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Historical Book Group

About this course

Looking for a good read and stimulating discussion? Join WICE's monthly Historical Book Group and exchange perspectives in an informal and friendly environment.

Books are chosen by members and the selection reflects their broad tastes and origins. We select books published in French and English and participants are encouraged to contribute in whichever language is more comfortable to them.

The Historical Book Group is free for WICE Members, so why not become a WICE Member now?

Registration required; seats are limited.

If you would like more information or if you have questions, please email



    • 07 Jan 2021
    • 7:00 PM (UTC+01:00)
    • 06 Feb 2021
    • 8:30 PM (UTC+01:00)
    • Remote

    The live event occurred on January 7th, 2021. 

    However, you can register to receive a link to view the recording (REPLAY), and you will receive the discount codes for the full series.

    France is a land of many splendored things, chief among them being the glorious chateaux which dot the Loire Valley and the Ile-de-France. Some started out as medieval stone donjons; others sprang to life as the magnificent Renaissance edifices built by the 15th and 16th century Valois kings, first in the Loire Valley and later in and around Paris; then came the the equally grand French Baroque style chateaux built around Paris by Bourbon royals and their peers.

    Russell Kelley will take us on a quick romp through ten of these landmarks which have been witness to 1,000 years of French history, expanding on some of their salient features — for instance, Chambord is  the largest chateau in the Loire with 426 rooms; Chenonceau  is called the « chateau des dames » because of the nearly uninterrupted series of women — including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis —who oversaw the many additions and embellishments of this particularly beautiful castle. Outside Paris stands Vaux-le-Vicomte, built in the mid-17th century by Nicolas Fouquet whose lavish chateau so enraged Louis XIV that he had the man thrown into prison where, 15 years later, he perished.

    Speaker: Russell Kelley is the curator and moderator of the lecture series on the Grands Châteaux of the Loire Valley and the Île de France. He is author of The Making of Paris: The Story of How Paris Evolved from a Fishing Village into the World’s Most Beautiful City, to be published in March 2021. He has lived in France for nearly 30 years and has visited every château featured in this series many times.

    **This presentation is an introduction to a 10-part online series — each devoted to a single chateau — whose fascinating stories will be narrated and illustrated by the director, curator, or owner of the spotlighted edifice — those who know them best! 

    These experts have been brought together by Russell Kelley under the Alliance Française chapters in Miami and Chicago which have graciously agreed to include WICE members among the viewers.

    The Alliance Française lectures take place weekly on Thursdays from January 14 through March 25 at 7 p.m. Paris time / 1 p.m. Eastern Time. (The January 14 talk will be the same that Russell will present at WICE on January 7. )

    PLEASE NOTE: Registrants for the January 7 WICE lecture (or paid REPLAY) will be entitled to the entire 11-part series at the Alliance Française membership rate.  The registration code to receive the discount on the AF series will be included with your registration confirmation email for the WICE introductory session.

    For further information and registration for the AF series visit: https://www.af-miami.org/cultural-events_2020/upcoming-events/

    The cost of the series is $15 per lecture or $135 for the series of 11 lectures for non-members of AFMM: $8 per lecture or $70 for the series for AFMM members and registrants for the January 7 WICE lecture (or paid REPLAY).  Find the registration code in your registration confirmation email.

    Photo credit: BEHN LIEU SONG, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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