Friday, April 23, 2010

Beware Madame La Guillotine - Pilot Tour!

On Thursday, April 1, 2010, as part of their study of the French Revolution, the 8th grade class at the International School of Paris took a walking tour of the era with Charlotte Corday. Charlotte is known for having assassinated Jean-Paul Marat, radical journalist and proponent of the Reign of Terror. She blamed Marat for destroying the true revolution. She felt that his death would bring an end to the fear and bloodshed tearing her country apart. She decided to do it herself.

Her tour, Beware Madame La Guillotine, prototype itinerary of the Time Traveler Tours, recounts her journey to end Marat’s life, and her own. She narrates the last four days of her life, from July 11, 1793, when she left her Norman home, until her execution on July 17th.

ISP students followed her movements, from the Palais Royal, birthplace of the French Revolution and where she bought her weapon; to Marat’s home near the revolutionary hot spot, Le CafĂ© Procope, where she stabbed him through the heart as he soaked in the bath; to the Conciergerie, where she was imprisoned, tried, and labeled an “enemy of the revolution”. Charlotte was guillotined at the Place de la Revolution (now the Place de la Concorde) six months after Louis XVI and two months before Marie-Antoinette.

“Very compelling [to view the Revolution] from the perspective of the characters” who lived it, reports one ISP 8th grader. “I liked how we learn more specifically [about the Revolution]. And get to know the places that related to Charlotte,” said another.

Overall the students liked the experience: “Cool trip.” “Interesting and fun.” “GOOD JOB! And well done!”

Images by Julia Luu, Intern, ISP External Affairs.

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