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Tag: History

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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...

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Jean-Pierre Laffont, the Darkness of America

From Martin Luther King’s funeral to the Ku Klux Klan camps in Alabama, New York-based French photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont captured the darkness and violence of America. The end of the dream. The Algerian-born French man arrived in New York City in 1965 at the age of 30 to discover a country in the throes of transformation. He stepped into the...

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Perspective Through Exile: James Baldwin in France

A key figure in the fight against discrimination and for civil rights in the United States, African-American novelist James Baldwin was born in Harlem in 1924. Fleeing racism in America, he arrived in Paris in 1948. France was where he wrote his most famous works, such as Notes of a Native Son (1955), Giovanni’s Room (1956) and Just Above My Head...

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Occupied Paris by Janet Flanner

Writing under the pen name of Genêt, Janet Flanner (1892-1978) was the daughter of a Quaker from Indianapolis who spent fifty years brilliantly portraying Parisian life in her "Letters from Paris" for the New Yorker. Swept up in the politics of the 1930s, she gradually abandoned her neutral stance and invented a new form of journalism. She was forced to...

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George Withers, an Illustrator at War

Seventy-five years ago, on May 8, 1945, Corporal George Withers was in Paris. The war in Europe had ended, and the American artist was painting the national outpouring of joy, scenes of jubilation in Paris, and the victory marches. “Today, I saw Churchill, Anthony Eden, and De Gaulle leading the Armistice Day parade,” he wrote in a letter to his...

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Notre-Dame de Paris: Eight Centuries of History

From the birth of the project to the finishing touches, the documentary Notre-Dame de Paris, The Secrets of the Builders looks back at the life of this architectural gem on Ile de la Cité in Paris, using animated images in a blend of historical facts and fictional anecdotes. We talked with director Emmanuel Blanchard to find out more. France-Amérique: You condensed...

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The Forgotten French Pioneers of the American Frontier

We have heard of officers Lewis and Clark and their expedition across the Rockies in 1804-1806. But who remembers Toussaint Charbonneau, their French-speaking guide? Or Pierre Gambie, an interpreter working with the Timucua tribe in Florida during the 1560s? America’s French past has been hidden, according to historian Gilles Havard, research director at the CNRS and author of a book...