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Sister Cities Lunch In Paris

A little birdie in the Hôtel de Ville told me that Anthony Williams, the Mayor of Washington, DC, is lunching with Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë tomorrow at 1 p.m. He’s arriving in Paris today by way of Brussels.

The meeting will enable them to discuss projects of co-operation between the two Capitals, in particular in the cultural fields, as well as the reinforcement of the bonds which link Washington and Paris.

One bond so visible to all of us is the resemblance Washington has with Paris. As the seat of the U.S. government and symbol of the nation, it was laid out by a Frenchman! Pierre Charles L’Enfant, designed the street plan of what was then called “Federal City” with broad boulevards like those that Baron Haussmann gave Paris, and its buildings echo ancient Rome and Athens. Born in France (August 2, 1754), he came to to the American colonies with Lafayette and became closely identified with the United States, adopting the name Peter.

Because of his irascible personality, L’Enfant’s plan for the Federal City was only partially executed during his lifetime. In 1901 the McMillan Commission rediscovered the layout and used it as the cornerstone of its 1902 report, which laid out a plan for a sweeping National Mall.

In spite of the fact that the US Congress renamed french fries and french toast in its three cafeterias to “freedom fries” and “freedom toast,” the Francophile community in DC is very active. The Alliance Française there is one 150 around the United States and hosts a variety of cultural events, including a Beaujolais Nouveau party tomorrow night and monthly conversation groups.

We also see lots of Washingtonians here in Paris, both regular visitors and residents…and I wonder if both Mayors are even aware that they share so much in common.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. If you click on, you can see a video online of Mayor Williams with a Welcome Message to Washington!


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