Valley Forge park, PA.

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Though there was no battle at Valley Forge, George Washington and the Continental Army fought valiantly here, against hunger, disease and the harsh winter. Those six months are some of the most important in American history; that’s why Valley Forge Park is a must-see attraction.

It is September 1777. The War for American Independence, in its second year, is in an uneasy stalemate. The Continental Army, led by General George Washington, scored two successes in late 1776 with victories at Trenton and Princeton. The British however, under General Sir William Howe, control New York City. Looking to put an end to the rebellion, Howe sets his eyes on Philadelphia, the American capital and seat of the Continental Congress.

Washington and the Continental Army are encamped at Morristown, New Jersey to keep an eye on the British in New York. The British make their move as Howe sails his troops out of the New York City harbor.

Washington doesn’t know where they are headed yet. He receives a report that they are nearing the mouth of the Delaware River, but the British keep sailing south. Was Howe heading to South Carolina?

The fleet lands in the Chesapeake Bay, putting Philadelphia in great danger. Washington rushes south to defend his nation’s capital.

Reeling from crushing losses and a relentless bombardment by the British, Washington’s army limps into the quiet village of Valley Forge on December 19. Many had no boots or shoes, and their feet were bound in rags to protect against the icy, frozen roads. Exhausted, the 12,000 troops begin building 1,000 log huts for the winter encampment. By February, death, disease, and desertions reduce the number at camp to 6,000.

Washington knew if they were to win, the troops needed to be reinvigorated and properly trained. Former Prussian Officer Baron Friedrich Von Steuben tirelessly drills the soldiers, teaching them how to load their weapons faster and execute advanced battle formations. He works directly with the men, and his enthusiastic energy transforms them into an effective fighting force. By June of 1778, the camp is alive with excitement and a renewed determination. Although no actual battle took place at Valley Forge, a decisive victory of will had been won. Washington’s army was now prepared to face the British and give birth to a new nation.

The Louvre

The Louvre, in its successive architectural metamorphoses, has dominated central Paris since the late 12th century. Built on the city’s western edge, the original structure was gradually engulfed as the city grew. The dark fortress of the early days was transformed into the modernized dwelling of François I and, later, the sumptuous palace of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Here we explore the history of this extraordinary edifice and of the museum that has occupied it since 1793.

During the forty-three-year reign of Philippe Auguste (1180–1223), the power and influence of the French monarchy grew considerably, both inside and outside the kingdom. In 1190, a rampart was built around Paris, which was Europe’s biggest city at the time. To protect the capital from the Anglo-Norman threat, the king decided to reinforce its defenses with a fortress, which came to be known as the Louvre. It was built to the west of the city, on the banks of the Seine.

In the mid-14th century, Paris spread far beyond Philippe Auguste’s original wall. With the onset of the Hundred Years’ War, further defenses were needed for the French capital. Etienne Marcel, provost of the merchants of Paris, instigated the construction of an earth rampart (1356–58), which was continued and developed under Charles V. The new defenses encompassed the neighborhoods on the right bank of the Seine. Enclosed within the expanding city, the Louvre lost its defensive function.

After the death of Charles VI, the Louvre slumbered for a century until 1527, when François I decided to take up residence in Paris. The Grosse Tour (the medieval keep) was demolished, affording still more light and space. The medieval Louvre gave way to a Renaissance palace.

The demolition of the Grosse Tour marked the beginning of a new phase of building work that would continue through to the reign of Louis XIV. The transformation of François I’s château continued under Henri II and his sons. However, the construction of the Tuileries palace some 500 meters to the west led to a rethinking of the site. Ambitious royal plans to link the two buildings culminated in the creation of the Grande Galerie.

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Chicago

There is a “je ne sais quoi” that attracts me in Chicago. I love this huge city where all you hope is there. May be not at winter time…

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Its an enormous city but you do not feel lost and I would say that Chicago is a group of villages. Just a few blocks away and the ambiance is so different.

The pleasant lake side, the business center, the parc, the small green district with so many restaurants, the luxury shopping area and so much more.

At my first visit I felt in the charm of the windy city.

I recomand a cruise and I choosed the architectural cruise. You can as well, rent a byke.

A must is to go at the top of the Sears tower. However I was not brave enough to walk on the glass floor above nothing.

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The parc is huge and so nice, the bean is the master piece with the Buckingham fountain and the huge quantity of art you will discover make you visit a great moment.

All the tourist guides will tell you much more.

There is so much to see in Chicago. I just wanted to share my joy for this wonderful city and hope you will have the chance to go there yourself.

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