Marcel Marceau

July 14 is Bastille Day – or French Independence Day – France’s version of the Fourth of July. It celebrates the storming of the Bastille, a fortress-prison, and the citizens rising up against the Monarchy (Louis XIV) and the beginning of a new democracy. This all happened in 1789 – just 13 years after the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence.

So in honor of Bastille Day, I’d like to thank the French for all of their great contributions to the world. Here are just a few:

– Marcel Marceau (1923-2007) Famous French Mime (pictured above) who could entertain and make us smile – without saying a word.

– Ballet – the beautiful dance form.

– Edith Piaf, the compelling French chanteuse.

– Julia Child and the Art of French Cooking. Julia was American, not French, but she studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and brought French cooking to the masses. Bon Apetit!

– Maurice Chevalier (1888 – 1972), Popular French Actor and Singer, best remembered for his role in the movie, “Gigi” where he sang “The Night They Invented Champagne”, “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” and many other great songs. I loved his accent! For that matter – I love all French accents. So dreamy!

– French Wine. I particularly like the red wines from the Bordeaux region and the Rhone Valley, including Chateau Neuf Du Papes.

– Butter. Cooking with butter. Butter makes everything taste better. I’m not saying that the French invented butter, but they certainly know how to use it!

I’m sure there are many more wonderful people and things that came from France. This list is just a start.

Viva La France!