Here you will find a page on sister cities, biographies of Americans who lived in France, a list of places in Paris which have a strong historical or cultural relation with the United States, and a list of U.S. films which take place in France.
Cités Unies France
Created in 1975, Cités Unies France (CUF) unites approximately 500 participating French municipalities of all sizes, levels, and political affiliations into a decentralized, federal organization. On the international level, Cities Unies has established 21 bilateral country teams (including one for France/United States), as well as 4 theme-based working groups. In total, the network of Cités Unies France includes over 2,000 local municipalities all over the world. This network structure allows the participant cities to share their experiences as well as to plan for future collaborations.
The missions of Cités Unies France are 1) to provide information, strategic advice, structural support and logistical assistance to those territories interested in developing international partnerships, and 2) to participate in the dialogue on decentralized cooperation in France and throughout the world.
Cités Unies France is a nationally-based partner group of Sister Cities International and serves as the representative of the participating French municipalities in the larger organization.
The President of Cités Unies France is Mr. Charles Josselin, and the acting President is Mr. Bernard Stasi, who was also a founder of the association. Since 1998, Mr. Bertrand Gallet has served as the Director of Cités Unies France.
Sister Cities International
Sister Cities International is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that creates and strengthens partnerships between U.S. and international communities. They strive to build global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding, and to stimulate economic development. By motivating and empowering private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders, the organization aims to establish and maintain long-term sister city programs. Sister city partnerships involve two-way communication and are designed to mutually benefit partnering communities.
The missions of Sister Cities International are 1) to develop municipal partnerships between U.S. cities, counties, and states and similar jurisdictions in other nations ; 2) to provide opportunities for city officials and citizens to experience and explore other cultures through long-term community partnerships ; 3) to create an atmosphere in which economic and community development can be implemented and strengthened ; 4) to stimulate environments through which communities will creatively learn, work, and solve problems together through reciprocal cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional and technical exchanges and projects ; and 5) to collaborate with organizations in the United States and other countries which share similar goals.
The Transatlantic Circle is an informal network of think tanks in France working on transatlantic issues. The Circle was launched in February 2009. Members’ websites listed below offer information about research projects and upcoming events.
- Centre des Amériques-Sciences Po
- Centre d’Etudes de la Politique et des Institutions Américaines (CEPIA)
- Centre d’études et de Recherches internationales (CERI)
- Le Centre d’Etudes sur la Sécurité Internationale et les Coopérations Européennes (CESICE) (in french)
- Centre d’Etudes Transatlantiques (CET)
- Centre Lyonnais d’Etudes de Sécurité Internationale et de Défense (CLESID)(in french)
- Fondation pour l’Innovation Politique (FIP)
- Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS)
- Fondation Robert Schuman
- Forum du Futur (in french)
- French American Foundation – France (FAF-France)
- Institut d’études de Sécurité (ISS-EU)
- Institut français de relations internationales (Ifri)
- Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques (IRIS)
- Institut Thomas More
- Institut Montaigne
- The German Marshall Fund (GMF)
Americans in France
“Every man has two countries, his own and France.” – (Thomas Jefferson)
“I have two loves, my country and Paris.” – (Josephine Baker)
“Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.” – (Thomas Gold Appleton)
“America is my country and Paris is my hometown.” – (Gertrude Stein)
France in general, and Paris in particular, has always been a favorite destination for American expatriates.
In these biographical sketches, we invite you to discover some famous Americans: artists, writers, painters, musicians, who, for several years or for the rest of their lives, lived in France.
Today, although no official figure is available, it is estimated that over 100,000 American citizens reside in France, making France one of the top 10 destinations for American expatriates.
BAKER, Josephine (1906-1975)
Singer and dancer, born in St-Louis, MO
She was born Freda Josephine McDonald and spent her childhood in the slums of that city. After joining a traveling theatrical company, she accepted a dancing role in “La Revue Nègre” in Paris. Within a short time, she joined the Folies-Bergère, where she gained notoriety with her “danse sauvage” (“wild dancing”) and her famous banana skirt.
After becoming a French citizen in 1937, she spent her life in southwestern France with her twelve adopted children.
