A Francophile (Gallophile) is a person who has a strong affinity towards the French language, French history, French culture or French people. That affinity may include France itself or its history, the French language, French cuisine, literature, etc. The term "Francophile" can be contrasted with Francophobe (or Gallophobe), someone who dislikes all that is French.
Francophilia often arises in former French colonies, where the elite spoke French and adopted many French habits. In other European countries such as Romania and Russia, French culture has also long been popular among the upper class.
Historically, Francophilia has been associated with supporters of the philosophy of Enlightenment during and after the French Revolution, where democratic uprisings challenged the autocratic regimes of Europe.
- 1 Europe
- 2 Asia
- 3 Africa
- 4 North America
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Romania has a long and deeply entrenched tradition of Francophilia beginning after the Enlightenment and Revolutionary periods. No doubt the most famous contemporary Romanian Francophile is Eugen Weber (1925–2007), a prodigious author and lecturer in both English and French on French history. In his book "My France: politics, culture, myth", he writes: "Social relations, manners, attitudes that others had to learn from books, I lived in my early years. Romanian francophilia, Romanian francophony.... Many Romanians, in my day, dreamed of France; not many got there".
With the efforts to build Romania into a modern nation-state, with a national language and common national heritage, in the 19th century, the Romanian language was deliberately reoriented to its Latin heritage by a steady import of French neologisms suited to contemporary civilization and culture. "For ordinary Romanians, keen on the idea of the Latin roots of their language, 'Romance' meant 'French.'" An estimated 39% of Romanian vocabulary consists of borrowings from French, with an estimated 20% of "everyday" Romanian vocabulary.
Boia writes: "Once launched on the road of Westernization, the Romanian elite threw itself into the arms of France, the great Latin sister in the West. When we speak of the Western model, what is to be understood is first and foremost the French model, which comes far ahead of the other Western reference points." He quotes no less than the leading Romanian politician Dimitrie Drăghicescu, writing in 1907: "As the nations of Europe acquire their definitive borders and their social life becomes elaborated and crystallized within the precise limits of these borders, so their spiritual accomplishments will approach those of the French, and the immaterial substance of their souls will take on the luminous clarity, the smoothness and brilliance of the French mentality." Bucharest was rebuilt in the style of Paris in the 19th century, giving the city the nickname the "Paris of the East".
18th and 19th century Russian Francophilia is familiar to many from Tolstoy's War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and his characters from the Russian aristocracy converse in French and give themselves French names. At the time, the language of diplomacy and higher education across much of Europe was French. Russia, recently "modernized", or "Westernized", by the rule of sovereigns from Peter the Great to Catherine the Great was no exception. The Russian elite, in the early 18th century, were educated in the French tradition and made a conscious effort to imitate the manners of France. Their descendants, a generation or two later, were no longer "imitating" French customs but grew up with them, and the strong impact of the French culture on Russian upper and even middle classes was evident, on a smaller scale than in the 18th century, until the Revolution of 1917.
Spain and Portugal
"Afrancesado" (lit. "turned-French") was the term used for Spanish and Portuguese partisans of Enlightenment ideas, liberalism or the French Revolution. It also denoted supporters of the French occupation of Iberia and of the First French Empire.
In the 18th century, French was the language of German elites. A notable Francophile was King Frederick the Great of Prussia or Frédéric as he preferred to call himself. Frederick spoke and wrote notably better French than he did German, and all of his books were written in French, a choice of language that was of considerable embarrassment to German nationalists in the 19th and 20th centuries when the Frederick become the preeminent German national hero. One source noted:"Nor did Frederick have any time for German cultural chauvinism. As an ardent Francophile in matters literary and artistic, he took a low view of the German language, spoke it imperfectly himself, and once boasted that he had not read a book in German since his early youth. His preferences in music, art and architecture were overwhelmingly Italian and French". The French philosophe Voltaire when he visited Berlin to meet his admirer Frederick noted that everyone at the Prussian Court spoke the most exquisite French and German was only used when addressing servants and soldiers. Another German Francophile was King Ludwig II of Bavaria, aka "Mad King Ludwig". Ludwig felt a great deal of affinity for King Louis XIV of France, the "Sun King" and liked to call himself the "Moon King" to suggest a parallel between himself and his hero. Ludwig loved to collect memorabilia relating to Louis and his palace at Linderhof was modeled after the Palace of Trianon. An even more strikingly example of Ludwig's architectural Francophila was the Palace of Herrenchiemsee, which was a copy of the Palace of Versailles.
