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French: Famous & Historical Trivia

French: Famous & Historical Trivia Quizzes

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Fun Trivia
7 quizzes and 70 trivia questions.
  Charles, Charles, or Charles    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Identify either Martel, De Gaulle, or Aznavour
I will provide an interesting fact and you will have to determine if the fact pertains to Charles Martel, Charles De Gaulle, or Charles Aznavour. Or all three. Or none of them.
Average, 10 Qns, malidog, Jan 19 24
malidog gold member
Jan 19 24
139 plays
  A Toast to the French   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Join me, PDAZ, Rowena8482, and doublemm at our soirée en France, as we discover some remarkable French folk.
Average, 10 Qns, eburge, Aug 08 12
eburge gold member
5987 plays
  A French Connection   top quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
Let's see if you can identify these people "connected" to the French Revolution from the clues that are given.
Average, 10 Qns, ponycargirl, Feb 26 17
ponycargirl editor
1289 plays
  Famous Frenchmen   great trivia quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
Match these men from France with the correct clues.
Very Easy, 10 Qns, nyirene330, Jun 25 17
Recommended for grades: 9,10,11,12
Very Easy
Jun 25 17
912 plays
  Who's Who: Early History of Paris   top quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
The history of Paris began as early as 8000 BC with hunting and gathering groups living in the area. Let's have a look, however, at some of the early historic people who contributed to its founding.
Average, 10 Qns, ponycargirl, Jan 12 18
ponycargirl editor
Jan 12 18
359 plays
  Oo La La - We're French!   popular trivia quiz  
Match Quiz
 10 Qns
Ten well known French people are listed for you to match with their occupations. If more than one occupation seems to fit, choose the most specific. Bonne chance!
Average, 10 Qns, rossian, Dec 16 17
rossian editor
Dec 16 17
500 plays
  A French Garden Party at Versailles    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Imagine a party in the garden of Versailles in 1682. Can you identify the various French people at this garden party? All of the correct answers could have attended a party in this specific year. I've mentioned all names in the French orthography.
Average, 10 Qns, JanIQ, Nov 06 20
JanIQ gold member
Nov 06 20
324 plays
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French: Famous & Historical Trivia Questions

1. Which Charles was the son of Armenian immigrants?

From Quiz
Charles, Charles, or Charles

Answer: Charles Aznavour

Charles Aznavour's parents were Armenian immigrants to France, his mother escaping the genocide in Turkey. He received Armenian citizenship in 2008, served as permanent Armenian delegate to UNESCO, and founded a charity called Aznavour for Armenia which helped the country following the 1988 Armenian earthquake. De Gaulle's family came from a long line of gentry from Normandy and Burgundy - very French. Charles Martel's father was the Frankish Mayor of the Palace. His heritage is less clear, though given the transportation options available in the 8th century it's unlikely any of his closest relatives were Armenian.

2. As drinks are passed around, the French emperor partakes of a glass of brandy and is honored to find out that it had been named after him. What name is shared by both the emperor and the brandy?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Napoleon

Napoleon brandy is a term used for a brandy that is aged for at least five years, although it isn't an official designation. Napoleon Bonaparte, the Emperor of France, was an aficionado of brandy, particularly that from the Cognac region. Napoleon had visited the region in 1811 and had been given a barrel of Cognac. The vintage from that year is considered one of the top vintages of all time. PDAZ declines a glass of brandy, and sticks with champagne instead.

3. Which Charles never did battle with Germans?

From Quiz Charles, Charles, or Charles

Answer: Charles Aznavour

While he never did battle with Germans, Charles Aznavour and his family hid a number of people sought by the Nazis during WW II including Jews and Armenians, and he was involved in rescue activities that led to him receiving the Raoul Wallenberg Award. De Gaulle of course led the Free French resistance to Nazi occupation of France, and Charles Martel fought battles with Germanic tribes across what is now Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.

4. Where the King is, there should also be a Queen. Which Queen could indeed have attended a garden party at Versailles? The red herrings lived long before the opening of this magnificent palace and gardens.

From Quiz A French Garden Party at Versailles

Answer: Marie Therese d'Autriche

Versailles was opened in 1682, so Marie Thérèse d'Autriche (1638-1683) could have attended one of the first garden parties over there. Marie Thérèse was named after Austria in French and Spanish, but in English she was known as Maria Theresa of Spain. One of the many Habsburg family members, she married Louis XIV in 1660 in order to put an end to the French-Spanish conflict. The royal couple had six children, but only their eldest son survived the infancy and would have children of his own. Eleanor d'Aquitaine was born about 1122 and died in 1204. She married the French king Louis VII in 1137. When this marriage was annulled in 1152, she married the English king Henry II. Marguérite de Provence (1221-1295) was the consort of the French king Louis IX the Saint. Catherine de Médicis (1519-1589) was the wife of the French king Henri II and mother to three subsequent kings: François II, Charles IX and Henri III.