On April 15, 1975, at the Madeleine Church, Josephine Baker received the grandest funeral for an American ever witnessed in Paris. She was the only American woman to receive a 21-gun salute. The hundreds of floral arrangements were later distributed throughout Paris and placed on the monuments to those who died in World War II.
BALDWIN, James (1924-1987)
Writer, born in New York City, NY
Born in Harlem, Baldwin turned to writing after an early career as a young preacher. In 1948, he won a grant from the Rosenwald Fellowship, which enabled him to move to Paris. He became part of a group of black expat American writers that also included Chester Himes and Richard Wright, whom Baldwin considered his literary mentor. Baldwin lived in Europe for ten years, residing mainly in Paris and Istanbul. During this period he wrote his first two novels, Go Tell It on the Mountainand Giovanni’s Room, as well as an essay, Notes of a Native Son. In 1957 he returned to the United States to become involved with the civil rights movement. After 1969 he divided his time between New York, New England, and St. Paul de Vence, on the French Riviera, where he died in 1987.
BEACH, Sylvia (1887-1962)
Publisher, born in Baltimore, MD
She held the best known American address in Paris between 1921 and 1940 : Shakespeare and Company (12, rue de l’Odéon, 6th), a lending library and a bookshop of English-language books. On July 11, 1920, she met James Joyce at a party. The result was an agreement to publish Ulysses in France. During the 1920’s, every American writer in Paris frequented her bookstore to borrow books. An important Walt Whitman exhibition was held there from April 21 to June 20, 1926. Joyce, who needed money, negociated with Bennett Cerf of Random House to publish an American edition of Ulysses. The novel was published in America in February 1934. Sylvia Beach received nothing for her rights as the publisher of Ulysses. The Depression sent American expatriates home and tourists became rare. The bookshop was kept alive from the mid-thirties on by the generosity of sponsorships. In 1941, she closed her shop and hid until Liberation. Her autobiography, Shakespeare and Company, was published in 1959. She died in Paris on October 4, 1962.
BECHET, Sydney (1897-1959)
Jazz musician, born in New Orleans, LA
A former child prodigy, Bechet first came to Europe between 1925 and 1929, playing in England, France and Germany. On October 2, 1925, he took part with Josephine Baker in the opening of the “Revue Nègre” at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, on Avenue Montaigne (8th). In 1949, he was invited to the Salle Pleyel Jazz Festival in Paris, caused a sensation, and decided to settle permanently in France, because, he said, he “felt that it was nearer to Africa.” He frequently played alongside Frenchman Claude Luter, in the Club du Vieux-Colombier (6th) and in Juan-les-Pins (on the French Riviera). Within a couple of years he was a major celebrity and a national hero in France, notably thanks to such compositions as Petite Fleur, Dans les Rues d’Antibes or Rue des Champs-Élysées. He gave his last concert on December 20, 1958, at the Salle Wagram in Paris. He is buried in Garches near Paris, where he lived from 1956 until his death on May 14, 1959.
CALDER, Alexander (1898-1976)
Sculptor, born in Philadelphia, PA
Alexander Calder studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière (6th) upon his arrival in France in 1926. He recorded “I went to the Grande-Chaumière to draw. Here there were no teachers, just a nude model, and everyone was drawing by himself”. Calder had just spent three years at the Art Students League in New York City. He preferred Rue de la Grande-Chaumière where he found the atmosphere more subdued.
Alexander Calder took a four by five meters room in a hotel rue Daguerre in winter 1926. It was during this winter that Calder did one of the first models in wire, Josephine Baker. Alexander Calder worked in a ground-floor studio on rue Cels (14th), in 1927. It was here that Calder created his miniature circus. Spectators, who sat on Calder’s bed included Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger and Joan Miro. His circus was soon known throughout Paris, but almost no one recognized the full promise of Calder’s figures and delicately balanced models. In 1928, Calder visited Mondrian’s studio and began his own abstract painting. To the suggestion made later that this art was truly American, Calder replied : “I got the impulse for doing things my way in Paris”. Today Calder’s circus is on permanent display in the Whitney Museum in New York City. In 1929, Alexander and his wife took a studio at Villa Brune (14th) at number 7. The building consisted of eight studios which could be reached by going through the back door and continuing for twenty yards into a garden surrounded by ateliers. Calder, who was forever creating gadgets, gave a circus show of his animals, which helped pay the rent. He recalled, “I had rigged up doors with a string and I could even open my front door from the bathtub without moving a hand”.
