The Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, (also known as Place Royal), is an absolutely fun place to be, pun intended. Not only is the architecture stunning, (the same architect who designed Place de la Concorde and some parts of Versailles), but the reflecting pool across the boulevard is a wonderful combination of art, architecture, and sheer joy.
Water covers the Miroir des Quais, or The Quay Mirror, and creates a stunning reflection of the square across the way. However, when the weather is warm, it turns into a mini water park for everyone from toddlers to 100+ year olds. To see so many people of so many different ages and so many backgrounds running around, splashing each other, and being completely absorbed in the simple joy of a big puddle brings a big smile to the face. Joy is infectious!
France is affectionately referred to as "the Hexagon" for its overall shape.French history goes back to the Gauls, a Celtic tribe which inhabited the area circa 300BC until being conquered by Julius Caesar.The Franks were the first tribe to adopt Catholic Christianity after the Roman Empire collapsed. France became an independent location in the Treaty of Verdun in (843 AD), which divided up Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire into several portions.The French monarchy reached its zenith during the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, who stood for seventy-two years as the Monarch of all Monarchs. His palace of Versailles and its Hall of Mirrors are a splendid treasure-trove of Baroque art.The French Revolution ended the rule of the monarchy with the motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!" On July 14th, 1789 angry mobs stormed La Bastille prison and began the Revolution in which Louis XVI, his wife Marie-Antoinette and thousands of others met the guillotine.One decade after the revolution, Napolean Bonaparte seized control of the Republic and named himself Emperor. His armies conquered most of Europe and his Napoleonic Code became a lasting legal foundation for concepts of personal status and property.During the period of colonization France controlled the largest empire in the world, second only to Britain.France is one of the founding members of the European Union and the United Nations, as well as one of the nuclear armed nations of the world.Text by Steve Smith.