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The Land of Desire: French History and Culture

Diana Stegall

French history is wacky, wonderful - and seriously weird. If the only thing you know about French history is that you hated reading A Tale of Two Cities in high school, pour yourself a glass of pinot noir and get ready for a wild ride. Learn about th...Show More

37:10 | Mar 28th

This week, we’re taking an up-close look at the uglier side of French history: imperialism, racism, xenophobia, and the resilience of the communities who have had to survive under French power. The tale of the banh mi is a tale of oppression, revolut...Show More

30:20 | Aug 31st, 2017

In Jazz Age France, anyone who was anyone could do anything and everything. Join Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and more aboard the Blue Train to paradise! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/08/31/episode-31-le-train-bleu/

21:31 | Jul 27th, 2017

A look at the most famous - and most mysterious - animal kingdom in French history. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/07/27/episode-29-lascaux/

48:34 | Aug 8th

Hot fun in the summertime! Island getaways, floating bars and the birth of Renoir's "Luncheon Of the Boating Party".

30:12 | Jul 18th

The Land of Desire is three years old! We're celebrating with a listener Q&A episode - book recommendations, cocktails of choice, and very serious Disney questions!

02:12 | Jul 10th

Reminder to submit questions for my upcoming listener Q&A - and an update about last episode's surprise ending.

37:30 | Jun 27th

After enjoying the fruits of her first true Golden Age, France faces her worst challenge yet - the fourteenth century. Religious warfare, dynastic collapse and overcrowding all kill the vibe, and 1348 brings the worst news of all: the Black Plague is...Show More

26:47 | May 16th

This week we're paying tribute to Notre Dame Cathedral. I’ll be skipping around to the most important interactions between Notre Dame and her hometown. At each point, I’ll try to paint a picture of Paris as she was at that time, and the Notre Dame sh...Show More

35:14 | May 9th

This week we're paying tribute to Notre Dame Cathedral. I’ll be skipping around to the most important interactions between Notre Dame and her hometown. At each point, I’ll try to paint a picture of Paris as she was at that time, and the Notre Dame sh...Show More

44:19 | Jan 17th

Vincent van Gogh, the world's oldest human, and conspiracy theories wrapped up inside more conspiracy theories. Happy new year - The Land of Desire is back!

28:51 | Nov 22nd, 2018

This is the story of what happens when the world’s greatest ambition is thwarted by the world’s most inescapable obstacle: bureaucracy. This story has it all: double-crossing, surprise comebacks, and petty warfare - no, I mean really petty warfare.

32:35 | Oct 4th, 2018

This is the story of what happens when the world’s greatest ambition is thwarted by the world’s most inescapable obstacle: bureaucracy. This story has it all: double-crossing, surprise comebacks, and petty warfare - no, I mean really petty warfare. S...Show More

44:50 | Aug 16th, 2018

Cheers! We're celebrating the 2nd anniversary of The Land of Desire with the world's favorite party drink: champagne! We'll explore the mystery and the myth behind this French classic. Why do we drink champagne at weddings? Why do we smash champagne ...Show More

32:09 | Jul 12th, 2018

At last! Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (spoiler alert) finally gets published - and launches Julia into superstardom. From books to TV to newspapers and more, Julia changes the way America eats, drinks, and thinks about food - inc...Show More

40:07 | Jul 12th, 2018

We're back! The story of Julia Child continues as the ex-OSS operative adjusts to civilian life, one failed hobby at a time. When Julia finally discovers her great life's passion, what will she do with it? SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.co...Show More

37:20 | Mar 1st, 2018

"If you're afraid of butter, use cream." CIA operative, adventurer, world changing cook: Learn the improbable story of the late, great Julia Child! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2018/03/01/julia-child-1/

13:46 | Jan 1st, 2018

Today we'll finish tracing the route of the original Tour de France, traveling through the "in between places" - the vast countryside which traditionally held most of the French population. On y va! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2018/...Show More

23:17 | Dec 21st, 2017

Continuing our tour of the French countryside, this week we discuss the phylloxera epidemic which almost wiped out French wine forever. Zut alors! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/12/21/episode-36-a-tou…-france-bordeaux/

