Summer Edito

July 1, 2015 | By Bénédicte de Montlaur

This summer marks the arrival in America of the Hermione — a full-scale replica of the ship on which Lafayette journeyed to the United States in 1780. The ship arrived in Yorktown at the beginning of June, and has since continued her voyage along the East Coast. The original Hermione’s 18th-century adventure was a meaningful step in France and America’s, friendship and an important symbol of our shared values. More than two centuries later, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy seek to continue the dialogue Lafayette initiated. In celebration of the Hermione’s arrival, a series of special events has been organized in all the cities she will visit. Don’t miss the multiple exhibits, public tours and French films screenings prepared for this very special occasion.

The presence of French artists is also a highlight of the summer across the United States, with French choreographers Emmanuelle Huynh and Sebastien Ramirez at the River to River Festival, the American Dance Festival, and Jacob’s Pillow. In addition to dance offerings, visual artist Philippe Parreno will be at Armory Park for the largest American installation of his career, and singer Mayra Andrade will perform on July 12th at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park.

Francophonie, on display in all these artistic undertakings, is central to the mission of the Cultural Services. It brings together rich and various cultures, different but still united by the same language. And in the spirit of Francophonie, you can take advantage of these sunny months to (re)discover Tunisian cinema or Congolese literature. You can also escape the city for the Mediterannean’s sun-splashed shores through this year’s Mediterranean-themed edition of our annual Films on the Green festival, which continues until the end of July.

Finally, July means it’s time to celebrate Bastille Day. Wherever in the United States you are, you can find a nearby celebration in our program.

A few days before the American and French national holidays, both synonymous with liberty, I wish you all an excellent summer, in the spirit of cooperation, culture and friendship.

See you soon,

Bénédicte de Montlaur
Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States.



Take advantage of summer to read or reread a few books. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out reading recommendations from the Book Department of the Cultural Services. You can also stay up to date on literary happenings through our “Week in Review”, which will continue throughout the summer. Our own literary events will restart in September, with Pierre Lemaire, winner of the Goncourt Prize in 2013, kicking off a series on the Goncourt Prizes. The series will be sponsored by NYU, in partnership with the Cultural Services. Pierre Lemaitre will also be a guest at the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 20th. There, he will share the stage with Fiston Mwanza Mujila, touring in the United States until October 10.


Visual and Performing Arts

In contemporary dance, Sebastien Ramirez will be touring in July with Monchichi, a duo with Honji Wang. In August, Martial Chazallon and Martin Chaput will begin their artistic residence at the Vermont Performance Lab, for their project The Rounds, which will be performed in September. The same month, the dancer-performers Lenio Kaklea and Lou Forster will participate in the Timelining project at the Guggenheim Museum. September will be a busy month for theater, with Joris Lacoste at the Crossing the Line Festival, organized by the FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française), and the French Theater Festival at Princeton University. In visual arts, don’t miss “H{N)Y P N(Y}OSIS” (until August 2) by Philippe Parreno at Park Armory, a truly immersive experience. Finally, in September, meet Section 7 Books, the Parisian group Castillo/Corrales’s publishing house, at the Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 (September 26-28).


Film, TV and New Media

Films on the Green, the outdoor French cinema festival, brings the best of classic and contemporary French cinema to several Manhattan and Brooklyn parks this summer. With “The Mediterranean” as a theme, the festival will offer a free, public screening every Friday until July 31. Four screenings remain, including Goha, Queen to Play and La Collectioneuse. You can find the complete program here. And on Friday, July 3rd, to celebrate the arrival of the Hermione in New York, the Cultural Services have organized a free outdoor screening of Jacques Demy’s musical, The Young Girls of Rochefort, in Battery Park. Lastly, the FIAF has organized a retrospective dedicated to Jean-Claude Carrière, every Tuesday from June 2 to July 28. And because summer is also the best time to relax in an air-conditioned movie theater, discover the list of upcoming releases of French films in the United States. 



In the digital field, the French Touch tech conference took place in New York on June 24 and 25. The event united French and American professionals and entrepreneurs around themes of digital work, innovation and creation. At the conference, Emmanuel Macron and Axelle Lemaire announced the launching of the French Tech New York, a program that brings together different initiatives by French digital innovators based in New York, and that will allow entrepreneurs and investors easier access to the network of French digital talent in New York. Through improved communication, better networking opportunities, and a web platform, the program aims to facilitate the development of French startups in America. It will also improve access to French markets for American startups, investors and developers. This program has been made possible by a community of French entrepreneurs and investors already in America, and supported by French public authorities.


A number of French artists are actively touring the United States this summer, as the music business continues to turn towards major festivals. One such festival is HARD Fest in early August in Southern California, where at least nine French DJs, including Mr Oizo, Brodinski, and Mercer will perform, among others. In New York, Francophone music is once again well-represented at SummerStage, with a recent show from Ibeyi, and upcoming free performances like Un Break à Mozart on July 2nd and Mayra Andrade on July 12th at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Another favorite New Yorker cultural event, MoMA PS1: Warm Up returns in 2015 with DJ sets at the MoMA annex in Long Island City. Two dates feature four big French DJs: July 18th with Busy P and Boston Bun, and August 15th with Bambounou and French Fries. 


French Language Education

French language instruction in the United States has been in the spotlight this summer. On June 13, TV5 Monde aired a report on the bilingual revolution, particularly in Brooklyn. The show Destination Francophonie has visited PS58 The Carroll School in order to get personal tales from several members of this bilingual class, a pioneer of the French Dual Language Program in New York. New York also celebrates the ten years of the French Heritage Language Program. Four thousand students from primary to high school have already had the opportunity to take French classes and learn about their Francophone heritage through the program, established 2005. And even outside such programs, the French language is becoming more prominent in the United States. The country’s last census shows that more than a million Francophone people live in the United States today, making French the 5th most common language in the nation. This last census speaks to the potential for developing bilingual education throughout the country.


Higher Education

In September, the Cultural Services will launch a national competition for student-run French cultural associations at colleges throughout the U.S. Participants will be invited to compete for a $3,000 prize to fund innovative projects that promote France and French culture on their campuses. In other news, the Partner University Fund is proud to announce that two researchers, having participated in a joint Ecole Normale Supérieure — University of Arizona project on modeling biodiversity, went on to share some of their work in a special May 22 issue of the journal Science.


Albertine Books

Albertine’s team will welcome you every day this summer, with no interruption. The shop offers a wide selection of books, which you can discover – or rediscover – via the website Albertine events will restart in September, with the philosopher Etienne Balibar, the gastronomic products entrepreneur Ariane Daguin, and a conversation about the pre-car writer Emmanuel Bove’s work. And to get you through the summer, don’t hesitate to re-watch Albertine conversations from the previous months, available here


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