In 1931, Calder and his wife took the top-floor apartment in a three-story house on rue de la Colonie (13th). Calder began to make “a number of things that went round and round” and his friend Marcel Duchamp suggested that they be called mobiles (something that moves). He spent the rest of his life between Paris and New York.
CASSATT, Mary (1844-1926)
Painter, born in Allegheny City, PA
In 1851, Mary Cassatt came with her family to Paris, and during their five-year residence became acquainted with the great art in the museums of Europe. After the family’s return to the United States, she studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1861 to 1865. She convinced her father that she should go abroad, and for most of the years 1866 to 1873, she traveled and studied in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium, finaly settling in Paris in 1874. In 1877 she made the acquaintance of Degas, whose art and ideas had a considerable influence on her own work, and who introduced her to the Impressionists. She was a supporter to the movement, both by providing direct financial help and by promoting the works of the Impressionists in the United States. After 1914 she was no longer able to paint due to failing eyesight. She died in 1926 at her beloved country house, Château de Beaufresne, near Paris.
CHILD, Julia (1912 – 2004)
Chef, author, and television personality, born in Pasadena, CA
Born Julia Carolyn McWilliams, she joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII and met Paul Cushing Child, also an OSS employee. The two were married in 1946 and, in 1948, moved to Paris when Paul, who had joined the Foreign Service, was assigned to work for the United States Information Agency in the U.S. Embassy. Julia Child repeatedly recalled her first meal in France, at restaurant La Couronne in Rouen. In Paris, she attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and later studied privately. With two French friends, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, she began to teach cooking classes to American women in her Paris kitchen at 1, rue de l’Université (“Roo de Loo,” as the Childs called it), while working on a French cookbook for Americans. Published in 1961, Mastering the Art of French Cooking was a best seller. Having returned to the U.S., Child wrote many magazine articles and nearly twenty books, and had her own television show, The French Chef, which ran for ten years. From 1963 until 1992, the Childs made frequent stays in La Pitchoune, the house they co-owned with Beck and her husband in the Provençal village of Plascassier. Her last book was the autobiographical My Life in France, published posthumously in 2006, which recounts their life in post-World War II France. It inspired the 2009 feature film Julie & Julia in which Meryl Streep portrayed Child.
CLARKE, Kenny (1914-1985)
Jazz musician, born in Pittsburgh, PA
Clarke was already an acclaimed drummer who had recorded with all the jazz giants of his time when he relocated to Paris in 1956. He claimed he had first dreamed of living in Paris when he was twelve. In 1957, he composed the film score for Louis Malle’s Ascenseur Pour l’Echafaud with Miles Davis. Between 1958 and 1966, he appeared regularly at the Blue Note, 27, rue d’Artois (8th) with fellow American expatriate Bud Powell and distinguished visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Lester Young, Bill Coleman, Stan Getz or Chet Baker. In 1967, he founded the Kenny Clarke Drum School in Paris. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s he continued to live and work in Europe. He died in Montreuil-sous-Bois near Paris on January 26, 1985 and is buried at the Père-Lachaise Cemetery.
COOPER, James Fenimore (1789-1851)
Writer, born in Burlington, NJ
Already a successful novelist in his own country, Cooper moved to France with his wife and five children in 1826. In his correspondence, he spoke of returning to America after one year, but he soon began to feel at home in France, and spent the next seven years in Europe, mainly in Paris, where he maintained close friendships with the Marquis de Lafayette and other liberal leaders. From July 1826, they lived at 12, rue de l’Abbé-Grégoire (6th), in a 17th century convent. In September 1830, they moved to 22, rue d’Aguesseau (8th), then in December 1830, to 13, rue Saint-Florentin (8th), and, in April 1831, to 59, rue Saint-Dominique (7th). While in Paris he wrote three historical novels set in medieval Europe, as well as books about democracy, politics and society. He returned to the United States in 1833. In 1838, he discribed his stay in Paris in A Residence in France.