40:02 | Dec 14th, 2017

This week we'll continue our miniseries: "A Tour de France": What kind of France exists outside the boundaries of Paris? What kind of France exists in the middle of the countryside? What does someone in Paris have in common with someone in the Pyrené...Show More

24:51 | Nov 9th, 2017

This week we continue our tour of France with a trip to the great melting pot of Marseille. Spices, silks, ideas, and people passed through her ancient port - as well as one seriously unwanted guest. Along the way, we'll trace the history of her most...Show More

25:37 | Oct 26th, 2017

This week, we continue our petit Tour de France to Lyon, where we leave the cityfolk behind and try our best to meet the isolated peasants of the countryside, trying to make a franc out of 15 centimes. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/20...Show More

27:43 | Oct 12th, 2017

We're launching our own Tour de France! For the next six episodes, we'll be tracing the route of the original race, traveling through the "in between places" - the vast countryside which traditionally held most of the French population. Beginning in ...Show More

22:36 | Sep 14th, 2017

The book which represents everything brilliant and everything broken about France is overdue for an edit - and it's sending people into the streets! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/09/14/code-du-travail/

17:03 | Aug 10th, 2017

France is a moveable feast - aristocrats al fresco, one very scandalous luncheon & a meal the length of France itself! Also, this week, I'm announcing an exciting new treat to celebrate the first successful Patreon fundraising campaign - and our 250,...Show More

21:35 | Jul 13th, 2017

It's been a wild ride so far, and I want to celebrate! In this week's anniversary extravaganza I'm answering questions from you, dear listeners, and I'm making some BIG announcements! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/07/13/episode-2...Show More

33:13 | Jun 8th, 2017

What happens when your conquerors are also your customers? How do you defend your country if the other side is keeping your economy afloat? And what if the best way to keep your city safe...is to allow your greatest enemy to walk in through the front...Show More

24:25 | May 25th, 2017

Bottoms up! We duck behind the counter to learn the antics, escapades and espionage of the Hotel Ritz Paris bar. Salut! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/05/25/episode-25-hotel-ritz-paris-bar/

23:10 | May 11th, 2017

Tourist season is here, and Parisian officials are on the lookout for a harmless fad that became a dangerous faux pas. Learn the not-so-ancient history of the love lock, and why you should definitely leave yours at home! SHOW NOTES: http://www.the...Show More

34:13 | Apr 25th, 2017

Claude Monet's love life was like his paintings: From far away, it's OK. But up close? It's a big old mess. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/04/25/episode-23-fours…any-claude-monet/

21:45 | Apr 6th, 2017

The charming story of Parisian beekeepers - you'll never guess where they keep their hives! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/04/06/episode-22-french-bees/

22:20 | Mar 23rd, 2017

We're goin' down, down, down into the catacombs of Paris: sinkholes, skeletons and secret societies, oh my! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/03/23/paris-catacombs/

27:30 | Mar 9th, 2017

Alexandre Dumas fils creates one of the world's great romances...while turning his back on love... SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/03/09/episode-20-alexandre-dumas-part-4/

30:53 | Feb 23rd, 2017

The Land of Desire: A French History Podcast. Large And In Charge: The women, wine and waistlines of the legendary Alexandre Dumas. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2017/02/23/episode-19-alexandre-dumas-part-3/

43:09 | Feb 2nd, 2017

This week, we'll conclude the story of Alexandre Dumas, the general - having risen to the top of the French revolutionary army, no one could have foreseen the ways in which this 18th century Superman - and the nation of France itself - would collapse...Show More

33:15 | Jan 19th, 2017

Alexandre Dumas the war hero, one of the most celebrated generals of his age, who made one tiny mistake and ticked off a colleague of his...who happened to become the most powerful person in Europe. Uh oh. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.co...Show More

22:34 | Jan 5th, 2017

Special thanks to the San Francisco Legion of Honor fine art museum for this episode. This week we'll explore the world of the Le Nain brothers, expert painters of the 17th century. Though they produced magnificent history paintings and society portr...Show More

