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La Muse et ses Demoiselles d'Honneur

La Muse et ses Demoiselles dHonneur
Quatorze Juillet or Bastille Day is in the first place of course the celebration of the unity of France after the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, becoming the French national feast in 1880. In 1900 it also became the day of a socialist feast of the people: the coronation of 'la muse du peuple' (the people's muse). The first coronation took place on the 14th of July, 1900 in Saint Étienne. It was based on the opera Louise by Gustave Charpentier (a pupil of the famous composer Massenet), in which the working girl Louise was crowned Queen of Montmartre during the aria 'Depuis le jour'.

The coronation was repeated several times after that year mainly in industrial and socialist cities, always on the same date and was meant to unite the workers in a feast of poetry, music and dance. On the photo we see Mademoiselle Rolland, crowned to the Muse of Saint Étienne in 1906, together with her bridesmaids (les Demoiselles d'Honneur): les mademoiselles Coupat, Chosson, Grand and Gagnière. The car, which is almost as beautiful as the girls, is a Bayard-Clément. And don't worry, the girls didn't have to drive the car themselves, as they had their personal (male) driver.


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