DOS PASSOS, John (1896-1970)
Writer, born in Chicago, IL
During WWI, Dos Passos served with a volunteer ambulance unit in France. Demobilized in 1919, he remained in Paris to finish two novels, taking over the apartment of a friend at 45, quai de la Tournelle in the 5 th. The next years were his most nomadic. He was constantly on the move between Europe and New York City, working as a newspaper correspondent and traveling extensively. In the spring of 1921, he hiked through the Pyrenees. In 1924, he met with Ernest Hemingway in Paris, forming an association that would last ten years. In 1945, he came back as a newspaper correspondent for Harper’s and Life magazines, getting a room at Hôtel Scribe (9th). Jean-Paul Sartre once called him “the best novelist of our time.
DUNCAN, Isadora (1878-1927)
Dancer, born in San Francisco, CA
Isadora Duncan, arrived in France in 1900, at the age of 22. She records that she used to dance in the gardens of the Luxembourg Garden (6th) in the summer when it opened at 5 a.m. She took a large studio with her brother Raymond on rue de Villiers (17th). There she gave concerts, dancing barefoot in her Greek tunic. In 1909, she took two large apartments at 5 Rue Danton (6th). She lived on the ground floor and used the first floor for her dance school. On January 27 1909, acompanied by her students, she danced Iphigénie by Gluck at the Théâtre de la Gaieté (14th). The ballet was an outstanding success. When the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées was built, in 1913, her face was carved in the bas-relief by Antoine Bourdelle and painted in the murals by Maurice Denis. In 1919, she bought a house on rue de la Pompe (16th) and rebuilt her school of dance. In 1926, she moved to Rue Delambre (14th). She danced for the last time in Paris at the Théâtre Mogador (9th) in 1927. She was 49. She returned to Nice where she was killed when her scarf got caught in the wheel of her open car. She is buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery (20th) with her two children.
FITZGERALD, Francis Scott (1896-1940)
Writer, born in St. Paul, MN
In 1920, publication of his first novel had made twenty-four-year-old Fitzgerald famous almost overnight. In 1921, he and wife Zelda visited Paris for the first time. Seeking tranquility for his work, they moved to France in the spring of 1924. They divided their time between Paris and the French Riviera, becoming conspicuous members of the “Lost Generation” of American expatriates. Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby during the summer and fall of 1924 in Valescure near St. Raphael. In Paris in the spring of 1925, he met Ernest Hemingway with whom he forged a friendship. The Fitzgeralds remained in France until the end of 1926. They came back briefly in the summer of 1928, and again from November 1929 until the following July. His fourth novel, Tender Is the Night, published in 1934, is set in France during the 1920s.
GERSHWIN, George (1898-1937)
Composer and pianist, born in Brooklyn, NY
In March 1928, George Gershwin, accompanied by his brother Ira and their wives, took a large suite in the Hôtel Majestic, avenue Kléber (16th), where Gershwin continued working on An American in Paris. The work was clearly inspired by the city. One morning, Gershwin, accompanied by composer Alexander Tansman, walked from the Hôtel Majestic up to the Etoile and crossed over to the Avenue de la Grande Armée. There they found stores which sold automobile spare parts, and purchased taxi cab horns to get the traffic sound of the Place de la Concorde during the rush hour. His hotel suite became a personal recital hall, where he played for Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Georges Auric, Serge Prokoviev, Leopold Strokowski, William Walton and whoever else dropped in.