16:09 | Dec 22nd, 2016

Joyeux Noel! Celebrate Christmas with a pagan ritual to keep the wolves away. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2016/12/22/buche-de-noel/

12:33 | Dec 8th, 2016

100,000 downloads!! Six figures in under six months? Y'all are crazy. This celebration episode includes: a fake war, a forgotten debt, and the time your crazy grandpa tried to influence world affairs. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/201...Show More

31:30 | Nov 17th, 2016

This week, we reveal the stunning conclusion to the Dreyfus Affair, as we explore the reasons for and the relevance of one of the most definitive moments in French history. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2016/11/17/episode-13-the-d…us-...Show More

31:55 | Nov 17th, 2016

In the next to last episode of our miniseries on the Dreyfus Affair, an innocent man gets a second chance at justice - will his torment finally come to an end? SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2016/11/17/episode-12-the-d…us-affair-part-5...Show More

38:59 | Nov 8th, 2016

A treat to keep you entertained while you wait in line at the polling place! In this episode, the conspiracy reaches a breaking point as those plotting against Alfred Dreyfus encounter their greatest fear: an honorable man. SHOW NOTES: http://www....Show More

29:40 | Nov 3rd, 2016

Emile Zola, world famous author, launches the Dreyfus Affair from a minor scandal to an international outrage...and pays the price! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2016/11/03/episode-10-the-d…us-affair-part-3/

37:08 | Oct 20th, 2016

While Alfred adjusts to life on Devil's Island, the unlikeliest of heroes discovers the real spy...and will stop at nothing to reveal the truth! SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2016/10/20/dreyfus-affair-2/

29:58 | Oct 20th, 2016

When a French soldier named Alfred Dreyfus was arrested for treason, his case became the trial of the century. There was just one teensy little problem...Alfred was innocent! Over the next six weeks we'll take on the crime of the century: a tale of b...Show More

21:10 | Oct 6th, 2016

Escargot is right up there with frogs legs and brie when it comes to iconic French food - but the only reason the French eat escargot today is because some desperate refugees from the Germany border hitched their way into Paris with a snail and a dre...Show More

27:50 | Sep 22nd, 2016

I wish I could devote an entire series to Berthe's story, but today I'm going to focus on one of the more interesting, and underpublicized, aspects of her life: her complex relationship with Edouard Manet...and his brother, Eugene. Zut alors! Christm...Show More

07:52 | Sep 15th, 2016

Surprise! I'm celebrating 10,000 downloads with a bonus episode about the French President's secret $10,000 a month habit and the days when ladies were sticking wax parrots in their hair. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2016/09/15/bonus...Show More

21:43 | Sep 8th, 2016

Explore the seedy "half-world" of golden age Paris, home to the part-time prostitutes and glamorous courtesans who would become the enduring image of the Belle Epoque. SHOW NOTES: http://www.thelandofdesire.com/2016/09/08/prostitutes-belle-epoque/

29:56 | Aug 25th, 2016

This week's episode marks the beginning of a series I'm really excited about: La Belle Époque, the Golden Age of Paris. In the years following the destruction of the city by city planners, invading armies and local uprisings, Paris became more wondro...Show More

28:28 | Aug 11th, 2016

As happens every four years, I'm currently obsessed with the Olympics. Let's revisit how the whole spectacle was started by an oddball Frenchman with a dream in his heart. The earliest modern Olympics were lovable slow-motion disasters - drunk marath...Show More

23:50 | Jul 28th, 2016

For our second episode, we're going to focus on war, food, and how much a country's food culture is the result of military conflict. If that sounds boring, how about this: today we're going to talk about that time Paris ate its own zoo animals. SH...Show More

29:57 | Jul 12th, 2016

Today, France celebrates itself with parades, picnics, and of course, the traditional fireworks. July 14th - "Bastille Day" to Americans - is the anniversary of the storming of an ancient royal fortress in 1789, which effectively kicked off the Fren...Show More

02:45 | Jun 30th, 2016

Introducing The Land of Desire: a fun, educational romp through French history and culture!