Francophilia or Rattachism is a marginal political ideology in some parts of Belgium. Rattachism would mean the incorporation of French speaking Belgium, Wallonia (and sometimes Brussels; more rarely of the entire Belgium) into France. This movement has existed since the Belgian state came into existence in 1830.
The establishment of the Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus, in 1192, was the beginning of intense French influence on the island for the next three centuries. That influence, which touched almost every aspect of life on the island, would endure even after the end of Lusignan domination. It survives as part of Cypriot culture. The Republic of Cyprus became an associate member of the Francophonie in 2006.
The Armenians of Cilicia welcomed the Frankish, or French, Crusaders of the Middle Ages as fellow Christians. There was much exchange, and the last dynasty to rule Armenian Cilicia, the Lusignans (who ruled Cyprus) was of French origin.
During the reign of Louis XIV, many Armenian manuscripts were taken into the National Library of France. Armenia and Armenian characters are featured in the works of Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau. The first instance of Armenian studies began with the creation of an Armenian department in the School of Oriental languages, at the initiative of Napoleon.
An important figure of Armenian Francophilia was that of Stepan Vosganian (1825–1901). Arguably the first Armenian "intellectual" and literary critic, Vosganian "represents the prototype of a long line of Armenian intellectuals nurtured in and identified with European, and particularly French, culture". Educated in Paris, he was a champion of liberalism and the positivist philosophy of Auguste Comte, and he took part in the French Revolution of 1848.
The French political classes were on the whole supportive of the Armenian national movement. The French–Armenian Agreement (1916) was a political and military accord to create the Armenian Legion in the French Army to fight on the Allied side of World War I, in return for promises of recognition of Armenian independence. The Armenian Legion engaged successfully in Anatolia and Palestine during World War I, particularly at the Battle of Arara and during the Franco-Turkish War.
The first important contacts of French and Serbs came only in the 19th century, when the first French travel writers wrote about their travels to Serbia. At that time Karađorđe Petrović, the leader of the Serbian Revolution, sent a letter to Napoleon expressing his admiration. On the other hand, in the French parliament, Victor Hugo asked France to assist in protecting Serbia and the Serbian population from Ottoman crimes. Diplomatic relations with France were established on 18 January 1879. Rapid development of bilateral relations done that people in Serbia in "mighty France" seen great new friend that will protect them from the Ottomans and Habsburgs. Relations between Serbia and France would go upwards until the First World War, when the "common struggle" against a common enemy would reach its peak. Before the war, France would win sympathy of local population by building railways by opening of French schools and a consulate and a Bank. Several Serbian kings were at universities in Paris as well as a large part of the future diplomats. Serbs have built a sense of Francophilia because the activities moved them away from the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. For Serbs until 1914, French have become major allies what were even a threat for traditional inclination towards Russia. The great humanitarian and military assistance that France sent to Serbia during First World War, assistance in the evacuation of children, civilians and military at the end, and the support of French newspaper headlines even today are deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness of large number of Serbs.
