In the middle of the 18th century, on the north side of the Palais Royal gardens in Paris, there stood a magnificent chestnut tree called the Tree of Cracow. In his presidential address to the American Historical Association in 2000, Robert Darnton explained that the name Cracow probably derived from the heated debates that took place in Paris during the War of the Polish Succession, but also from the French verb craquer: to tell dubious stories.
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