French and foreign, residents and travelers, famous, infamous, historical, crafty, creative or simply encountered along the way, these are the people we meet and the people, past or present, whose lives (and sometimes deaths) inform us about the places and cultures we visit.

Benjamin Franklin, a Philadelphian Who Lived the American Dream in Paris, Then Went Home

Shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin accepted a mission from the Continental Congress to seeking an alliance with...
July 4, changing of the American flag at Lafayette's Tomb, Picpus Cemetery, Paris

Lafayette and the American Flag: The Fourth of July Ceremony

“Lafayette, we are here!” Those words are often attributed to U.S. General John Pershing when, on July 4, 1917, having arrived in France with the...

Insights into French Identity: 2012 National Commemorations in France

Every year the National Archives of France selects events of historical significance to highlight as national commemorations on the occasion of a multiple of their centennial or semicentennial, providing insights into the French national identity.

Street Art: Gilles Sacksick, the Animal Painter… and Artist

A photo vignette about street art and scaffolding covers, featuring animals at the National Veterinary School in Maisons-Alforts, a wall painted with attitude in Paris's 10th arrondissement and the capital's historical judicial complex where, sadly, everyone is now sentenced to Life.

An Interview with Heather Stimmler-Hall

Heather Stimmler-Hall could be poster child for American junior year abroad programs, or perhaps a cautionary tale. In either case, Heather has done what many American students...

Olivier Dirson, WWI battlefield guide: one history leads to another

Touring WWI sites of Picardy, north of Paris, with Olivier Dirson, a French guide with an intriguing personal history.
Gabrielle Renard and Jean Renoir by Auguste Renoir in Essoyes. Photo Janet Hulstrand.

The Painter’s Wife: Aline Charigot Renoir and the Renoir Home in Essoyes

As the village of Essoyes in southern Champagne prepares to open Renoir’s home to the public and the surrounding department of Aube celebrates this as the Year of Renoir, Janet Hulstrand, a part-time American resident of Essoyes, examines the life of Aline Charigot Renoir, wife of the artist and mother of three artists.

France Elevates Poet Aimé Césaire to Status of “Great Man” at Pantheon

April 6, 2011 – Little noticed and scantily attended on a warm and sunny spring day, France showed its gratitude to one of its...

Do the Rooftops of Paris Have “Outstanding Universal Value”?

Looking out over the rooftops of the city the view is romantic for some, lusty grey for others, a commercial dream for roofers—altogether Paris. In recent months the most attractive view over the capital has been from District Hall of the 9th arrondissement, where District Mayor Delphine Bürkli is spearheading the committee to present the rooftops of Paris as a candidate for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Private Paris & France Tours

Award-winning travel writer and editor Gary Lee Kraut is the go-to guy for individuals and agencies seeking personalized tours, events and advice in Paris and throughout France.

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