The traditional Anglo-French antagonism has made Francophilia something of a rarity within the United Kingdom, but there have been exceptions. Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu was an "enthusiastic Francophile" who employed Huguenot craftsmen to create the French style Boughton House in Northamptonshire, where French was the preferred language. The classist Edward Gibbon was fluent in French as he was spent part of his youth in Lausanne, was greatly influenced by the French Enlightenment and was so influenced by French culture that has often been described as being "bi-cultural". The writer Charles Dickens was a Francophile who often vacationed in France and in a speech delivered in Paris in 1846 in French called the French "the first people in the universe". The future war hero Herbert Kitchener was a Francophile who violated the Foreign Enlistment Act by serving as an ambulance driver in the French Army during the Franco-German War of 1870-72. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the resort city of Dieppe was regularly visited by "ardent Francophiles" like Arthur Symons, Ernest Dowson, Aubrey Beardsley and George Moore. The playwright Oscar Wilde was describe as an "ardent Francophile" who spent much of his time in Paris. One of the better known Francopiles during this period was King Edward VII who during his time as Prince of Wales lived for much of the time in France. General Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend was a Francophile who liked to be addressed as ""Alphonse" and whose "Frenchified" manners often annoyed his colleagues. The diplomat Sir Robert "Van" Vansittart was a passionate Francophile who worked as a successful playwright in Paris before entering the Foreign Office. Vansittart always explained his Francophilia and Germanophobia under the grounds that that as young man living in Europe the French were always kind to him while the Germans were cruel. Another British Francophile was the writer Rudyard Kipling, who argued very strongly after World War I for an Anglo-French alliance to uphold the peace, calling Britain and France in 1920 the "twin fortresses of European civilization". Colonel T. E. Lawrence, aka "Lawrence of Arabia" is often depicted as a Francophobe, but the French historian Maurice Larès wrote that far from being a Francophobe as he is usually depicted in France, Lawrence was really a Francophile. Larès wrote: "But we should note that a man rarely devotes much of his time and effort to the study of a language and of the literature of a people he hates, unless this is in order to work for its destruction (Eichmann's behavior may be an instance of this), which was clearly not Lawrence's case. Had Lawrence really disliked the French, would he, even for financial reasons, have translated French novels into English? The quality of his translation of Le Gigantesque (The Forest Giant) reveals not only his conscientiousness as an artist but also a knowledge of French that can scarcely have derived from unfriendly feelings". It was frequently observed of Sir Austen Chamberlain, the Francophile Foreign Secretary 1924-29 that he "loved France like a woman, for her defects and her qualities", an aspect of his personality that Chamberlain was often attacked for.
The British Army officer and Conservative MP General Sir Edward Spears was a Francophile |who as a fluent French-speaker served as a liaison officer between the French and British armies in both world wars. Spears was also an opponent of appeasement who founded the Anglo-French Parliamentary Association to bring together like-minded members of the French National Assembly and the British Parliament. Sir Winston Churchill was a Francophile who often expressed his admiration for France through the French historian François Kersaudy noted that Churchill's attempts to speak French usually left the French very confused as to what he was trying to say as Churchill's French was atrocious. Churchill often spoke of his love of the French, writing that Marshal Foch represented one aspect of France, "...the France, whose grace and culture, whose etiquette and ceremonial have bestowed its gifts around the world. There was the France of chivalry, the France of Versailles and above all, the France of Joan of Arc". Kersaudy called Churchill France's most "forceful and vocal champion" in interwar Britain, a time when many people saw the Treaty of Versailles as a vindictive, French-engineered treaty which was too harsh towards Germany, and accordingly Francophobia flourished among circles in Britain in favor of revising Versailles in favor of the Reich. The writer Raymond Mortimer was such a Francophile that he broke down in tears when he heard France had signed an armistice with Nazi Germany on 21 June 1940, saying it was if half of England had just fallen into the sea. The Francophile writer and historian Denis William Brogan wrote after hearing of the armistice of 1940 that he very much looked forward to the day when the "eternal France" which he loved would return. The Francophile novelist Charles Langbridge Morgan dedicated his 1940 novel The Voyage to two French friends, writing "France is an ideal necessary for civilization and will live again when tyranny is spent".
