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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.

Francophile restaurant in Münster, Germany

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.



Romania has a long and deeply entrenched tradition of Francophilia beginning after the Enlightenment and Revolutionary periods.[1][2] 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".[3]

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.'"[4] An estimated 39% of Romanian vocabulary consists of borrowings from French, with an estimated 20% of "everyday" Romanian vocabulary.[5]

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."[2] 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."[2]

Other notable Romanian Francophiles include Georges Enesco, Constantin Brâncuși, Emil Cioran, Mircea Eliade, Eugène Ionesco and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.


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.[6]

Spain and Portugal[edit]

Main article: Afrancesado

"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.


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 Manifesto for Walloon culture of 1983,[7] relaunched in 2003,[8] and a series of discussions witnessed a will of emancipation.


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.[9]

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.


Monument of gratitude to France for help in World War I in center of Belgrade, Belgrade Fortress

The oldest documented possible contact between the two sides was the marriage of Stephen Uroš I of Serbia and Helen of Anjou in the 13th century.

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[10] 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.[10] Serbs have built a sense of Francophilia because the activities moved them away from the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires.[10] 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.[10]

Notable Serbian Francophiles include Ilija Garašanin[12] and Sava Šumanović.[13]



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.[14]

Ottoman Empire[edit]

Orientalism first arose in Early Modern France with Guillaume Postel and the French Embassy to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.[15] 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.[16][17]

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.[18]

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[19] 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.[20] List of replaced loanwords in Turkish#Loanwords of French origin Francophilia still exists to a rather limited extent in modern Turkey.[20] Vestiges of the 19th and early 20th century Francophilia include the famous Pera Palace hotel in Istanbul.[21]

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.[22] Napoleon's breaking of the age-old Franco-Ottoman alliance by conquering Ottoman-controlled Egypt also had an effect.[23]

North America[edit]


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.

United States[edit]

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.[24][25] 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."[26] 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."[27] 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."[28] The 1995 film Jefferson in Paris by James Ivory, recalls the connection. The "staunchly Francophile"[29] Jefferson and, by extension, his adherents or "Jeffersonians", were characterized by his political enemies, the Federalists, as "decadent, ungodly and immoral Francophiles".[30]

Benjamin Franklin, who spent seven years as the popular United States Ambassador to France was also a Francophile.[31]

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.

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,[32] Natalie Portman, Steven Gabrielle and Robert Crawford.[citation needed]

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.[33]


Since the times of Porfirio Díaz, the Mexican upper class has shown a strong admiration of French culture, language, architecture and customs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ R. J. Crampton, "Eastern Europe in the twentieth century and after", Routledge, 1997 (p.108)
  2. ^ a b c Lucian Boia, "History and myth in Romanian consciousness", Central European University Press, 2001, (p.160)
  3. ^ Eugen Weber, "My France: politics, culture, myth", Harvard University Press, 1992. (p. 13)
  4. ^ Iannis Goerlandt, "Literature for Europe?", Rodopi, 2009. (p.421)
  5. ^ Lucian Boia, "History and myth in Romanian consciousness", Central European University Press, 2001, (p.163)
  6. ^ Lurana Donnels O'Malley "The dramatic works of Catherine the Great: theatre and politics in eighteenth-century Russia", Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006. (p. 124)
  7. ^ Manifesto for Walloon Culture (1983)
  8. ^ Second Manifest (2003)
  9. ^ Richard G. Hovannisian, "The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times: Foreign dominion to statehood : the fifteenth century to the twentieth century", Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. (p. 156)
  10. ^ a b c d e Francusko-srpski odnosi u XIX i XX veku
  11. ^ [1] Archived June 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ [2] Archived March 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Generalni Konzulat Republike Srbije
  14. ^ "Fitzgerald: Ayatollah Khomeini And Fethulleh Gulen, (how Islamic revolutions come about)"
  15. ^ Baghdiantz McCabe, Ina 2008 Orientalism in Early Modern France (p. 37)
  16. ^ Göçek, p. 8[dead link]
  17. ^ Ziya Gökalp, Rober, "The Principles of Turkism", Brill Archive (p. 3)
  18. ^
  19. ^ Daniel Panzac, "Histoire économique et sociale de l'Empire ottoman et de la Turquie (1326-1960): actes du sixième congrès international tenu à Aix-en-Provence du 1er au 4 juillet 1992", Peeters Publishers, 1995. (p. 671)
  20. ^ a b [3][dead link]
  21. ^ [4][dead link]
  22. ^ Niyazi Berkes, Feroz Ahmad, The Development of Secularism in Turkey, Routledge, 1998. (Page lxxxiv)
  23. ^ [5][dead link]
  24. ^ Lawrence S. Kaplan, "Jefferson and France: An Essay on Politics and Political Ideas", Yale University Press, 1980
  25. ^ Ronald R. Schuckel "The origins of Thomas Jefferson as a Francophile, 1784-1789", Butler University, 1965.
  26. ^ Thomas Jefferson, Jean M. Yarbrough, The essential Jefferson, Hackett Publishing, 2006. (p. xx)
  27. ^ Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: 1795-1801", G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1896. (p. 22)
  28. ^ Thomas Jefferson, Henry Augustine Washington "The writings of Thomas Jefferson", Taylor & Maury, 1854. (p. 402)
  29. ^ Eugene Victor Rostow, "A breakfast for Bonaparte: U.S. national security interests from the Heights of Abraham to the nuclear age" DIANE Publishing, 1992. (p. 116)
  30. ^ W. M. Verhoeven, Beth Dolan Kautz, Revolutions & Watersheds: Transatlantic Dialogues, 1775-1815, Rodopi, 1999, p. 80.
  31. ^ Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science (2010), p. 125.
  32. ^ Minute Help Guides, "The Unofficial Blake Lively Biography" (2013)
  33. ^ [6][dead link]

External links[edit]

  • PFr is the next generation of social networking websites dedicated to the international Francophiles. Most notably, PFr empowers the users by giving them control of their confidentiality and privileges settings. Since 1998, PFr has connected Francophiles worldwide on a sophisticated network management platform where your privacy is respected.
  • is the world's only English-speaking social network for Francophiles.
  • - My French Life is the world's only social network for French and francophiles wanting to discover France beyond the cliché wherever they live - Magazine . Community . Events . Experiences - Publishing every day - Articles & Interviews in English and French - tips, guides & advice. Established in Melbourne Australia in 2009 offering French speaking events.