HEMINGWAY, Ernest (1899-1961)
Writer, born in Oak Parks, IL
In 1921, Hemingway, still unknown and an aspiring journalist, moved to Paris with his wife Hadley, writing articles for the Toronto Star. He soon associated with other such American expatriate writers as Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. La Closerie des Lilas in Montparnasse was his favorite café-restaurant. It was at this café that Fitzgerald, in the spring of 1925, gave him a copy of his novel The Great Gatsby, which had just been published. It was also on this terrace that Hemingway wrote most of The Sun Also Rises (1926), which he finished in six weeks. The novel deals with a group of expatriates in France and Spain, members of the disillusioned post-World War I Lost Generation. During his stay in France, Hemingway made two trips to Spain, on the second to see bullfights at Pamplona’s annual festival. In 1927, Hemingway returned to the United States. He recalled his Paris memories in A Moveable Feast (published in 1964). En 1950, he wrote to a friend: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
HIMES, Chester (1909-1984)
Writer, born in Jefferson City, MO
Born into a middle-class academic family, Himes started his literary career writing for newspapers and magazines while serving eight years in the Ohio State Penitentiary for armed robbery. His first novel was published in 1945. Although largely ignored in the United States, Himes was well thought of overseas. Following Richard Wright’s example, he emigrated to Paris in 1953, becoming part of the group of black expat American writers that also included Wright and James Baldwin. Starting in 1957 with For Love of Imabelle (aka A Rage in Harlem), he wrote a succession of commercially popular detective novels, published in the famous “Serie Noire” black crime fiction line. In 1969 he moved to Spain, where he died in 1984.
JAMES, Henry (1843-1916)
Writer, born in New York City, NY
Born to wealthy parents who periodically lived in Europe, Henry James was educated at schools and by tutors in New York City, London, Paris and Geneva. In 1872, James decided to settle permanently in Europe, spending 1875 and 1876 in France. In Paris he was reunited with friend Edith Wharton and met Turgenev, Flaubert, Zola, Daudet, Maupassant. He was a contributor to the New York Tribune, and finished his novel The American (published in 1877). He left France for England in 1876. In 1884 he published A Little Tour in France.
JONES, James (1921-1977)
Writer, born in Robinson, IL
Internationally famous for his novel From Here to Eternity (1951), which was based on his war experiences, James Jones lived with his family at 10, quai d’Orléans (4th) from 1958 until 1975. The house became a meeting place for writers and artists. There he wrote part of the script for the film The Longest Day (released in 1962) with friend Romain Gary, as well as novels The Thin Red Line (1962), and The Merry Month of May (1971), which is based on his accounts of the May 1968 uprisings. In 1990, his daughter Kaylie Jones recalled the family’s expatriate years in Paris in her autobiographical novel A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries.
LINDBERGH, Charles (1902-1974)
Aviator, born in Detroit, MI
Lindbergh was the first man to fly the Atlantic ocean solo. The flight took place on May 20-21, 1927. Pilot for an airmail line, Lindbergh attempted the first nonstop New York-France flight with financing by a group of St.Louis businessmen, he designed a plane named “The Spirit of St.Louis”. On May 21, 1927, he arrived at Le Bourget airport after a 331/2 hour flight which earned him a tumultuous welcome.
MILLER, Henry (1891-1980)
Writer, born in New York City, NY
Henry Miller and his wife June stayed in the Hôtel de Paris, rue Bonaparte (6th) in April and May 1928. Miller taught June how to ride a bike on nearby rue de Visconti in preparation for a bicycle tour through the South of France. In 1930, Miller settled in Paris, where he lived until the outbreak of World War II. During his first winter in Paris in 1930, he came close to starving. Sleeping in a different place each night, cadging meals whenever possible, he chanced upon Richard Osborn, an American lawyer, who gave him a free room in his apartment, rue Auguste Bartholdi (15th). Each morning, Osborn left ten francs on the kitchen table. In the fall of 1931, Henry Miller got a job at La Tribune as a proofreader, thanks to his friend Alfred Perlès who worked there. Miller enjoyed the work, the atmosphere, the noise of the machinery, the French typesetters working at night. He submitted articles under the name of Perlès, since only the editorial staff were permitted to publish in the paper. In his book, My Friend, Henry Miller, Perlès reproduces Miller’s article, Rue Lourmel in the Fog. In 1931, he met Michael Frankel at the Villa Seurat in Montparnasse. This was the place where he wrote Tropic of Cancer published by the Obelisk Press in 1934. It is also at the Villa Seurat in 1931 that he met fellow writer Anais Nin. He and Nin both influenced each other in their work. Miller left Paris in 1939, after the publication of Tropic of Capricorn. He recalled his life as a penniless writer in Paris in Quiet Days in Clichy, published in 1956.
