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The Daily Sketch: Norms guillotined in the Place de la Concorde

As the rigour and excitement of the Paralympic Games continues to thrill not only us in London, but also the millions of viewers around the world, spare a thought for those young ones amongst us for whom this week may well spell the end of their summers and the start of a whole new school year. God, I used to hate this time of the year – that compulsory trip to the school uniform shop with my mother, trying on a scratchy new knitted jumper, full of foreboding for the cold days and dark nights to come, the homework, the long lessons and the exams at the end of it all, and all this when my golden summer tan was still fresh on my skin.

For many, that time has come, but as this Norm sketch shows, learning need not be a drag, especially if history is on the timetable for the first day. History is all around us you see, and this is no more so than in Paris, a city laced with its own fair share of gruesome tales, like this one, in the Place de la Concorde (or the Place de la Révolution as it was known then), where on 21 January 1793, King Louis XVI was sensationally beheaded upon the gruesome guillotine, along with his much despised wife, Queen Marie Antoinette (“let them eat cake” and all that jazz).

Norms guillotined in the Place de la Concorde (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Here we join this bloody day of Norm history, as Marie Antoinette has just lost her head, and Louis XVI, looking at the blade hanging menacingly above his head, knows that he is next. All around him, the soldiers of the revolution see that this day of reckoning goes down without interruption, while close by, the serene elaborate statues of the nearby fountains look on, a reminder that although all we see today is the architectural glory of this square, not so many years ago it was a place of significant blood shed and historical significance.

Vive la Révolution! (Not that I approve of beheading I should add).

See you next time.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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