About the Authors: Elizabeth Detmeister serves as the Deputy Press Attache and Martha Fedorowicz and Anne Buckle serve as interns at U.S. Embassy Paris.
On July 1, some 2,000 guests arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France to celebrate our nation's 234th birthday. It was a warm summer night reminiscent of so many hot American summers, and the Ambassador had selected a theme to match the heat: “Route 66.” As guests walked down “Route 66,” created from footpaths in the gardens, they were reminded of what it would be like to drive a Ford Mustang down the famous American highway which covers a total of 2,448 miles between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California.
We have to admit that it was quite a sight to see both French and American citizens alike feasting on various cuisines local to different regions of the United States. Several tents were set up around the gardens, each with its own theme containing a particular type of American fare. In the Chicago tent, there were Chicago-style hot dogs. In the American South tent, there was pork barbeque and corn bread. Continuing on the Route, guests tasted Southwestern gazpacho and empanadas that demonstrated our close relationship with our neighbor to the south. Finally, in the Los Angeles tent, fresh sushi rolls and wraps put a light end to the food tour of America. And of course there was dessert! Guests at the dessert table were able to cool off with frosted slushie drinks, soft-serve ice cream, Haagen-Dazs, and the American county fair fixture, cotton candy (known as barbe à Papa in French, or “father's beard”). Among the invitees enjoying the feast were American cinema legend Olivia de Havilland of Gone with the Wind, Michèle Alliot-Marie, the French Minister of Justice, and Sègolène Royal, the President of Poitou-Charentes, a region in the west of France, and numerous other foreign dignitaries and prominent figures.
To top off the evening, a military band played American jazz classics that spanned our nation's history as well as French classics like my personal favorite, Edith Piaf's La Vie en Rose. I really loved the Ambassador's choice to bring history to life, evoking America's growth and prosperity during the early 1920s when the famous “Route 66” was constructed. As a citizen of a nation with such a young history, I was very proud to see people from both countries coming together to discuss Franco-American friendship over Chicago-style hot dogs!
For Americans in Paris looking for ways to celebrate the Fourth of July please refer to our Facebook page.
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