MORRISON, Jim (1943-1971)
Rock star, poet and filmmaker, born in Melbourne, FL
Increasingly disenchanted with his role as rock star, and largely blacklisted as a result of pending lawsuits, Morrison moved to Paris in March 1971, with the intent to concentrate on his writing. On July 3, 1971, he was found dead in the bathtub of his apartment on rue Beautreillis (4e). His death was attributed to heart failure, and he was buried, without an autopsy, in the Poet’s Corner of Père-Lachaise cemetery. Each year, his grave is visited by thousands of devoted fans.
PORTER, Cole (1891-1964)
Composer and lyricist, born in Peru, IN
Cole Porter came to Paris in July of 1917, living the life of a wealthy American Socialite while studying music at the Schola Cantorum under Vincent d’Indy. On December 19, 1919, he married Linda Lee Thomas, an American, at the Town Hall of the 18th. They lived in a lavish apartment on Rue Monsieur (7th). Soon Porter’s career was launched, first in Paris and on Broadway, then in Hollywood. They returned to the United States in 1939. In 1953, he wrote I Love Paris and C’est Magnifique in homage to the city he loved.
POUND, Ezra (1885-1972)
Writer, born in Hailey, ID
Starting in 1907, Pound journayed to Europe, where he spent most of the rest of his life. He lived in Paris from 1920 to 1925. There he became acquainted with James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway, among others, and contributed regularly to The Little Review. In his apartment on Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs (6th) he worked on his Cantos, which he had started writing during his stay in England and which remained unfinished at his death. He died in Italy.
POWELL, Bud (1924-1966)
Jazz musician, born in New York City, NY
Powell toured Europe for the first time in 1956 with the “Birdland All Stars.” He settled in France in 1959, founding the “Three Bosses” trio (active until 1962) with fellow American expatriate Kenny Clarke and Frenchman Pierre Michelot, and appearing regularly at the Blue Note (27, rue d’Artois in the 8th). During his stay in Paris, Powell, under dire health and financial conditions, was supported by young music critic Francis Paudras. This friendship was made famous by Bertrand Tavernier’s Oscar-nominated film Round Midnight (1986). He returned to the United States in August 1964 and died in New York two years later.
RAY, Man (1890-1976)
Photographer, born in Philadelphia, PA
Man Ray arrived in Paris on July 14, 1921 at the age of 31. It was his first visit in Paris, and he was met by Marcel Duchamp, whom he had known in New York. Man Ray took a room Rue de la Condamine (17th) on the top floor and stayed for four months. He soon befriended with Dadaists Tristan Tzara. André Breton, Louis Aragon, and Francis Picabia, and eventually was the only American to be considered a member of the French Dada group. He had his first Paris exhibition in December 1921 in a small bookshop owned by Philippe Soupault, avenue de Lowendal (7th). Within three years, he became one of the most sought-after photographers in Paris. He worked on several avant-garde films too. In July 1922, he moved to Rue Campagne-Première 31 bis (14th) and stayed for several years. The well-known Montparnasse model Kiki had become his mistress and stayed with him for six years. He lived in Hollywood during World War II. He took a studio Rue Férou (6th) when he returned to France in 1951. Man Ray was happy to be back in Paris where he concentrated on painting and color photography. He died in Paris on November 18, 1976 at the age of 86. Today the studio contains a rich collection of his postwar work.
SARGENT, John Singer (1856-1925)
Painter, born in Florence, Italy
The son of American expatriate parents, Sargent had been encouraged by his mother to study art in Florence. In 1874, he entered the Paris studio of portraitist Carolus-Duran and the École des Beaux-Arts. He was influenced by Velazquez and joined the Impressionists circles (he was a close friend of Claude Monet). At the 1884 Paris Salon, he showed his now famous picture, Madame X. Lacking commissions in Paris, he moved to London in 1886, where he remained until his death, except for summer excursions on the Continent and in the United States.
SHAW, Irwin (1913-1984)
Writer, born in New York City, NY
By 1951, Shaw had already published several books, including bestseller The Young Lions (1948) based on his war experiences in Europe, and had worked on several Hollywood movies. That same year, he left the United States, living 25 years in Europe in such locations as Paris, the Riviera, and Swiss resorts. In Europe, Shaw wrote several other bestsellers, including Two Weeks in Another Town (1960) and Rich Man, Poor Man (1970). He left France in 1976. He died in 1984 in Davos, Switzerland.
