Every now again, it’s nice to swap the sweatpants and boxed wine for a bit of decadence and luxury. A quick–but not always economical–fix? Throwing a majestic and mysterious Masquerade Ball. Dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, the Masquerade Ball began as part of Europe’s carnival season. Less high society and more cirque du célébration, villagers would gather in masks and costumes to take part in elaborate pageants and glamorous processions.
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While Paris was first dubbed the “City of Light” to recognize its status as a haven for the enlightened, the moniker took a more literal turn when the city began lighting the Champs-Elysées with gas lamps in 1828. As Paris was the first city in Europe to do so, its nickname, “La Ville-Lumière” assumed a new meaning.
While the Holy Roman Empire kept itself together for over 800 years, the region was never able to achieve the same kind of unity found in other republics, like France. While its decentralized monarchy granted the empire an ample opportunity to expand, it also greatly contributed to its 1806 demise.
Nestled around 90 kilometers away from Marseilles, Aigues-Mortes is a medieval commune presently home to a little over 8,000 people. While considered by many a magnificent display of architecture of that epoch, the goings-on within the walls weren’t always so savory. For example, in 1686 the Constance tower converted into a prison for Huguenots who refused to convert to Catholicism following Louis XIV’s revoking of the Edict of Nantes. Past that, the tower transitioned once again and became a penitentiary exclusively for women reported to be Huguenots.
If human memory is an unreliable record keeper of the hazards of war, nature certainly is not. Following a deluge of artillery fire on behalf of the British and inordinate amounts of rain, the German defensive proved successful–albeit with quite a bit of struggle. It was the bodies of Brits, and the Belgian landscape, however, that were left in ruins.
Despite the squat visions a troll connotes, Norway’s Trollveggen couldn’t present a more different reality. The tallest vertical rock face in Europe, the Troll Wall represents the height of athletic ambition for climbers and base jumpers alike.