Is a person with a positive predisposition or interest toward the government, culture, history, or people of France. This could include France itself and its history, the French language, French cuisine, literature, etc. The opposite of a Francophile is a Francophobe (or Gallophobe) – someone who dislikes all that is French.

Francophilia often arises in former French colonies where the élite spoke French and adopted many French habits.

In other European countries such as Romania, French culture has also long been popular among the educated classes. French Canadians who have adapted French culture could also be considered Francophiles.

Historically, Francophilia has been associated with supporters of the philosophy of Enlightenment during and after the French Revolution, where democratic uprisings challenged the autocratic regimes of Europe.


In Europe


Romania has a long and deeply entrenched tradition of Francophilia beginning after the Enlightenment and Revolutionary periods.[1][2] No doubt the most famous contemporary Romanian Francophile is Eugen Weber (1925–2007), a prodigious author and lecturer in both English and French, on the subject of French History. In his book "My France: politics, culture, myth" he writes: "Social relations, manners, attitudes that others had to learn from books, I lived in my early years. Romanian francophilia, Romanian francophony... Many Romanians, in my day, dreamed of France; not many got there."[3]

With the efforts to build "Romania" into a modern nation-state, with a national language and common national heritage, in the 19th century the Romanian language was deliberately re-oriented to its Latin heritage by a steady import of French neologisms, suited to contemporary civilization and culture. "For ordinary Romanians, keen on the idea of the Latin roots of their language, 'Romance' meant 'French."[4] An estimated 39% of Romanian vocabulary consists of borrowings from French, and an estimated 20% of "everyday" Romanian vocabulary.[5]

Boia writes: "Once launched on the road of Westernization, the Romanian elite threw itself into the arms of France, the great Latin sister in the West. When we speak of the Western model, what is to be understood is first and foremost the French model, which comes far ahead of the other Western reference points."[2] He quotes no less than the leading Romanian politician Dimitrie Drăghicescu, writing in 1907: "As the nations of Europe acquire their definitive borders and their social life becomes elaborated and crystallized within the precise limits of these borders, so their spiritual accomplishments will approach those of the French, and the immaterial substance of their souls will take on the luminous clarity, the smoothness and brilliance of the French mentality."[2]

Other notable Romanian Francophiles include Georges Enesco, Constantin Brâncuşi, Emil Cioran, Mircea Eliade, Eugene Ionesco and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.


18th and 19th century Russian Francophilia is familiar to many from Tolstoy's War and Peace and Anna Karenina, where his characters from the Russian aristocracy converse in French and give themselves French names. At the time the language of diplomacy and higher education across much of Europe was French, and Russia ,recently "modernized", or "Westernized", by the rule of sovereigns from Peter the Great to Catherine the Great was no exception to this. The Russian elite in the early 18th century were educated in the French tradition and made a conscious effort to imitate the manners of France. There descendants a generation or two later were no longer "imitating" French customs but grew up with them and the strong impact of the French culture on Russian upper and even middle classes was evident,though on a smaller scale than in the 18th century,up until the Revolution of 1917. [6]

"Afrancesado" (lit. "turned-French") was the term used for Spanish and Portuguese partisans of Enlightenment ideas, Liberalism, or the French Revolution. It was also used to denote supporters of the French occupation of Iberia and of the First French Empire.

===Belgiu Francophilia or Reattachment is a marginal current political calling in some parts of Belgium. Reattachment would mean the incorporation of French speaking Belgium, Wallonia (and sometimes Brussels; more rarely of the entire Belgium.) into France. This movement started since the Belgian state came into existence in 1830.

The Manifesto for Walloon culture of 1983,[7] relaunched in 2003,[8] and a series of discussions witnessed a will of emancipation.


The establishment of the Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus in 1192 was the beginning of intense French influence on the island for the next three centuries. This influence, which touched almost every aspect of life on the island, would endure even after the end of Lusignan domination and even survives as part of Cypriot culture to this day. In this respect, the Republic of Cyprus became associate member of the Francophonie in 2006.


The Armenians of Cicilia welcomed the Frankish, or French, Crusaders of the Middle Ages as fellow Christians. There was much exchange, and the last dynasty to rule Armenian Cilicia, the Lusignans (who ruled Cyprus) was of French origin.

During the reign of Louis XIV, a large number of Armenian manuscripts were taken into the National Library of France. Armenia and Armenian characters are featured in the works of Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau. And the first instance of Armenian studies began with the creation of an Armenian department in the School of Oriental languages at the initiative of Napoleon.

