….. wait a minute.

My eyes just caught something…


There was literally a castle called Valvert in Paris in the middle ages.


How to write a fic set in France




I’ve been reading a lot of Les Mis fics set in Paris lately, and I have noticed that there are certain things about France that other people just don’t seem to know, so I am here to educate you so that you can make wonderful works where the barricade boys are authentically French. This is going to be super long, and I don’t want to force you all to read it, so for those interested my rant about French culture is under the cut.

Keep reading

Really good post, thanks a lot! There’s stuff that I wanted to say though:

– coffee to go & names on cups do exist, but only in Starbucks bc well, it’s American (but tbh I don’t really see Enjolras going there bc too capitalist for him haha). But yeah in any other cafe you would have to sit down with an actual cup

– drive-through doesn’t really exist (except in some McDonalds I think), but takeout does, in ‘foreign food’ restaurants like chinese, japanese, indian or pizza places

– French people do seem rude to foreigners… that’s because of the way we approach interactions in the public sphere I guess. I noticed that in the US, people would randomly start talking to strangers in the bus or other public places “like hey how are you/what are you doing here”; French people would never do that. That just seem weird and off to us and we’re like “why is this guy even talking to me? i don’t even know him”. You can ask for directions or the time though, we don’t bite.

– In stores, taxes are already included in prices. I know, unbelievable.

Nice! Just want to clarify or add some points:

– if we don’t give tips, it’s because the service is included in the final price, but you can let 1, 2 or 3 (at the very max) euros if the waiter was very nice. Same for the hairdresser (I don’t know why).

– saying “mon cher” is weird indeed (unless you’re a sarcastic little shit), but we say “chéri(e)” (really common, especially for old couple) or “mon/ma chéri(e)” for loved ones.

– even if you’re a socialist, you will criticize the government, frenchs criticize everything because there is nothing worse than something you can’t criticize, that’s how you start totalitarism

– we mostly study french books in school, like for example if you want them to study theatre, make them read Molière instead of Shakespeare, it doesn’t mean we don’t read him too, it’s just the way they teach french (Molière, Voltaire, Flaubert, Zola, Rimbaud & Verlaine, etc etc)

– don’t know how it is in America, but back when I was in school (the law changed since then here) we could study latin and ancient greek quite easily

– It’s common for the “Collège” and “Lycée” to propose school trips (that can last a say or 2 weeks) to another part of France or another country, with my schools I went to England, Italy and Greece (and had I don’t remember how much trips into France)

– regions aren’t the same in France, our accents, our culture, the way we greet people, our food etc etc…

– we start school at 3 years old. The “maternelle” is for kids from 3-6, then you go to “L’école primaire” (the primatory school), from 6 to 11, then  to “Le Collège” (secondary school) from 11 to 15 and then to “Le lycée” (High school) for 3 more years (from 15 to 18) and after that you can go if you want to the University.

– Before the “maternelle”, you can be placed into a “crèche” (nursery), have a nurse (really common, they take some kids at the same time) or stay at home with your parents. I don’t remember but I think it’s not an obligation to start school at 3, but everyone does it nonetheless.

– It’s not uncommon to finish your day at 17h or 17h30 when you’re in high school, and when you’re home it can be past 18h/18h30 or even later

– extrascholar activities are not a thing; you can do what you want with your time outside the school (if you have any) but it will not serve any purpose to enter anything

– school uniforms are not a thing

– nearly everyone had a “manga phase” during their teen years, mangas are everywhere

– but we mostly have BD

– now we have BDs that look like mangas

– it’s common for an high school to be on strike when the teachers are (so even if your teacher doesn’t do it, you may not be able to enter the school)

– we love japan so much people started talking about a “japanisation” of the country some years ago

– our big exam at the end of high school, le “BAC” is important, even though not as much as it was

– depending on the regions, you can “swear” a lot… but it can also not be considering swearing… I live in the South of France and everyone says “Putain” a lot (it’s like “Fuck” I guess here) and even if we don’t say it in the news or when you’re in front of your boss (I think I did it actually and he did it too), it doesn’t really matter here

