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9/27/15

Americas - New York Francophiles delight as Times Square turns French

An all-American landmark was transformed into a den of French clichés on Saturday as dozens of French artists, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs moved into Times Square to exhibit at what organisers have christened the “Best of France” festival. T

hree blocks on Manhattan’s busy Broadway were blocked off to make room for the tourism, fashion and food fair, housing dozens of food and drinks tents, a mini pétanque (French boules) court and a giant replica of the Statue of Liberty (lest we forget the French gave the statue to the US in 1886).

Hundreds of thousands of Francophiles attended on the first day alone, swarming around a Président stand for a free slice of French bread and butter before a troop of cancan dancers from the Moulin Rouge -- who were performing in New York for the very first time -- outshone the allure of the staple treat.

A thoroughly friendly event, public displays of co-adulation between France and the US were at some points overbearing.

The festival opened with the national anthems of both countries (performed by a full choir, no less), before the world’s largest US and French flags were unfurled, and later in the day, a gushing Hollywood-esque dramatic film applauded the US’s rescue of France in World War II.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius officially opened the event before heading back to the UN General Assembly (presumably for more challenging encounters). “It’s really important to show the diversity of French talent,” he told FRANCE 24. “It's all about quality and creativity.”

Read more: Americas - New York Francophiles delight as Times Square turns French - France 24

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