We had several "must see" venues for my companion who is a volunteer guide in the French language at the American Museum of Natural History; I've reviewed each of those sites here on TripAdvisor.
I was awarded one site and relied on the wonderful "Atlas Obscura" to guide our steps. It led us to something truly strange and wonderful -- two gigantic globes.
The 20-foot spheres were commissioned by King Louis XIV, France’s Sun King, in 1681. During his 72-year reign (the longest in European history, dubbed the “Grand Century”) the monarch presided over a golden age of art and literature in France, and established the country as a leading power in Europe.
Louis XIV commissioned the spheres after seeing the globes that belonged to his friend, the Duke of Parma. They instantly became a sensation, perceived as a symbol of the the French monarchy’s ownership of the world. Italian cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli delicately crafted his globes from thin strips of wood, fine fabric, and plaster, which incredibly have survived up till today. The spheres lived at Versailles—a former hunting lodge which Louis XIV transformed into a lavish palace—until the French Revolution, after which they were moved from place to place before finally settling at the historic library, where they are among the most popular attractions on display.
We plan to use the same guidebook elsewhere; I'm working through each of the New York City entries now.
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