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"Why are the streets of France lined with trees? So the Germans can march in the shade."


18 Mar 1314 Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, is burned at the stake during the final purge of the Templars in France. Among the things de Molay admitted to the Inquisitor panel (though possibly coerced) were the obligation of Templars to deny Christ when they joined, and a sacrament that involved spitting on a crucifix.
24 Aug 1572 Troops loyal to the French crown alongside Catholic civilians massacre the Protestant Huguenots of Paris, estimates range between 20,000 and 100,000 deaths. At news of this carnage of this St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, a gleeful Pope Gregory XIII ordered celebrations and a medal to be struck.
1 Aug 1589 King Henri III of France is assassinated by a crazy Jacobin monk. Among his crimes are opposing the Catholic League, and his love of... handsome young men.
14 May 1610 Fanatical monk François Ravaillac jumps aboard the coach of King Henry IV and stabs him twice through the open window. Then the French monarch bleeds to death before medical help can reach him.
2 Jun 1740 Marquis de Sade is born in Palais de Condé, Paris.
14 Jul 1789 A mob of 20,000 people storms Bastille Prison in Paris, killing its personnel and freeing all seven prisoners incarcerated therein: four forgers, an accomplice to murder, a nobleman jailed for incest, and an insane Irishman. The warden is decapitated and his head carried around on a pike. So begins the French Revolution.
16 Oct 1793 Deposed French queen Joséphe Jeanne Marie Antoinette sits in an open cart, enduring three hours of public ridicule as she is slowly driven around the streets of Paris. Finally, she is taken to the guillotine. Before she loses her head, Antoinette tells the crowd: "Farewell, my children, forever. I go to your Father."
28 Jul 1794 After his Reign of Terror turns against him, Maximilien Robespierre is guillotined in Paris.
15 Mar 1894 Jean Pauwels is killed walking into the Madeline church in Paris, when a bomb in his pocket suddenly goes off. The Belgian anarchist is later determined to have been responsible for two other explosions in February, one of which killed a pedestrian.
21 May 1871 Government troops invade the Paris Commune and engage its residents in street fighting. By the close of "Bloody Week" some 20,000 communards have been massascred and 38,000 arrested.
18 May 1904 In Paris, 12 nations ratify the International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade. Another 48 countries and territories follow suit over the next six years. Conspicuously absent from the list of signatories is the United States of America.
15 Oct 1917 Dutch spy H21, also known as Mata Hari, is executed in Paris by a 12-man firing squad. The dancer, born Gertrude Zelle, had slept with a number of high-ranking military officers from around the world and passed secrets along to the German high command. After death, her body is given to the University of Paris medical school for dissection.
1938 The dismembered body of Rudolf Klement, Trotsky's former secretary, found floating in the Seine, Paris.
23 Jun 1940 Adolf Hitler visits the city of Paris, primarily because he wanted to see the tomb of Napoleon.
23 Aug 1944 The German SS places explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower, under orders to destroy both it and Paris in the event of retreat.
3 Jan 1956 A fire occurs atop the Eiffel Tower.
17 Oct 1961 Between 50 and 200 unarmed Algerian muslims are massacred by Paris police during an FLN demonstration. Dozens more are murdered in the courtyard of the main police headquarters. At the time, the De Gaulle government was unstable and trying to hold onto its African colonies, thus the massacre was not widely reported.
3 Jul 1971 Jim Morrison is found dead of an apparent heart attack in his Paris apartment bathtub. That's what he wants us to think, anyway.
3 Jul 1973 A supersonic Tupolev Tu-144 (a Russian knockoff of the Concorde nicknamed the Concordski) crashes at the Paris Air Show, killing 13 people in front of an audience of 200,000. The Russians never revealed the cause of the crash.
11 Nov 1986 The president of Renault assassinated in a terrorist attack.
31 Aug 1997 Lady Diana, and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, killed in car crash inside a Paris tunnel. The driver was drunk and they were going very, very fast.
2 Jul 1998 The eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which has burned continuously since 1921 to commemorate the dead of World War I, is extinguished by an intoxicated soccer fan with his beer-enriched urine. Mexican national Rodrigo Rafael Ortega is arrested and charged with public drunkenness and offending the dead.
25 Jul 2000 A right tire explosion on the Concorde causes the plane to crash after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, leaving 113 dead. It is the first crash in Concorde's history, and the only supersonic commercial flight to ever crash.
22 Jul 2003 A fire occurs atop the Eiffel Tower, in a broadcast equipment room.

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