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Paris Diary: A Yorktown General

I am continually struck by the number of monuments in Paris dedicated to figures and events in French-American history. Place Rochambeau is a small triangle of grass and trees in the 16th arrondissement that lies only a few blocks from the equestrian statue of Georges Washington (yes, that’s Georges with a “s” here in France — he’s Giorgio Washington in Italy). At its center stands a bronze of Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau. His French army, along with troops under the Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington’s forces, obliged the British to surrender at Yorktown.

Rochambeau Statue1.jpg

The statue’s base quotes Washington’s fulsome praise of France’s trops:

The independence which we have fought for and obtained after seven years of severe conflict must be attributed, in large degree, to the assistance of your nation and the bravery of her troops.

Rochambeau Plaque.jpg

A similar statue stands in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C.

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