– halloween is not a thing, not with the kids on the street, people may try to do it, but we may see like 1 or 2 kids on your door this day, it’s mostly to party in costumes nowadays

– no pumpkin-carving

– sometimes, but it’s rarer each year, during the summer we have block parties… It’s just a big reunion of the people living in the streets and everyone is cooking something… but like I said, it’s something quite rare now

– majority at 18, after that, there is no limit anymore for anything like you have in america

– administration is hell in France, everyone knows and hates it

– christmas is technically a thing, but less and less with years too, we still have christmas markets (during december) and some street decorations

– we don’t sing in the street… never

– we don’t hug strangers like they do in Brazil ^^ We’re maybe latins, but we’re still a little bit uptight for that, we’re not going to get angry for that, just a bit odd, that’s all. But we have free hugs too here! (and we call them “free hugs” because the translation is too weird)

– don’t forget the point made by @miomoii too (here: [X])


This forgotten castle (Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers) was abandoned after a fire In 1932. Seeing it up close is breathtaking. These days it seems like castles only exist in storybooks and Disney movies. What happened to the foreboding dwellings of our wealthiest ancestors? The truth of the matter is, while there are still many castles in Europe, many have fallen into disrepair and ruin over time. However, a group of preservationists in France are trying to save a 13th century castle that is slowly being reclaimed by nature. The story behind the abandoned property is just as fascinating as what’s left standing today. See an amazing video here.

My Very Les Mis Trip To Paris


A masterpost type of thing


Saturday (18th Oct. 2014): 

Part one

  • The barricade on Rue de la Chanv(er)rerie

Part Two

  • The actual historical barricade on Rue Saint-Merri
  • Rue de l’Homme Armé nro 7 (sort of)

Part Three

  • Rue de la Verrerie nro 16
  • Apollo’s Underwear
  • La Force prison

Part Four

  • La musée Carnavalet
  • An omelette called Marius
  • Victor Hugo’s home museum
  • Place de la Bastille

Sunday (19th Oct. 2014):

Part One 

  • The spot of Javert’s suicide

Part Two

  • Gorbeau House
  • Field of the Lark

Part Three

  • The Sewer Museum
  • Rue Plumet
  • (also Montparnasse cemetery and lots of random stuff)

Part Four

  • Café Musain
  • The Luxembourg Gardens

The stranger’s guide to Paris


Sharing this with everyone else in the Les Miserables community who might find such resources useful, and who has not yet encountered this book. 😉 I mean, hey, this book was published in 1837. It has descriptions of places, prices of things, routes, statistics, faculties, subjects and lecturers at the schools and academies…

Go nuts, you guys.

The stranger’s guide to Paris


This forgotten castle (Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers) was abandoned after a fire In 1932. Seeing it up close is breathtaking. These days it seems like castles only exist in storybooks and Disney movies. What happened to the foreboding dwellings of our wealthiest ancestors? The truth of the matter is, while there are still many castles in Europe, many have fallen into disrepair and ruin over time. However, a group of preservationists in France are trying to save a 13th century castle that is slowly being reclaimed by nature. The story behind the abandoned property is just as fascinating as what’s left standing today. See an amazing video here.

Reading the Graham Robb Bio of Victor Hugo





The thing is, until you get to the June Days of 1848, it’s a rollicking good time.  My reaction was a persistent “lol Hugo” and “Hugo, did you live your entire life with the conscious purpose of creating an entertaining and THOROUGHLY ABSURD biography some day?”

…and then you get to 1848, and I’d known Hugo did some dodgy things then, which he felt he had to justify in the Les Mis “revolutions vs. riots” digression.  But I didn’t know the extent of it.  And when I learned, well, let’s just say it’s a sudden swerve from “lol Hugo” to “so Hugo just exceeded his orders and initiated and participated in a massacre of workers protesting their mass deportation from Paris purely on the grounds of their class.” So I’ve been reading a book containing a digression by a war criminal trying to justify himself.  This doesn’t make me like the book less: for one thing, the character of the author doesn’t affect the quality of a book.  And for another, there was way more to Hugo than that one incident, including his years of exile.  But it does put a lot of things–the aforementioned digression in particular, but also Marius’s dream-state killings at the barricade, and the fact that Hugo glorifies the barricade, as if in penance, while still showing some discomfort with politically aware workers–in a different light. 

