Children walk with their surfboards after surfing in Teahupo'o Bay on August 17, 2023 in Teahupo'o, French Polynesia.

Decolonizing the Language of Overseas France

School systems in French Polynesia and New Caledonia are attempting to revitalize vernacular languages that were suppressed under French colonialism.
Painting of Louis Eugène Cavaignac

What Are Colonies For? France and Algeria, 1848

Algeria was a safety valve for the Second Republic: a place to funnel the militant working class to subdue them as colonists and farmers.
Man Washing by Maximilien Luce

Bringing Personal Hygiene to France

France’s notorious disregard for washing gradually changed as military authorities and public schools promoted a modern regime of cleanliness.
The President and Mrs. Kennedy attend a dinner May 11, 1962 in honor of Minister of State for Cultural Affairs of France, Andre Malroux, left.

Jackie’s French Connection

Jacqueline Kennedy, with her French ancestry and command of the language, was a not-so-secret American weapon in US-France relations in the early 1960s.
From left to right: Valery Larbaud, Léon-Paul Fargue, Marie Monnier, Sylvia Beach, and Adrienne Monnier in 1924 the fair at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris

The Short-Lived Le Navire d’Argent

Despite its short run, Adrienne Monnier’s literary review made its mark on modernist literature, publishing the work of James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, and Walt Whitman.
Photograph: French fashion designer Christian Dior sketches a dress at his salon in Paris, France, February 1948

Source: Getty

Christian Dior vs. Christian Dior

The designer’s impulse to convey his two selves to the public stemmed from a desire to be seen as genuine artist working in a world of artifice.
Crowds in Algiers celebrating their country's Independence Day in the city centre

The Algerian War: Cause Célèbre of Anticolonialism

On July 5, 1962, Algeria declared its independence after 132 years of French occupation. The transition was chaotic and violent, but inspired revolutionaries worldwide.
Two men of the French Foreign Legion, 1955

OK Recruiter: The Legion is Coming

Anxieties over the abduction of young men into the French Foreign Legion after WWII reflected West Germany’s concerns about the state of their nation.
Façade of the cabarets Le Ciel and L'Enfer, 1909

The Cabarets of Heaven and Hell

In 1890s Paris, cabarets in bohemian Montmartre gave visitors a chance to tour the afterlife.
Maurice Papon, 1958

The “Stone Face” of Racism

On October 17, 1961, Parisian police attacked a group of Algerians. The event would be lost to French history until a Nazi collaborator was exposed.