5. As an elegant young lady passes, she leaves a cloud of scent from the large creamy white flower in her hair. It is a Magnolia grandiflora, but which botanist named the Magnolia genus?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Charles Plumier

It was Charles Plumier, in 1703, who named the Magnolia genus thus, in honour of his fellow countryman and botanist Pierre Magnol. Magnol held the post of Professor of Botany and Director of the Royal Botanic Garden of Montpellier for several years, and was instrumental in compiling the system used to classify plant species. Taking a drink from a passing tray, Rowena8482 catches another whiff of the flower as the lady passes again.

6. Which Charles was known for a great military victory against the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Tours?

From Quiz Charles, Charles, or Charles

Answer: Charles Martel

Begun in the 7th century by Muhammad, Muslim military conquests extended from the Arabian peninsula, across the Middle East and North Africa, and into the Iberian peninsula. The battle of Tours in 732 saw a force led by Charles Martel defeat an army of the Umayyad Caliphate, led by Abd al-Rahman al-Ghafiqi. Many historians pointed to this as a key turning point, stopping the advance of Islam into Europe, although more recent historians seem to think that is overstated. In any event it did begin to establish the Frankish empire as the predominant power in Western Europe.

7. As new guests arrive, a familiar scent pervades the party. One lady is wearing a perfume known as 'No. 5'. Which prolific 20th century couturier was responsible for this perfume?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Coco Chanel

Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883, Coco Chanel had a big impact on the fashion industry during her lifetime, and was considered a pioneer in the field. Amongst her most famous contributions to haute couture was the Little Black Dress, a sleek, elegant garment, and her first perfume, 'Chanel No. 5', which to this day remains as one of the best-selling and popular perfumes in the world. As eburge sips his champagne, he gets another waft of 'Chanel No. 5'. It seems like more than one person is wearing it tonight.

8. There is a sharp intake of breath as the guests spot Michel Lotito, or 'Monsieur Mangetout', approaching. As well as scoffing the elegant canapés and guzzling the fine liqueurs, what has this gourmand been known to eat?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Chandeliers

Michel Lotito became famous for his ability and willingness to eat all sorts of things, such as televisions and beds, and is recorded as eating six chandeliers and eighteen bicycles. Despite this extreme diet, Lotito died of natural causes in 2007. Thankfully, Monsieur Mangetout refrains from eating part of the house's great chandelier, and doublemm lets out a sigh of relief.

9. Who was that man with his goose quill in the corner? You may have read his theatre play about an imaginary invalid.

From Quiz A French Garden Party at Versailles

Answer: Moliere

"Le malade imaginaire" ("The Imaginary Invalid") is one of the many highlights in the oeuvre of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, who adopted the nom de plume Molière. It stars Argan, one of the most severe cases of hypochondria in literature. He wants to marry his daughter to a medicine student, but she's in love with someone else. Molière (1622-1673) wrote at least 36 theatre plays, many of which are still performed in the 21st Century. He started out with a diligence for tragedy, but he is best remembered for his comedies such as "Le misanthrope", "L'avare" ("The Miser") and "Le malade imaginaire". Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778) was another prolific writer, best known for his novella "Candide". François Rabelais (born 1483 or 1494, died 1553) was one of the first French authors, notable for his series featuring "Gargantua et Pantagruel". Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) was born in Romania but wrote mostly in French. His oeuvre includes absurd theatre plays as "Le rhinoceros".

10. As the guests enjoy some fine cuisine, their ears are treated to the soft sounds of 'Clair de Lune'. Which Frenchman composed 'Clair de Lune'?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Claude Debussy

'Claire de Lune' is the third movement of the suite bergamasque. Debussy composed this piece in 1890 and it was played over an animated crane in a deleted scene in the 1940 film 'Fantasia'. Recognising the familiar tune, doublemm quietly hums along as he mingles with the other guests.

11. A group of children crossed your path. Louis Auguste, Louise Françoise, Françoise Marie and Louis Alexandre were the surviving children of the French king and his most important mistress in 1682. Who was the mother to this foursome?

From Quiz A French Garden Party at Versailles

Answer: Madame de Montespan

Madame de Montespan (1640-1707) was born as Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart. Lucky for us she is better known as Madame de Montespan, the wife of the Marquis de Montespan. In 1667 Madame de Montespan became the prime mistress of King Louis XIV. She gave him seven children, three of whom died in infancy. The four others were legitimized by Louis and they were the ancestors of several noble families. Madame de Pompadour (Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, 1721-1764) was the chief mistress of king Louis XV. Madame de Staël (Anne-Louise Necker, 1766-1817) was an author and hostess of literary salons during the turbulent times of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Madame Tussaud (Anne-Marie Grosholtz, 1761-1850) was a sculptress specialised in wax portraits. Nowadays the wax museums all over the world are named after her.

