Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Americans in Paris

A United States citizen can never feel too far from home in Paris. Her compatriots are everywhere, and I'm not talking about the hordes of loud tourists who hang out near the Eiffel Tower and wear clothes they obviously did not buy in France. No, I'm talking about Paris' permanent Land of the Free residents: the endless statues, street names, buildings, and monuments dedicated to our country.

At first you notice the street names. There's Avenue du Président Kennedy, Rue Benjamin Franklin, and Avenue de New York. There's even the Place des États-Unis - an entire square dedicated to us by our oldest ally. There are buildings such as The American Embassy, The American Church, and The American University of Paris. There is a bar dedicated to the memory of Hemingway, a mini replica of the Statue of Liberty, and a metro station named after Franklin D. Roosevelt. It's enough to make you forgot that you're actually in a foreign country!

Of all the American sightings in Paris, the statue of Thomas Jefferson is quite possibly my favorite. I only recently discovered him, looking all Founding Father-ish down by the Seine, but I've been a fan of his for years. It's no surprise he's been honored by the French. For starters, Jefferson modeled Monticello after the Hôtel de Salm, or Palais de la Légion d'Honneur, in Paris. He was a man of the Enlightenment and spent time with many French intellectuals, and he was a strong supporter of France in its war against Britain during his time as Secretary of State. Oh, and he also loved French wines. Of course, he did complete the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon effectively stripping France of a large portion of its overseas territory, but that's all in the past.

Americans love Thomas Jefferson as well. He's all over the United States; on money, Mount Rushmore and, of course, the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. In that American city of monuments I've always thought that his was the best. I'm happy to report that has has not settled for less in Paris.


Marion said...

Nice blog post Tanya!

I think I'm gonna start writing a similar article on Rome :)

Tanya said...

A great idea! I bet there are tons of equally American sightings in Rome. Look forward to reading the post.

home based travel agent said...

My grandma was born in france :)