And then, after that, you get the enormities of Louis-Napoleon, including a massacre in the streets of people who aren’t even protesting in any way, and the sudden imposition of dystopia in a city where all the resisters had been shipped off after the June Days.  So basically there’s a sharp turn from “lol Hugo” to staring at the bio in stunned horror. 

Oh I really have to read this.

This was basically the part of Hugo’s life that Runia gave his talk about, btw. (I think I told you about that way back when? But am still fuzzy on the details so I obviously need to read this book!) But Runia’s whole theory of “making history” by doing – well, the unthinkable, taking an action that the actor never imagined they would or could, and then trying to come to terms with it by narrativizing it – he illustrated it with Hugo’s actions in 1848, claiming Hugo was using the barricade scenes and Marius’s role in them as a sort of – therapy and like you said, penance.

I was torn by “surprise LM in the lecture!” and already a bit of skepticism as to the scope of Runia’s arguments. (Like I totally buy him on the mechanics of perpetrators’ guilt but if he’s claiming that making history is always about traumatizing yourself by doing something you never expected to, and usually unthinkable in the way we typically understand it – unthinkable because it’s awful – uhhhh a lot more things have happened that have marked the history in the world in some way other than war crimes. And re: war crimes the victims and the survivors– their trauma matters too. But we’ve talked about Runia …)

Anyway I have to read the book!!! I want to know more of these details – is it easy to find?

I found it very easily!  And on reflection, I’ll revise some of what I said.  I don’t actually think penance is what’s going on.  I think it’s an attempt at self-reconciliation and self-justification.  Hugo fired on the workers’ barricades in the June Days, but then later tried to get people to take to the barricades against Louis-Napoleon’s coup.  In Les Mis, in his digressions and his plot, he staunchly defends taking to the barricades against dictatorships, but says the conscientious man will fight against insurgents who are acting violently against a republic.  So Hugo’s not doing penance, he’s arguing what he did was right. 

arrrgh, yeah, I was just looking at that whole digression last night and there’s practically a Special Circumstances Disclaimer laid around 48 in particular.  Like–darn it Hugo, I get that this is a Complicated Issue, but you do not get to handwave that.  

…Or he does, I guess. Like you said, it doesn’t stop the book from speaking to me; it’s just. This one thing. It’s not a thing I can ever be okay with. 



les misérables + main places || (pictures are not mine)

  • la place de la bastille: square in paris where “la prison de la bastille” stood until its destruction in 1789 during the french revolution. in the novel, it’s the site of napoleon’s elephant.
  • la rue des filles du calvaire (trad. the street of the ordeal’s daughters/girls): marius’s grandfather’s house. it’s situated in the north-east of the 3rd arrondissement of paris. 
  • l’église saint-paul saint-louis: church where marius and cosette were married. situated in the marais quarter of paris (4th arrondissement). 
  • rue de la verrerie: marius & courfeyrac’s apartment. 
  • “la barricade de la liberté”: also the corinthe. situated rue mondétour and rue rambuteau. it’s where the barricade was built in the novel.
  • quai des gesvres: place where javert committed suicide. in the novel, he didn’t jump from a bridge but from an embankment. from his point of view, we can see notre-dame in the background.
  • café musain: doesn’t exist anymore. it was situated boulevard saint-michel. 

  • rue plumet: exist under another name now: “rue oudinot”. where jean valjean lived while raising cosette. number #55 doesn’t exist: the musical invented it. it’s hard to tell where valjean’s house could have been situated.

@mamzellecombeferre  next time!

What happening in Paris?


A very organized, very well orchestrated series of attacks across the city. There’s been at least three areas hit. One at the Stade de France stadium, another in a restaurant, and another at Bataclan Concert Hall. The latter has been declared a hostage crisis with potentially over a hundred kept in. Casualty toll keeps rising with new information.

Like I said before, the first stage in media’s handling of an event like this is very confused and murky. Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt because the situation is so chaotic. But there is undeniably something huge going on in Paris. For the love of god, if anyone is in or around the area, please be careful.