years-long waitlist.
Branch manager Alex Hartman and a few co-workers had discovered and read Dillon’s book — which describes his adventures putting an exploding star on his Christmas tree and being catapulted back to the first Thanksgiving and the North Pole. They found it very entertaining.
The staff librarians who read Dillon’s book agreed that as informal and unconventional as it was, the book met the selection criteria for the collection in that it was a high-quality story that was fun to read. So, Hartman asked for permission to tack a bar code onto the book and formally add it to the library’s collection… the book is now part of the graphic-novels section for kids, teens and adults. The library even gave Dillon its first Whoodini Award for Best Young Novelist, a category the library created for him, named after the library’s owl mascot.
The full feel-good story found here on the Washington Post.
11. There’s a 193-Acre Zoo in the Catskills For Sale
The Catskill Game Farm – the first privately owned zoo in the United States. When the place opened in 1933, it only held deer, donkeys, and sheep — eventually housing over 150 species, including camels, mountain lions, hippos, kangaroos, llamas, alligators, and prehistoric horses.
After the Game Farm closed in 2006, the grounds were abandoned until a couple bought and transformed the place into an inn and campground in 2012, renovating the old giraffe house into the six-bedroom Long Neck Inn, complete with an open kitchen (with a massive stainless-steel utility sink), a game room (where a row of barn stalls used to be), and common area covered in original zoo way-finding signage.
Now, the Game Farm is listed for $3.6 million. Found on Curbed.