• France's news in English

Eleven other things France has given the US

Oliver Gee · 17 Jun 2015, 16:05

Published: 17 Jun 2015 16:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Jun 2015 16:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
French women and their looks

(Photo: AFP)
With the Americans sick of yo-yo diets and quick tips for losing weight, Frenchwoman Mireille Guiliano rocked America's socks off with her book French Women Don't Get Fat in 2004, which raced to number one on The New York Times Bestseller list.
Of course, she was criticized for presenting idealized versions of women who live in a few chic neighbourhoods in Paris, but she certainly contributed to a revolution that allowed her to pen two more best-sellers "French Women for all Seasons" and "French Women Don't Get Facelifts".
Washington DC
The layout of the capital of the United States of America was basically all thanks to the hand of Frenchman Pierre Charles L'Enfant, who fought in the War of Independence then hung around to become a city planner for George Washington.
He turned what was then a hilly, forest-covered sprawling area into a the city that it is today, known for its wide avenues and public squares.
Indeed, this city could be the biggest physical gift to come from the French. Read a lot more about it here
French fries
(Photo: Adam Kuban/Flickr)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, French fries might have originated in Belgium - but we'll never know for sure and they're called "French" fries anyway. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson apparently ate "potatoes served in the French manner" at a White House dinner in 1802?
Speaking of Thomas Jefferson...
Washington DC's Thomas Jefferson Building

(Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr)
"What? That's not French!" you say. "That was designed by three American architects!" You're partly right. The building was indeed an American design, but did you know it was inspired by the Palais Garnier, better known as the Paris Opera House? Compare the two pictures and see for yourself. 

(Photo: Istvan/Flickr)
A parenting style to admire

(Photo: TheGiantVermin/Flickr)
A few years ago, the concept of French parenting went viral in the United States. The Wall Street Journal went as far as to blast the headline "Why French Parents Are Superior" across its website.
The basic idea is that being a bit of "tough love" can raise better-behaved children, and the whole world seemed curious. Whether it's the right way to raise your children or not is for you to decide, but if you raise perfectly well-behaved children thanks to a few of those tips, then you can be sure to thank the French for that too. 
General Lafayette

(Photo: WikiCommons)
We wouldn't go as far as saying a French general gave the US its independence... but it wouldn't be a stretch. Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette - or General Lafayette in short - was a key figure in the War of Independence and scored a decisive victory over the British in 1781.
He crossed the Atlantic in just 38 days - a voyage that confirmed his renown as a hero of the American Revolution. They've even remade his frigate, Hermione, 235 years on for another memorial crossing. 

(Photo: AFP)
At least 42 US counties and cities and hundreds of streets and squares -- including the famed Lafayette Square opposite the White House -- are named after him or after his ancestral home in France, La Grange.
A hugely popular travel destination
Where do Americans go on holiday (if they want to leave their own country)? France of course.
L'Hexagon, as France is also known, is among the most popular holiday destinations for Americans.
Story continues below…
The New York Times reported that an estimated 2.49 million Americans will visit France in 2015, which makes it just a fraction away from being the most popular travel destination in Europe. In fact, it's only the UK that will be more popular in Europe among Americans with 2.54 million expected to visit this year. That means France is the fourth most popular international destination for Americans in general, after Mexico, Canada, and the UK.
A champion basketball player

(Tony Parker takes it past LeBron James. Photo: AFP)
Tony Parker, a basketball star for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, is arguably the best French athlete in American sports. He's loyal (has played with the Spurs since his rookie season in 2001), he's a winner (he steered the team to four championships), and he moves like an assassin on the court. If you're not into basketball, you might remember him as the ex-husband of Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria.
New Orleans

(Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr)
New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi river, was once owned by the French. In fact, Napoleon sold the whole state of Louisiana to the US for $15 million back in 1803 to keep it out of the hands of the British. Now, the city has a thriving French quarter (known as Vieux Carrée) where you can see everything from classic French architecture to cafes and restaurants named after characters from France's history pages.

Global superstar French economist Thomas Piketty

Piketty seemed to be nothing more than an ordinary economist until his book "Capital in the 21st Century" shot him to fame worldwide, but particularly in the US, where his work topped the New York Times bestseller list.

It was in the US, a country with one of the greatest levels of inequality, that his work to explain how the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer really struck a chord. It earned him a trip to the White House to meet the president’s advisors and Barack Obama made tackling the issue a top priority.

Whether he has or not remains to be seen, but Frenchman Piketty did his bit.

Lastly of course, The Statue of Liberty

(Photo: Grufnik/Flickr)
Yes, 130 years ago to this day, French steamer Isère made its grand entrance into the New York port with what would become a 93-metre-high statue in its cargo. The statue, which weighs 204 tonnes and is visited by almost 100 million people a year, was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, with the help of Gustave Eiffel.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available