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Tag: History

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FrancoFiles, a Rendez-Vous for Francophiles in the United States

France-Amérique has teamed up with the podcast produced by the French embassy in Washington D.C., whose second season will be launched on January 12. Upcoming themes include the American Library in Paris, the Marquis de Lafayette’s tour of the United States, and Francophone and American comics! Representing France in the United States, defending its interests, and protecting its citizens are...

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King Cake: A Louisianian Tradition with French Roots

The cake that accompanies Epiphany, or Three Kings' Day, can take different shapes: a round galette made with puff pastry and enjoyed plain or filled with frangipane in Central and Northern France; a brioche crown, often decorated with candied fruit, in the South of France. The latter version can also be found in Louisiana! Round, golden, crispy king cake contains...

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Picto and Magnum Photos: A Parallel History

For more than seventy years, the French photo lab Picto has expressed the visions of photographers from the Magnum Photos agency, founded in New York in 1947. This transatlantic collaboration is as successful as it is historical, and is the focus of an exhibition open through December 20 at the Richard Taittinger Gallery in New York. Robert Capa’s renowned photo...

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The Transatlantic Travels of an American Bird

Turkeys are the centerpieces of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and are as American as apple pie and Coca-Cola. This bird appeared in the Americas around one million years ago before arriving in Europe, becoming a favorite at the royal court of Louis XIV and across the French kingdom! Turkeys were long a source of confusion for Europeans. Christopher Columbus, who...

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“Versailles Is Part of the American Landscape”

Everyone needs a Rockefeller. Even France, even Versailles! This stubborn gem of French art was restored to its former glory by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife Abby during the 1920s. Dozens of American philanthropists have since followed in their footsteps and contributed to the restoration of one of the best-known and most-visited buildings on the planet. Last year...

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The Most Beautiful French Gardens in the United States

With their elegant designs imposing order on nature, formal French gardens make it possible to satisfy an art fix while remaining outdoors. The following stateside versions are currently open to visitors. Nemours Estate Wilmington, Delaware An American take on the Petit Trianon, Marie-Antoinette’s private retreat on the grounds of Versailles, Nemours boasts the country’s grandest French-style gardens. The 1910 mansion,...

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The French Revolution Storms onto Netflix

Epic, graphic, fantastical, and staunchly modern, La Révolution will be available on Netflix in France and the United States on October 16. The new series offers a Tarantino-esque revamp of French history and the birth of democracy. The words Ni roi ni maître (“No king nor master”) are painted across the walls of a burning castle. In the main courtyard,...

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African-American Legacy in the City of Lights

Many African-Americans came to Paris in the 20th century, and their legacy lives on. But where, exactly? France-Amérique turned to Entrée to Black Paris, a company run by American expats offering guided tours of the city with a focus on Black culture. With their help, we have identified six spots in the capital associated with famous African-Americans in search of...

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Auguste Escoffier and the Birth of Modern Gastronomy

Auguste Escoffier, a chef, businessman, and genius inventor, changed French culinary arts forever. Director Olivier Julien has retraced the history of this man in touch with his time in a thorough, original docudrama to discover on TV5MONDE USA on October 14. France-Amérique: Did you know about Escoffier before looking deeper into his story? Olivier Julien: I had heard of him,...

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“The Napoleonic Legend Remains Widespread in the United States”

Alexander Mikaberidze is a professor of European history at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. He is the author of several books on Napoleon and has recently published a masterpiece, The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History, which shows how the French emperor changed the world. France-Amérique: Why are there are several Napoleonic research centers in the U.S., including in Louisiana and...

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Monet and Chicago, an Impressionist Love Story

Claude Monet never set foot in Chicago — or in the United States for that matter. However, he enjoyed tremendous success there from the 1890s onwards thanks to his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, the man who put Impressionism on the map, and a number of influential local collectors. This “collective passion” for the French painter is the subject of an exhibition...

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Summer 1945, American GIs at the Sorbonne

After the end of the war in Europe, a challenge remained: What could be used to occupy the thousands of idle, impatient U.S. soldiers awaiting repatriation? The top brass delivered an answer: Send them to university! In record time, American study centers shot up in Paris, Nancy, Biarritz, and several other French cities. Picture the scene: At the prestigious Louis-le-Grand...

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Seventy-Five Years Ago, France-Amérique Explained the Atomic Bomb

The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by an incredibly powerful bomb on August 6 and 9, 1945. In its August 19, 1945 edition, France-Amérique published a front-page feature and a rare popular science article by Jacques Errera. The Belgian physicist discussed nuclear fission and shared his vision of the future of the atomic age. “The atomic bomb...

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The Pursuit of Happiness

The United States is one of the rare countries to include the right to happiness in its national constitution. But what happens when the machine breaks down and the dream dissipates, fractured by racial discrimination? The United States is founded on a widely shared myth drawn from the Declaration of Independence: the right to the “pursuit of happiness,” an expression...

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Off with Her Head (of Marketing)!

While the monarchy is often perceived as outdated in France, it continues to inspire a certain fascination in the United States. There are now countless brands and consumer products that reference Versailles, Louis XIV, and Marie-Antoinette, all of which have become often-kitsch symbols of French luxury. “Give your home the royal treatment with our antique collections and regal bed, bath...

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One Fair Month of July

Independence Day (July 4) and Bastille Day (July 14) share more than a month. From the beginning, our two revolutions were linked by a diplomatic and military alliance, by personal friendships, and a common philosophy. On July 2, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail: “This day will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the Day of Deliverance by...

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Three Colors

Why do the French and American flags share the same colors? Is it a coincidence? No one knows who designed these two flags, but there are a few clues. For the thirteen original colonies marked by British culture, and whose officers, most notably George Washington, had served in the occupying army, blue, white and red were already familiar shades used...

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The French Origin of Robert E. Lee’s Statue in Virginia

Just like the Statue of Liberty in its time, the controversial representation of the confederate general, which has been the target of anti-racism protests, was made in Paris before being sent to the United States in 1890. “A contest has been launched for the design of a monument to General Robert E. Lee in Richmond. All participants’ models and plans...

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The Best Podcasts for Francophiles

A selection of podcasts (in English) for those seeking a French culture fix while waiting out uncertain times – or anytime! The Land of Desire The Land of Desire is an engaging one-woman show about French history and culture hosted by San Francisco-based Francophile Diana Stegall. Whether discussing Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette; Napoleon’s “tiniest campaign”; or the Dreyfus affair, she...

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The French, History’s All-Time Losers?

The French excel when it comes to patisserie and haute couture, but are supposedly terrible in warfare with lily-livered soldiers going from one defeat to the next. This cliché has been peddled in the United States since the Wehrmacht entered Paris on June 14, 1940, and the French army surrendered eight days later. “Bonjourrrrr, you cheese-eating surrender monkeys!” This is...

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Toppling Statues

In the wake of George Floyd's death, protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have reignited the debate over controversial statues. In this opinion piece published in 2017, France-Amérique explored the complex connection between remembrance and history through an American example, Robert E. Lee, and a French one, Marshal Pétain. The French will not be surprised by the...