How many of your heros are French? How many of your favorite movie actors, singers, composers, writers are French? You might be surprised to know how many American heros and celebrities have French fans.
In Normandy I met a stamp collector who collected only John F. Kennedy stamps from around the world.
This past October-November ’07 Stephane Olry’s play Les Treize Semaines de la Vertu was written and performed based on the thirteen weeks of virtues described by Benjamin Franklin.
“Benjamin Franklin often practised his Thirteen weeks of virtue – with week after week of sobriety, silence, order, steadfastness, thriftiness, application, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, peace of mind and chastity. Instilled by this “recipe for living”, Stéphane Olry undertook a writing project bound by certain rules, now delivered in a format between performance and exhibition.”
Ben Franklin is getting even more exposure at the City of Paris’s history museum, Musee Carnavalet where an exhibited devoted to one of America’s most important founders basks in the attentions of Parisian society. (Ben would have liked to have known that he still finds a welcome home in the City of Lights – where he spent many a happy hour).
When you go to France, be prepared to answer some questions about American heros – but also get to know a little about some of France’s heros and celebrities.
General Charles de Gaulle was the voice that occupied France listened to over clandestine radios- their hope for a liberation from the Germans during World War II. Only de Gaulle can pronounce the words ‘La France’ with all the grandeur and heartfelt patriotism that comes from having lost and regained one’s country.
Vercingetorix – the Battle of Alesia. Ask any kid about Vercingetorix and he will probably tell you that Vercingetorix was a brave warrior – we’re talking about France B.C. when the concept of France as an actual nation wasn’t quite there yet. Asterix comic books are the reason French kids know this party of their history so well (not necessarily French history classes in school!)
Chaban, France’s rugby player in the recent World Cup, has been compared to a modern-day Vercingetorix because of his long-flowing hair and wildman attitude.
Louis Pasteur made your milk safe to drink. Surprisingly, he may be a hero to you, but not so much to the French – who prefer their cheeses – especially Camembert – unpasteurized. He also made you safe from rabies.
His discoveries as a scientist are well respected and an institute in his name continues to search for cures to diseases – the Pasteur Institute in Paris. There’s also a Louis Pasteur museum devoted to the man’s scientific discoveries.
25, rue du Docteur Roux
Closed in August.
The Lumiere brothers discovered the elements of motion pictures – or ‘cinema’ in Paris. LIkewise, photography pioneers such as Daguerre (the daguerrotype)
and Nadar were located in Paris.
Who is my French hero?
I have two: Joan of Arc and the Marquis de Lafayette
Without Joan of Arc, there many not have been a France.
Without the Marquis de Lafayette, there may not have been a United States.