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Since George Washington, the United States has had a special relationship with France. The French supported the American colonists during the Revolutionary War and Washington was even granted honorary French citizenship for serving the cause of liberty.

Famous French Visitors

Since Washington's days, there have been dozens of notable French visitors to Mount Vernon. 

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French Objects

Within George Washington's Mount Vernon's collection are many objects from France. Some of the most well-known are the Key to the Bastille, Jean-Antoine Houdon's bust of George Washington, and a number of works by Claude Lorrain.

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Honorary French Citizenship

During the early stages of the French Revolution, the National Assembly of France granted honorary French Citizenship to over a dozen men, including Washington, who had "Served the Cause of liberty and prepared the freedom of the people."

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Marquis de Lafayette

As a young man Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette arrived in America at the age of 19 ready to serve the cause of liberty in the American Revolution. He quickly became part of Washington’s military family and over the years, their relationship grew to that of a father and adoptive son.

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Object Spotlight

The Bastille Key

Comte de Rochambeau

Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau was a military officer who commanded the French force sent in 1780 to assist during the American Revolution. He and Washington held a series of meetings throughout the winter of 1780 discussing their plans for a major operation in 1781.

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Marquis de Chastellux

Major General François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux, was a French officer sent to America in the summer of 1780. He served as one of the principal liaison officers between George Washington and Rochambeau. A member of the distinguished Académie française, Chastellux was a man of letters as well as a soldier. 

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French & Indian War

In 1754 Washington’s surprise attack upon a small French force at Jumonville Glen and his subsequent surrender to French forces at the Battle of Fort Necessity helped to spark the French & Indian War.

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French Neutrality

The “Genet Affair,” also known as the French Neutrality Crisis occurred during George Washington’s second term as President and threatened to plunge the young nation into an international war.

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XYZ Affair

Between the onset of the French Revolution in 1789 and the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in 1815, the foreign policy of the United States confronted the dilemma of possible or actual global warfare between the two most powerful European states.

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French Hound Farces

George Washington's love of dogs and foxhunting is well documented. However, some of Washington's dogs did not share his inclination for the sport.

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Shops at Mount Vernon: French Alliance Items

Proudly celebrate the history of the French-American alliance with commemorative items from our gift shop.