The writer, diplomat and National Labour MP Harold Nicolson was a Francophile who when he visited France for the first time in five years in March 1945, he fell to kiss the earth upon landing in France. When a Frenchman asked the prostate Nicolson "Monsieur a laissé tomber quelque-chose?" ("Sir, have you dropped something?"), Nicolson replied "Non, j'ai retrouvé quelque-chose" (No, I have recovered something"). The Conservative MP Alfred Duff Cooper was in the words of the historian P.H Bell such a "devoted Francophile" that his time as British ambassador to France that he often tried the patience of the Foreign Office by going well beyond his instructions to maintain good relations with France by trying to create an Anglo-French alliance that would dominate post-war Europe. Bell also called Sir Anthony Eden a strong "Francophile" noted for his efforts as Foreign Secretary to reviving France as a great power during World War II. The novelist Nancy Mitford was a great Francophile who lived in Paris from 1946 until her death in 1973, and from 1943 onwards she served as the long-time mistress of Gaston Palewski, the right-hand man of General de Gaulle. The actress Charlotte Rampling who speaks French and often appears in French films calls herself a Francophile. The actress Kristin Scott Thomas is a noted Francophile who lives in Paris and often tried to interest her countrymen in French culture.
As with much of the Western world and the Middle East at the time, Francophilia was quite common in Iran in the 19th century. However, in Iran, many key politicians and diplomats of the 20th century were French-educated or avid Francophiles. Among them Teymur Bakhtiar, the founder of the Iranian intelligence agency, SAVAK; Amir-Abbas Hoveida, Prime Minister of Iran from 1965 to 1977; Hassan Pakravan, a diplomat and intelligence figure; Nader Jahanbani, General under the last Shah; and Abdullah Entezam-Saltaneh, another famous diplomat to the West.
And if there was one thing that characterized the Shah and the ancien regime of hoveydas and tabatabais, it was francophilia, French education, the French language. The Shah himself had attended Le Rosey in Switzerland. French lycees flourished in Teheran. The Shahbanou herself was part of the francophilia that in Iran was as notable a feature as it had been of pre-Revolutionary Russia. England was always, in Iranian eyes, the suspect, the enemy. England was the country of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. But France offered the "perfected civilisation" of Chamfort.
Orientalism first arose in Early Modern France with Guillaume Postel and the French Embassy to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Later, when Mehmed IV sent the ambassador Müteferrika Süleyman Ağa to the court of Louis XIV in 1669, it caused a sensation that triggered the Turquerie fashion craze in France and then the rest of Western Europe, which lasted until well into the 19th century.
The Ottoman Empire granted France special privileges on account of the Franco-Ottoman alliance. French mercantilism was protected, French subjects were exempt from the taxes and tributes normally required of Christian residents of the Empire, no French subjects could be taken into Ottoman slavery and French subjects were granted full freedom of worship. Thus, France became the unofficial protector of all Catholics in the East.
In the late 18th and 19th centuries, French and British colonial influence increased in Anatolia and the Middle East, and the French language and customs penetrated deep into the Ottoman learned classes and aristocracy; French was the preferred second language, rich Ottomans sent their children to school and Universities in France and the Western "Enlightenment" was associated with French culture Modern Turkish continues to have many French loanwords that were adopted in this period, and 5,350 Turkish words are of French origin, according to the Turkish Language Society, one eighth of a standard dictionary. List of replaced loanwords in Turkish#Loanwords of French origin Francophilia still exists to a rather limited extent in modern Turkey. Vestiges of the 19th and early 20th century Francophilia include the famous Pera Palace hotel in Istanbul.
