The Alliance Francaise of Minneapolis-St. Paul is sponsoring Minnesota French week July 6 – July 11. Events include a “Tour de First” (a few dozen bicyclists in a ceremonial ride down North First Street), the crowning of the Bastille Day Queen (aka Marie Antoinette, who will serve cake to the peasants) and the singing of the Marseillaise. There will be French film screenings and a flea market, but according to L’Alliance Francaise, the highlight of the week is the “Storming the Opera” on July 11 at the Minnesota Opera Center.
In order to celebrate the French holiday Bastille Day (normally July 14) in proper style, the Alliance convinced the mayors of both Minneapolis and St. Paul to sign proclamations declaring Saturday, July 11th to be Bastille Day in the Twin Cities. And they had a bit of fun with it, too. Here are a few excerpts:
WHEREAS, Most of the great state of Minnesota was once a French colony, a distinguished heritage that survives today in the state motto, “L’Etoile du Nord,” and in the unmistakable savoir faire possessed by the state’s cultural, business and civic leaders;
WHEREAS, The founder of the capital city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, was an industrious entrepreneur in the hallowed tradition of laissez faire, Pierre Parrant, an optically challenged Frenchman who suffered the public relations humiliation of being known as “Pig’s Eye”;
WHEREAS, the very land beneath the city of Minneapolis was once part of the French colony of Louisiana, and in its heart of hearts still longs to be part of France;
WHEREAS, Minneapolis, with its cultural and academic stature in the region surely qualifies it to be the Paris of the Great Plains;
…You get the idea. Bonne Fête, tout le monde!