12. His left hand bandaged after being shot by his lover, the French poet holds a cocktail in his right hand which he was told had been named after him (or rather, his hand). Which decadent poet was it?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Arthur Rimbaud

The decadent movement of the late 19th century dealt with 'taboo' subjects and mainly included French poets and authors, such as Arthur Rimbaud and his lover Paul Verlaine. Verlaine and Rimbaud had a volatile relationship that ended when Verlaine shot at Rimbaud during a drunken rage, hitting Rimbaud in the left wrist, and sending Verlaine to prison for two years. The drink, 'Rimbaud's Left Hand', was invented by a Chicago bartender and includes absinthe, Benedictine, orange liqueur, fruit juices, rose water and an egg. PDAZ again sticks with her champagne. She prefers her cocktails without egg in them.

13. As waiters carry trays of hors d'oeuvres out from the kitchen, the sound of commotion follows. Thoughts of 'brigade de cuisine' soon arise. Which French restaurateur created this concept of a hierarchy in a kitchen?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Auguste Escoffier

Escoffier was responsible for improving the French cooking techniques in restaurants across the country during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Revered in the culinary circle, Escoffier introduced the concept of 'brigade de cuisine' - a hierarchy in kitchens where staff have their own individual role, from head chef, fish cook and pastry cook to dishwasher, pantry supervisor and entrée preparer. Escoffier famously worked at the Savoy Hotel in London, and created the dish known as Peach Melba, for Australian operatic singer Dame Nellie Melba. eburge helps himself to a canapé as a tray went past, wondering what is happening in the kitchen.

14. It might have surprised you, but at last a clergyman turned up at the garden party. However, there is little historic reference to his life. So who was this rather obscure clergyman?

From Quiz A French Garden Party at Versailles

Answer: Jean Testu de Mauroy

Out of these four clergymen, only one could have attended a garden party in Versailles in 1682 - and I'm afraid it is the least known of the quartet. Abbot Jean Testu de Mauroy (1626-1706) became member of the Académie française in 1688, and yet there is very little historic documentation about this "immortal" on line. Wikipedia in English only mentions his date of birth and his death date, and the French version of Wikipedia mentions that he educated the daughters of the king's brother Philippe. Even the website of the Académie has not much more information, although it contains a link to the full text of Mauroy's acceptance speech (in the original spelling). Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal de Richelieu (1585-1642) was the religious advisor of king Louis XIII, and also acted as his prime minister. Richelieu was succeeded (in both functions: religious and secular) by Jules Mazarin (1602-1661), a French cardinal born in Italy. Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754-1838) is one of the most remarkable characters in the period of the French Revolution. He swapped sides so many times that no one seemed to know exactly what he was up to.

15. Absinthe is offered at the party, but one man abstains. Which cartoonist and animator produced the 1910 film 'Hasher's Delirium' which detailed the effects of overindulgence in absinthe?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Emile Cohl

Emile Cohl began his media career as an assistant to the (in)famous cartoonist Andre Gill, until in 1879, his caricature of the 1st Duke of Magenta landed him in prison. He began making animated films, in 1907, when he was 50, and then moved into live action. Sadly almost all of his work was lost in a studio fire during WWI, so very little survives. Rowena8482 also politely declines the absinthe.

16. A group of guests gather in the corner, and admire a painting of water lilies on the wall. Which French impressionist artist was responsible for the 'Water Lilies' series of paintings?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Claude Monet

Monet was a pioneer of impressionism, known for such works as 'Lavacourt: Sunshine and Snow', 'Woman with a Parasol', and 'Impression, Sunrise' (from which the movement gets its name). The French painter died in 1926 of lung cancer, with a vast number of paintings to his name. Adjusting his bowtie, eburge walks over and joins the group in admiring the painting.

17. The last person you met on this garden party could not keep his mouth about pressure cooking. Who was this French scientist and inventor?

From Quiz A French Garden Party at Versailles

Answer: Denis Papin

Denis Papin (1647-1714) is the only French scientist in this list. He graduated in medicine in 1669 and became interested in vacuum and pressure while working with some other great scientists, Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695, a Dutch inventor) and Gottfried Leibnitz (1646-1716, a German philosopher). Papin developed the steam digester, an early pressure cooker with a safety valve, about 1679. Later he would experiment with the steam engine and design a boat with a steam engine. Watt (1736-1819) was a Scottish engineer, who perfected the steam engine. Guericke (1602-1686) was the mayor of the German city of Magdenburg and is best known for his experiment demonstrating the magnitude of air pressure. Air pressure was also the focus of the experiments of Torricelli (1608-1647), the inventor of the barometer.

18. The guests raise their glasses to the guest of honor, a French Benedictine monk who earned fame for his vineyard work at the Abbey of Hautvillers. Which name is shared by both the monk and a prestigious brand of bubbly?

From Quiz A Toast to the French

Answer: Dom Perignon

Dom Pierre Perignon didn't invent champagne, but he did work to improve the quality and the processing of the regular wines of the Champagne region of France. He also was credited with using thicker bottles and Spanish corks to protect the wine. The champagne, Dom Perignon, was named in honor of him and was first sold in 1936 (the vintage was 1921). PDAZ raises her glass aloft with the others, and toasts the guest of honor.

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