The French Revolution and its ideals of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" inspired many secular and progressive movements in Ottoman Turkey, including the Young Turk movement that would go on to create the Republic of Turkey. Napoleon's breaking of the age-old Franco-Ottoman alliance by conquering Ottoman-controlled Egypt also had an effect. Muhammad Ali the Great, who become the Ottoman vali (governor) of Egypt in 1805 and ruled as a de facto independent ruler until his death in 1848 had been strongly impressed with the Napoleon's Armée d'Orient, and imported French veterans of the Napoleonic wars to train his army. Egypt was very much in the French sphere of influence politically, economically and culturally in the 19th century, and French was the preferred language of Egypt's elites right up to the 1952 revolution. At the court of the Khedive Isma'il Pasha of Egypt, better known as Isma'il the Magnificent the languages used were French and Turkish. Reflecting his Francophilia, the French-educated Isma'il emulated Baron Haussmann by tearing down much of Cairo to rebuilt it in the style of Paris. Even today, the architecture of Downtown Cairo closely resembles that of downtown Paris.
In Lebanon, Franophilia is very common among the Christian Maronites who have seen the 19th century viewed the French as their "guardian angels", their special protectors and friends in their struggles against the Muslims. In 1860, the French intervened to put a stop to the massacres of the Maronites by the Muslims and the Druze which were being permitted by the Ottoman authorities, earning them the lasting thanks of the Maronites. Starting in the 19th century, much of the Maronite elite was educated at Jesuit schools in France, making the Maronites one of the most ardently Francophile groups in the Ottoman Empire. The Lebanese writer Charles Corm in a series of poems in French published after World War I portrayed the Lebanese as a "Phoenician" people whose Christianity and Francophilia made them part of the West and who had nothing to do either the Arabs or Islam.
Central African Empire
Colonel Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Army of the Central African Republic seized power in 1965 and ruled until he was deposed by French troops in 1979. Bokassa was a great Francophile who maintained extremely close relations with France, often going elephant hunting with the French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. In 1977, Bokassa in imitation of his hero Napoleon crowned himself Emperor and renamed his nation the Central African Empire. Bokassa was also notorious as one of Africa's most brutal dictators, engaging in cannibalism, becoming so vicious that even the French could not stand supporting his regime anymore and thus the French Foreign Legion deposed the Emperor in 1979. Bokassa once nonchalantly told a French diplomat after his overthrow about the banquets he used to organize with the French style cooking that: “You never noticed it, but you ate human flesh.”
Omar Bongo, the long time dictator of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009 was described by The Economist in 2016 as "every inch the Francophile" who was very close to successive governments in Paris from the time he came to power until his death. French was the official language of Gabon until 2012, when the country switched to English as Ali Bongo who succeeded his father as president does not share his father's Franophilia.
The Ivory Coast
President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of the Côte d'Ivoire was described as a "staunch Francophile" who maintained very close links with France, and successfully insisted that the French name for his country be used instead of the Ivory Coast. It was Houphouet-Boigny who coined the term Françafrique to describe the "special relationship" between France and its former African colonies, in which Francophone African nations were in the French political, cultural, military and economic sphere of influence, something which Houphouet-Boigny welcomed, through France's influence in Africa has been highly controversial given that most of the African regimes the French supported have been dictatorships.
With the inception of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the institution of French immersion in many schools following the Official Languages Act of 1969, many Canadians of English heritage have developed a greater appreciation for the French culture that is a part of the Canadian identity. English and French are the two official languages of Canada and two of its founding languages.
There is great interest in America in French culture, including French food, art, philosophy, politics, as well as the French lifestyle in general. Historically, French style, particularly that of Paris, has long been considered the height of sophistication by Americans of all social classes.
French support of the American Revolution was probably a significant factor in shaping American's feelings towards France. Prior to that, the French had been seen as rivals for control of North America until their decisive defeat in the French and Indian War. With the elimination of France as a major colonial power in North America, the rivalry between American colonists and British interests became primary, and France's role switched to that of a counter to British power.
Pro-French sentiment was probably strengthened by the overthrow of the French monarchy and the creation of a "brother-republic" in France. Notwithstanding the turmoil of the French Revolution, certain disputes between the two countries, and the renewal of British-American ties, generally good relations continued. During the Napoleonic era, the Louisiana Purchase, and the entry of the United States into another war against Britain, concurrent with Franco-British hostilities, gave a certain sense of common cause.
