Thomas Jefferson in Paris


s lex and tj 1743-1826

We picked up our daughter Alexia at the orthodontist last week – and the braces are finally off! As we drove past the Musée d’Orsay something new jumped out at her, the bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. We squealed to a stop so I could photograph Alexia and Jefferson together. The monument honors the third President of the United States who was also Ambassador to France from 1785-1789. Jefferson loved Paris and was enamored with the city’s architecture, music and its lifestyle of elegance and enlightenment – from the most impressive salons of the day to the latest plays by Molière and Racine. And oh … the shopping! Paris in the 18th century was just as stylish as today, and Jefferson loved exploring bookshops and searching for treasures – everything from candlesticks to works of art. He returned to America with 86 packing crates from his stay in Paris! (Just imagine the excess baggage fees today …)

Thomas Jefferson Jean Antoine Houdon

Jean-Antione Houdon’s portrait bust of Thomas Jefferson created during his time in Paris

The timing was perfect because Jefferson also founded the University of Virginia, where Alexia will be starting as a freshman this fall.  She is over the moon to be going to such a fantastic school! We’re not sure if she’s more excited about dorm life, classwork or living in the United States for the first time. But we’re thrilled for her to have this experience in such a historic setting in America!

s alexia and thomas j paris

One of our favorite quotations about Paris comes from Thomas Jefferson: “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.” What a special moment to pause amid the streets of Paris that Jefferson loved so much … while looking ahead with the excitement to see where Alexia’s academic adventures in America lead to next!

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