The Franco-American Museum in Blerancourt, France, located in a chateau about two hours northwest of Paris, reopens this fall after a major expansion.
No other museum in France focuses on the relationship of France with another country. The Franco-American Museum highlights the centuries-old strategic relationship between France and the U.S. through artwork, documents and memorabilia. They depict the critical aid France gave to the insurgents during the American Revolution and that of Americans who assisted the French in both World Wars. One can also enjoy the artistic exchanges between the two countries.
The museum offers an eclectic presentation of American artists who often studied and mastered their art in France, as well as French artists who’ve been inspired by America. Little-known treasures include likenesses of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington by noted French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon; paintings by Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, Romaine Brooks, Fernand Léger and Alexander Calder; and Paul Colin’s poster project for La Revue Nègre, the first appearance of singer/cultural phenomenon Josephine Baker in France. The WWI collection includes an American Field Service ambulance—a model T Ford—as well as poignant photographs and films showing the devastation in the Picardy region and the reconstruction work achieved by American women volunteers. The museum is located at the site of significant WWI battles.
The Picardy region has charming villages and exceptional medieval cathedrals, including the Amiens cathedral (the largest in the world) and Beauvais (the tallest in the world), the château of Chantilly (considered one of the gems of French heritage, with its Condé Museum), the historic town of Senlis and the new World War I museum in Meaux, midway between Paris and Château-Thierry.