Among the most famous early American Francophiles was Thomas Jefferson. Even during the excesses of the Reign of Terror, Jefferson refused to disavow the revolution because he was, as Jean Yarbrough wrote, "convinced that the fates of the two republics were indissolubly linked. To back away from France would be to undermine the cause of republicanism in America." Commenting on the continuing revolutions in the Netherlands and France, Jefferson predicted that "this ball of liberty, I believe most piously, is now so well in motion that it will roll round the globe, at least the enlightened part of it, for light & liberty go together. it is our glory that we first put it into motion." Jefferson would often sign his letters "Affectionately adieu" and commented late in life "France, freed from that monster, Bonaparte, must again become the most agreeable country on earth." The 1995 film Jefferson in Paris by James Ivory, recalls the connection. The "staunchly Francophile" Jefferson and, by extension, his adherents or "Jeffersonians", were characterized by his political enemies, the Federalists, as "decadent, ungodly and immoral Francophiles".
Benjamin Franklin, who spent seven years as the popular United States Ambassador to France was also a Francophile. Massachusetts Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. spent his first three grades in a Parisian school and majored in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard. Henry Cabot Lodge Sr., his grandfather, was also a Francophile and befriended Jean Jules Jusserand, the French Ambassador to the US.
Many Americans have studied at art schools in France, including the Beaux Arts academy in Paris, the premier institution of its kind in the country. The students and graduated alumni have been deeply influential on American style, particularly during the 19th and the early 20th centuries.
Francophile sentiment in America was deeply influential on American public opinion and involvement in both World Wars. The Franophile filmmaker Preston Sturges always considered France his "second home" where he spent much of his childhood, was fluent in French and was greatly influenced by the films of his close friend René Clair. On the subject of cuisine, Julia Child is probably the most famous of many Francophile-American chefs and of many American graduates of French cooking-schools.
Other notable francophiles include actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bill Maher, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Steven Gabrielle and Robert Crawford. The director and actor Woody Allen is a Francophile whose films often made references to French cinema, philosophy and novels. A recurring theme in Allen's films in the celebration of Paris as the ideal place for romantic love. Allen's 1982 film A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy frequently pays homage to the work of Jean Renoir while Allen has described François Truffaut as his favorite director. The Francophile hero of Allen's 2011 film Midnight in Paris Gil Pender bears striking similarities with Allen, leading to reviewers to suggest that the character of Pender is a stand-in for the director-writer.
The French-American Chamber of Commerce organization has worked to promote business ties between the two countries. A Dallas Morning News interview has described the Beaujolais Wine Festival, the largest such festival in the US, as a major event for those interested in French culture to mix.
General Antonio López de Santa Anna liked to call himself the "Napoleon of the West", and during his rule, the Mexican Army wore uniforms that closely resembled the uniforms of Napoleon's Grande Armée. Since the times of Porfirio Díaz, the Mexican upper class has shown a strong admiration of French culture, language, architecture and customs.
The Republic of Haiti was once the French colony of Saint-Domingue until a successful slave revolt drove the French out. Despite this history, the Haitian elite was traditionally very Francophile to the point that the Haitian writer Jean Price-Mars published a book in 1928 Ainsi Parla l'Oncle (So Spoke the Uncle) accusing the elite of bovarysme, of intentionally neglecting and ignoring traditional Haitian folk culture as it had too many West African elements and was not French enough for the elite. About 10% of Haiti's population speak French as their first language while the other 90% speak Kréyol (a mixture of French and various West African languages) that has often been mocked by the Francophile Haitian elite as a bastardized French. In Haiti, the question of whatever one speaks French or Kréyol is racially charged as the elite tended to be mulattos while the masses are black.
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- [dead link]
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