In France, two new tourist destinations have opened at sites associated with Eleanor of Aquitaine

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In an age when women were pawns in geopolitical alliances, Eleanor was recognized for her authority, diplomacy and political sagacity — a legend in ballads even in her own time. Over the centuries, this fascination has only increased, perception colored by successive contemporary lenses. “In the 19th century, Jules Michelet, who wrote the French history textbook for schools, detested Eleanor, because she had abandoned the French king,” explained Sébastien Lefebvre, a guide in Poitiers. “In the romantic period, the public became interested in this woman who lived her loves and passions. And today, what we esteem is that this woman of the Middle Ages succeeded in imposing her will in an age when women weren’t allowed to speak their minds.”

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