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I visited the French city of Lyon some time ago for purposes outside this blog. To my surprise this visit turned out to be very interesting. I must admit I knew nothing of Lyon and because of my reasonable extensive knowledge of the French renaissance I did not expect to find anything truly interesting concerning this period in time.

How wrong I was!

ArtWhere to go

We all know Henry VIII as intelligent but cruel, Francis I as flamboyant, Catherine de Medici as shrewd and so on. Most 16 century personalities have fixed characters, at least so our high school text books and popular culture will tell us. But when it comes down to Mary Queen of Scots there seems to be no fixed agreement on her character. Some of us think her to be a frail weak creature who made a series of very doubtful decisions. Others portray her as a smart, stout woman with little luck and an impossible task. Some texts claim her to be as important as Elizabeth I or Catherine de Medici, while others point out how she never actually ruled and only gained significance because of her son James VI & I.


It is hard to imagine what the English court looked like in the sixteenth century without the works of Hans Holbein the younger. The images we have of Henry VIII, Thomas More, Anne Boleyn and many others have been constructed by him. But how come this German born painter ended up in the English court and why is his work considered the greatest among his peers?

PeopleWhere to go

Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the All Saints church door in Wittenberg exactly 500 years ago in 2017. Germany commemorates this fact with festivities ranging from expositions to concerts and much more. You can wait another year, but if you want to beat the crowds you might want to consider visiting Germany this summer. The German National Tourist Board has created a truly superb website on which you can map out your own tour following the footsteps of Luther and his quest to start the Reformation. You can find it here 

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Sometimes the best dishes are those you are prejudiced against. That is the case with this amazing bread dish. I found the recipe with not much more than the label ‘Dutch renaissance bread dish’ and had no expectations at all making it, ready to chuck the whole thing in the bin if thing turned out bad. Imagine my surprise when it proved a heavenly combination. Here’s the recipe.

Where to go

If you want to experience music in the same ambiance as did the French king Francis I visit the beautiful castle of Chambord this summer.  From the 1st  of July till the 16th  the annual festival of Chambord takes place. With a combination of renowned artists and upcoming talent one might enjoy a sweltering evening in what is the most beautiful renaissance castle according to many. With classical and contemporary pieces there is something to be found for everyone.

Check out www.chambord.org for more information

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There are plenty of reasons why one would shy away from reading a philosophical work like Utopia. One might find it to be difficult and time consuming, the topics might be irrelevant in today’s world and of course Wikipedia satisfies our main curiosity. So why would one want to read a 16th century trail of thought written up by some guy named Thomas whats his name?

First of all that guy is actually pretty interesting, not only because king Henry XIII chopped his head off on a charge of high treason, but more so because Thomas More took the risk to be critical again and again knowing this could cost him his life.