An important figure of Armenian Francophilia was that of Stepan Vosganian (1825–1901). Arguably the first Armenian "intellectual" and literary critic, Vosganian "represents the prototype of a long line of Armenian intellectuals nurtured in and identified with European, and particularly French, culture." Educated in Paris, he was a champion of liberalism and the positivist philosophy of Auguste Comte, and took part in the French Revolution of 1848.[9]

The French political classes were on the whole supportive of the Armenian national movement. The French–Armenian Agreement (1916) was a political and military accord that created the Armenian Legion within the French Army to fight on the Allied side of World War I - in return to promises of recognition of Armenian independence. The Armenian Legion engaged successfully in Anatolia and Palestine during World War I, particularly at the Battle of Arara, and then later during the Franco-Turkish War.

Middle East


As with much of the Western world and the Middle East at the time, Francophilia was quite common in Iran in the 19th century. However in Iran, many key politicians and diplomats of the 20th century were French-educated or avid Francophiles. Among them Teymur Bakhtiar, the founder of the Iranian intelligence agency, SAVAK; Amir-Abbas Hoveida, Prime Minister of Iran from 1965 to 1977; Hassan Pakravan, a diplomat and intelligence figure; Nader Jahanbani, General under the last Shah; and Abdullah Entezam-Saltaneh, another famous diplomat to the West.

"And if there was one thing that characterized the Shah and the ancien regime of hoveydas and tabatabais, it was francophilia, French education, the French language. The Shah himself had attended Le Rosey in Switzerland. French lycees flourished in Teheran. The Shahbanou herself was part of the francophilia that in Iran was as notable a feature as it had been of pre-Revolutionary Russia. England was always, in Iranian eyes, the suspect, the enemy. England was the country of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. But France offered the “perfected civilisation” of Chamfort."[10]

Ottoman Empire

Orientalism first arose in Early Modern France with Guillaume Postel and the French Embassy to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.[11] Later, when Mehmed IV sent the ambassador Müteferrika Süleyman Ağa to the court of Louis XIV in 1669, it caused a sensation that triggered the Turquerie fashion craze in France and then the rest of Western Europe, that lasted until well into the 19th century.[12][13]

The Ottoman Empire granted France special privileges on account of the Franco-Ottoman alliance. French mercantilism was protected, French subjects were exempt from the taxes and tributes normally required of Christian residents of the Empire, it was agreed that no French subjects be taken into Ottoman slavery, and French subjects were granted full freedom of worship. Thus, the France became the unofficial Protector of all Catholics in the East.[14]

In the late 18th and 19th centuries, French and British colonial influence increased in Anatolia and the Middle East, and the French language and customs penetrated deep into the Ottoman learned classes and aristocracy; French was the preferred second language, well-off Ottomans sent their children to school and Universities in France, and the Western "Enlightenment" was associated with French culture[15] Modern Turkish continues to have many French loanwords that were adopted in this period - 5,350 Turkish words are of French origin, according to the Turkish Language Society, or one-eighth of a standard dictionary.[16] List of replaced loanwords in Turkish#Loanwords of French origin Francophilia still exists to a rather limited extent in modern Turkey.[16] Vestiges of the 19th and early 20th century Francophilia include the famous Pera Palace hotel in Istanbul.[17]

The French Revolution and its ideals of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" inspired many secular and progressive movements in Ottoman Turkey, including the Young Turk movement that would go on to create the Republic of Turkey.[18] Napolean's breaking of the age-old Franco-Ottoman alliance by conquering Ottoman-controlled Egypt also had an effect.[19]

New World


With the inception of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the institution of French immersion in its public school system over 25 years ago, many Canadians of English heritage have developed a greater appreciation for the French culture that is a part of the Canadian identity. English and French are the two official languages of Canada and two of its founding languages. The Province of Quebec holds the greatest population of francophones in Canada.

