Paris and New York have always considered themselves sibling cities. But there’s much more to the America/France connection than just an appreciation for a good Beaujolais. This Bastille Day, look for these pockets of French culture and history throughout New York City, from the Upper West Side to Cobble Hill. Allez!Read More
Spend Bastille Day At These NYC Spots Celebrating French Culture
These museums, landmarks, and other sites celebrate the French connection to New York
There’s plenty of French art inside this upper upper upper west side museum, but the building itself might be the most Gallic part. The namesake cloisters came from five Medieval-era structures throughout France. American sculptor George Grey Barnard purchased the pieces on trips to France, and the Met bought them from him in the 1920s.
The statue of Joan of Arc in Riverside Park was unveiled in 1915 by a crowd of local luminaries including Mrs. Thomas Edison. Some stones from Rouen Cathedral, where St. Joan was killed, make up the base of the statue.
French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)
Whether you’re a committed Francophile or just a fan of Truffaut movies, the Alliance Francaise is the beating heart of the New York French community. Stop by for French classes, film screenings, and Champagne tastings (of course).
Statue of Liberty
One of New York’s most iconic landmarks lives as a reminder of Franco-American cooperation. The Neoclassical sculpture, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, was a gift from France to the United States in 1886 and named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.
French Church of St. Esprit Graveyard
St-Esprit’s second home at the corner of Pine and Nassau Streets served the congregation for about 120 years. During that time, the church’s cemetery was behind it, extending to Cedar Street. After the church relocated, the land was sold and the remains moved. Now, the site, just around the corner from Federal Hall, is home to (what else?) a luxury high-rise.
Église Française du Saint-Esprit
Originally founded by French Huguenots, St-Esprit was home to a blend of French and English-speaking Protestants and became part of the Episcopal community in the United States. After starting in Lower Manhattan’s Petticoat Lane, the church continued moving northward half a dozen times before landing at its current home on 60th Street.
Huguenot Society of America
This society was founded in 1883 and boasted Federalist Papers co-author John Jay as its first president. Its library, housed inside the Huguenot Society office in midtown, has archival material about Huguenot genealogy in the U.S., church history, biographies of important Huguenots around the world, and other related topics. You’ll need to make an appointment if you want to dig around.
Sothebys International Realty
Don’t feel like dodging tourists to get to Lady Liberty herself? Stop by the uptown Sotheby’s International Realty office, where an honest-to-goodness statue, made from Bartholdi’s original (more human sized) mold, sits hiding in plain sight.
Former French hospital building
The French Hospital in New York City originally treated only French-speaking people, but quickly changed its mission to care for anyone who needed treatment. After moving several times, the hospital settled into a building that stretched from 29th to 30th Streets between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. However, the hospital went bankrupt in the 1970s and was converted into homes, but you can still see some traces of the original structure, including telltale fleurs-de-lis markings.