Le Festival des Lumières

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

History of Le Festival des Lumières     

2018 Exhibit

The Festival of Lights (Le Festival des Lumières) in Paris is coming back for its fourth year! The event, located in the 5th arrondissement (the French equivalent to a neighborhood), is a spectacular display of larger-than-life light displays. The first event was held in 2018 and has returned every year except 2020.

2019 Exhibit

 

 

 

Thematically, all of the festivals have focused on endangered species across the world. Previous themes have focused on endangered plants and animals in general, oceanic life, and evolution. This year’s theme, Mini-Mondes en voir d’Illumination (The World of Miniscule in Large), will focus on the tiny organisms that play crucial roles in global ecosystems.

2018 Exhibit

From mid-November into January, tourists and locals alike can walk through the 5th arrondissement. Dozens of light sculptures throughout the area illuminate the entire night sky throughout the festival. During the day, the Jardin des Plantes in Paris holds events to discuss the themes. From children’s workshops to discussions on protecting endangered species, these events help put the festival’s mission into practice.

2018 Exhibit

2022: Mini-Mondes en Voir d’Illumination

This year’s walk-through will bring viewers through several ecosystems, focusing on the minute species that are typically forgotten. The path begins in a meadow, with displays of butterflies, spiders, snails, and shrews. Then, the ecosystem shifts into a pondy region filled with dragonflies, mosquitoes, and frogs. Next, there is a larger-than-life forest crawling with beetles, millipedes, caterpillars, and lighting bugs, among other woodland creatures. To traverse into the next region, viewer’s must cross an 82-foot long illuminated piece of tree bark.

 

 

The next two sections focus on every-day mini species that we encounter. The first contains dozens of species found in our home, from jumping spiders to bedbugs and mold. Finally, the audience is introduced to the organisms found within our own bodies. Dozens of bugs, bacteria, and viruses illuminate the area and our knowledge of our personal body ecosystems.

French Bulldogs: National Winners

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern

Winston the Champion

Each year in the US, the National Dog Show airs just after the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day. This year, the Best of Show was Winston the French Bulldog. Winston is the first of his breed to have won this prestigious competition. Winston also competed earlier in this year in the Westminster Dog Show.

 

The Original Bulldogs

A dog that more closely resembles an original bulldog

The French variety of bulldog is barely related to a true bulldog breed. Bulldogs were originally bred for bull-baiting, an ancient and violent sport where these strong, athletic dogs were unleashed to fight tethered bulls. Their goal was to grab the bull by the snout or ears. 

By the 18th century in England, this sport was illegal. In the Nottingham area, breeders had crossed bulldogs with smaller dogs to create the very early ancestors of French Bulldogs. These little dogs became favored by lace-makers in the area, because they made such wonderful companions.

Nottingham Today

But the Industrial Revolution in England put lace-makers and other artisans out of business. Many of these artisans relocated to Northern France, and they brought their favorite pups with them. The French fell in love with the little dogs, and they became known as French Bulldogs. 

French Bulldogs

The French bred more modern characteristics into the dogs. The big ears, squashed-in noses, and wrinkled forehead became common in the breed at this time. French Bulldogs were one of the first breeds created with cuteness as the most important trait. 

Humans have been breeding dogs for centuries. We’ve created dogs that help us hunt, that help protect us, and that work with us in a variety of other ways. But breeders didn’t create French Bulldogs to perform a task. They aren’t particularly good guard dogs, and they can’t hunt, not even rats. They exist for the sole purpose of being cute, furry companions. By the 19th century in France, more people could afford to own a pet just for the  sake of having a pet. 

French Bulldogs Today

A French Bulldog in a flower garden

French Bulldogs have gotten more and more popular over the years, in France and abroad. They are well-loved here in the US, as evidenced by Winston’s victory in this year’s National Dog Show. The dogs are intelligent, lively, and full of personality, and that has gained them fame the world around.

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