SIMONE, Nina (1933-2003)
Singer, songwriter, pianist and civil rights activist, born in Tryon, NC
Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, she based her stage name, which she adopted in 1954, on French actress Simone Signoret. An acclaimed jazz performer, who was also famous for her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement, Simone gave many concerts in France. One of her most successful recordings was “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” a rendition of a Jacques Brel song. She lived in Paris for several months in 1982. In 1992, she settled in the South of France, first in Bouc-Bel-Air near Aix-en-Provence. For the last eight years of her life, she lived in Carry-le-Rouet near Marseille, and she died at her home on April 21, 2003. Her ashes were scattered in several African countries.
STEIN, Gertrude (1874-1946)
Writer, born in Allegheny, PA
Gerstrude Stein lived in France most of her life. She was born in Pennsylvania and educated in California. After graduating in 1897 from Radcliffe, she spent two years at the John Hopkins Medical School. She arrived in France in 1902 and took an apartment the following year with her brother Leo, at 27 rue de Fleurus (6th). They were joined by Alice B.Toklas in 1910. At the beginning of World War I, Leo left for Italy and the two women stayed on until 1937. Stein began her art collection by buying the early works of Picasso, Matisse, Derain and other young painters. By the 1920’s her salon, with walls covered by avant-garde paintings, attracted prominent writers and painters. She remained in France throughout WWII, staying in various country houses. She returned to Paris in December 1944. In the last years of her life she suffered from cancer. She died on 27 July 1946 in Neuilly-sur-Seine. She is buried in the Père-Lachaise Cemetery.
WHARTON, Edith (1862-1937)
Writer, born in New York City, NY
Born into a wealthy and prominent family, Edith Wharton married a Boston banker. Her first popular success came with The House of Mirth in 1905. The Whartons spent much time in Europe from 1906, and moved to France in 1907. After her divorce in 1913, Wharton maintained a residence in the U.S. but mostly spent the rest of her life in France. She became a literary hostess to young writers at her Paris apartment and her garden home in the south of France. Among her friends was Henry James, whom Wharton knew during the last 12 years of his life. French Ways and their Meanings, a collection of essays she wrote for serial publication during the last two years of WWI, was published in 1919. Her most famous novel, The Age of Innocence, was published in 1920 and received a Pulitzer Prize. She died in Saint-Brice-Sous-Forêt, near Paris. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles.
WHISTLER, James (1834-1903)
Painter, born in Lowell, MA
In 1855, at the age of 21, Whistler resolved to become an artist and moved to Europe permanently. He settled in Paris first, where he studied at the Ecole Impériale et Spéciale de Dessin, before entering the Académie of Charles Gabriel Gleyre, an artist of the school of Ingres. He made copies in the Louvre for a living, and became a devotee of the cult of the Japanese print. He soon became associated with Manet, Fantin-Latour, Courbet, Daubigny and Monet. After 1859, he moved to London, but often returned to France. He maintained studios in Paris and London until his death, and participated in numerous exhibitions in both cities. His painting The White Girl, in particular, caused a sensation at the famous Paris Salon des Refusés in 1863. He died in London in 1903.
WRIGHT, Richard (1908-1960)
Writer, born in Roxie, MS
Richard Wright was born on a plantation and grew up in poverty. The publication of Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945) won him acclaim. In 1947, he settled in Paris as a permanent expatriate. He met among others Gertrude Stein, André Gide, and Léopold Senghor, and became part of a group of black expat American writers that also included Chester Himes and James Baldwin. From 1948 until 1959, he lived at 14, rue Monsieur-Le-Prince (6th). In 1949, he joined George Plimpton and others in founding The Paris Review. While in France, he took a growing interest in anti-colonial movements and also travelled extensively, particularly in Africa. He died nearly penniless at the age of fifty-two in Paris. He is buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery.
France made in Hollywood
As famous American director Ernst Lubitsch once said: “There is Paramount Paris and Metro Paris and of course the real Paris. Paramount’s is the most Parisian of all.”
A high number of American films take place, either entirely or in part, in France. Some were filmed on location, others in studio, and even some in other countries.
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