Washington and Lafayette at Mt. Vernon
In honor of the anniversary of Bastille Day-
The Marquis de Lafayette, 19, arrived in the new world to join America’s revolutionary cause in 1777. Right off the bat, he made a powerful friend: George Washington instantly took a liking to the Frenchman and within a month, Lafayette had effectively become the general’s adopted son. Their affection was mutual; when the younger man had a son of his own in 1779, he named him Georges Washington de Lafayette.
The day after the storming of the Bastille, the Marquis de Lafayette became the commander of the Paris National Guard. In the aftermath of the Bastille siege, he was given the key to the building. As a thank-you—and to symbolize the new revolution—Lafayette sent it to Washington’s Mount Vernon home, where the relic still resides today.
-Diary entry of Louis XVI on Bastille Day
Source credits: Mark Mancini, Mental Floss, Google Images
Rue Montorgueil in Paris
“An enormous fortress of prejudices, privileges, superstitions, lies, exactions, abuses, violences, iniquities, and darkness still stands erect in this world, with its towers of hatred. It must be cast down. This monstrous mass must be made to crumble. To conquer at Austerlitz is grand; to take the Bastille is immense.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
on bastille day, all these years later, let history remind us that change is always possible.
art credit: Claude Monet, The Rue Montorgueil in Paris 1878
the palais idéal in hauterives, france is a unique structure. it is made entirely out of stones that postman, ferdinand cheval collected on his mail route.
one night, cheval dreamed about building a palace. he thought nothing of this dream for years, until one day in the spring of 1879, when his foot caught on an unusual-looking rock during his postal route. the rock was so fascinating to cheval that he took it home to admire it. it also gave him an idea.
for the next 33 years, cheval continued picking up more stones during his postal route, first putting them in his pockets, then graduating to a basket, and finally using a wheelbarrow. each one of the stones was hand-selected by cheval to play a part in the construction of his dream palace.
for more than three decades, cheval spent his nights building his home by the light of an oil lamp, and his days delivering the mail. he completed work on the palace in 1912.
today, the palace is a protected landmark and is open to visitors. though cheval wished to be buried in his palace when he died, this was illegal at the time, so he spent an additional eight years building a mausoleum for himself in the town cemetery. he finished just in time, too; cheval passed away on august 19, 1924, approximately one year after completing the mausoleum, which remains his final resting place.
whenever we witness art in a building,
we are aware of an energy contained by it.
– arthur erickson
credits: jenny morrill, mental floss uk