Appreciating Americans in Paris
I often wonder if the French, and particularly the Parisians, appreciate what Americans have contributed to France on a regular basis and for a very long time. Their history tells them that there have been many Americans of note that have made a serious mark on their landscape — Americans such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, but also entertainers such as Joséphine Baker, Nina Simone, Olivia de Havilland, Isadora Duncan and Jodie Foster; writers such as Francis Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway…and the list goes on and on and on in all walks of life…too many to count.
According to the American Embassy in Paris, as of 2010, there were about 100,000 American citizens residing in France. In the 19th-century, it is estimated that more than 50,000 free blacks emigrated to Paris from Louisiana in the decades after the Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803. Because Paris was the art capital of the world, at that same time, artists flocked to France who formed the largest contingent of foreign painters and sculptors, but others, such as writers, businesspeople and diplomats sought permanent residence here, too.
The African American community grew in particular after World War I when 90 per cent of the black soldiers came from the U.S. South and found a free haven in France escaping the Jim Crow laws which sanctioned racial oppression and segregation in their homeland. This was at the time when jazz was introduced to the French and there’s no denying how much the French love jazz!
During World War II there were about 5,000 Americans living in Paris who got caught up in the war, not easy for both the African Americans and the Jewish Americans, however, the Germans allowed a few American institutions to remain open such as the American Hospital, the American library, the American Church (the first American Church established outside of the U.S.), the American Chamber of Commerce as well as a variety of other organizations.
Students come to France in the droves (about 17,000 per year) for such programs as “Junior Year Abroad” and retirees love France for all the cultural attributes it has to offer. In spite of their long-time residence in France, most Americans remain very loyal to their roots and identity as Americans. Any American now moving to France will discover that soon enough.
Here are a few events, or things of interests, by Americans living in and loving France, that you can partake of:
JOAN MINOR QUARTET PLAYING AT LOU PASCALOU SUNDAY NIGHT
The Joan Minor Quartet will be playing Sunday, October 29th at Lou Pascalou Caféé, 14 rue Panoyaux, Paris 20th, Metro: Menilmontant, showtime starts at 19h30 and there’s no cover charge! Playing: Joan Minor (Vocals), Michael Dravigny (Piano), Etienne Brachet (Drums) and Christian Duperray (Bass)
CHAMPAGNE PROBLEMS IN PARIS: OUR LATEST HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL
Monday evening on U.S. time, our latest episode of House Hunters International aired on HGTV. The popular TV show is by Americans for Americans and features Americans living in Paris. In this episode, “Chef Krista went to France to become a sommelier and then decided to sell her California home and move to Paris permanently. With the market booming and home prices in Paris on the rise, Krista calls on her best friend, Stanley, to help her invest her life savings. She wants the cafe culture of central Paris with a big enough space to entertain. For better or worse, Stanley won’t let her settle, even if her small budget requires some concessions.”
For a short time, HGTV offers the episode free on its site, as long as you have a U.S. cable TV provider. They also post it on Youtube.com for public viewing for a limited time.
PARIS SUNRISE BY CARSTEN SPROTTE
Every morning, American in Paris Carsten Sprotte*, rises early and heads out with his camera to photograph the sunrise on the river. He has well over one hundred photos, not only of the Seine but also of every single bridge and most well-know places in Paris (although he’s still working on that). His most recent production was published on Aug 27, 2017 — 40 unique dawns in Paris, captured between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. during the summer of 2017. The succession of photos moves from earliest to latest, and covers the bridges of the Seine from the Pont de Sully to the Pont Alexandre III. The music is by George Gershwin, “Love is here to stay,” arranged and performed by Yehudi Menuhin and Stéphane Grappelli. The slide show was created using studio.stupeflix.com/.
You can see the slideshow yourself.
PARIS NOIR: AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE CITY OF LIGHT
Americans David and Joanne Burke have collaborated on many films in Paris — she as Director/Editor and he as Writer/Cameraman. In 2016, they launched their comprehensive one-hour documentary film, PARIS NOIR, African Americans in the City of Light, the culmination of a 15-year labor of love. In 2017, Joanne and David launched a book to go along with PARIS NOIR with the title “When African Americans Came to Paris: A Film Companion.” In 2012, Julia Browne joined the team with Joanne and David as partner and Associate Producer.
Après Midi welcomes Joanne and David Burke, in the presentation of “PARIS NOIR, African Americans in the City of Light” on December 12, 2017 from 3 to 5 p.m. — the film will be in English.
On November 14th, the documentary will be featured from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in French at the Paris Hôtel de Ville! There are only 190 free seats for PARIS NOIR at the Hôtel de Ville, so if you wish to attend, now’s your chance to reserve your seat (RSVP no later than October 20th).
To reserve, email:[email protected]
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. Do you dream of being able to take part in events like this in Paris? You can be, and we can help make that dream come true! We offer services for as much or as little as you may need to make it so. Contact us today