United States

Among the most famous American Francophiles is Thomas Jefferson.[20][21] Even during the excesses of the Reign of Terror, Jefferson refused to disavow the revolution because he was "convinced that the fates of the two republics were indissolubly linked. To back away from France would be to undermine the cause of republicanism in America."[22] Commenting on the continuing revolutions in Holland and France, the retired Secretary of State predicted: "this ball of liberty, I believe most piously, is now so well in motion that it will roll round the globe, at least the enlightened part of it, for light & liberty go together. it is our glory that we first put it into motion."[23] Jefferson would often sign his letters "Affectionately adieu", and commented late in life "France, freed from that monster, Bonaparte, must again become the most agreeable country on earth."[24] The 1995 film Jefferson in Paris by James Ivory, recalls this connection. The "staunchly Francophile"[25] Jefferson, and by extension his adherents or "Jeffersonians", were characterized by his political enemies, the Federalists, as "decadent, ungodly and immoral Francophiles".[26]

Benjamin Franklin, who spent seven years as the American emissary to France and was popular there, was also a Francophile.[27]

The French-American Chamber of Commerce organization has worked to promote business ties between the two states. A Dallas Morning News interview has described the Beaujolais Wine Festival, the largest such festival in the U.S., as a major event for those interested in French culture to mix.[28]

Other notable francophiles include actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bill Maher, and Robert Crawford.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ R. J. Crampton, "Eastern Europe in the twentieth century and after", Routledge, 1997 (p.108)
  2. ^ a b c Lucian Boia, "History and myth in Romanian consciousness", Central European University Press, 2001, (p.160)
  3. ^ Eugen Weber, "My France: politics, culture, myth", Harvard University Press, 1992. (p. 13)
  4. ^ Iannis Goerlandt, "Literature for Europe?", Rodopi, 2009. (p.421)
  5. ^ Lucian Boia, "History and myth in Romanian consciousness", Central European University Press, 2001, (p.163)
  6. ^ Lurana Donnels O'Malley "The dramatic works of Catherine the Great: theatre and politics in eighteenth-century Russia", Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006. (p. 124)
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Richard G. Hovannisian, "The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times: Foreign dominion to statehood : the fifteenth century to the twentieth century", Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. (p. 156)
  10. ^
  11. ^ Baghdiantz McCabe, Ina 2008 Orientalism in Early Modern France (p.37)
  12. ^ Göçek, p.8">Göçek, p.8
  13. ^ Ziya Gökalp, Rober, "The Principles of Turkism", Brill Archive. (p. 3)
  14. ^
  15. ^ Daniel Panzac, "Histoire économique et sociale de l'Empire ottoman et de la Turquie (1326-1960): actes du sixième congrès international tenu à Aix-en-Provence du 1er au 4 juillet 1992", Peeters Publishers, 1995. (p. 671)
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^
  18. ^ Niyazi Berkes, Feroz Ahmad, The Development of Secularism in Turkey, Routledge, 1998. (Page lxxxiv)
  19. ^
  20. ^ Lawrence S. Kaplan, "Jefferson and France: An Essay on Politics and Political Ideas", Yale University Press, 1980
  21. ^ Ronald R. Schuckel "The origins of Thomas Jefferson as a Francophile, 1784-1789", Butler University, 1965.
  22. ^ Thomas Jefferson, Jean M. Yarbrough, The essential Jefferson, Hackett Publishing, 2006. (p. xx)
  23. ^ Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: 1795-1801", G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1896. (p. 22)
  24. ^ Thomas Jefferson, Henry Augustine Washington "The writings of Thomas Jefferson", Taylor & Maury, 1854. (p. 402)
  25. ^ Eugene Victor Rostow, "A breakfast for Bonaparte: U.S. national security interests from the Heights of Abraham to the nuclear age" DIANE Publishing, 1992. (p. 116)
  26. ^ W. M. Verhoeven, Beth Dolan Kautz, Revolutions and Watersheds: Transatlantic Dialogues, 1775-1815 (p. 80)
  27. ^ Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science (2010), p. 125.
  28. ^

Online resources

  • PFr is the next generation of social networking websites dedicated to the international Francophiles. Most notably, PFr empowers the users by giving them control of their confidentiality and privileges settings. Since 1998, PFr has connected Francophiles worldwide on a sophisticated network management platform where your privacy is respected.
  • is the world's only English-speaking social network for Francophiles.
  • is the world's only social network for French, Francophiles, Francophones and those learning French - Articles & Interviews in English and French.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • francophile — [ frɑ̃kɔfil ] adj. • 1591, repris 1834; de franco et phile ♦ Qui aime la France et les Français, soutient la politique française. N. Un francophile. ⊗ CONTR. Francophobe. ● francophile adjectif et nom Qui est ami de la France et des Français.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Francophile — 1875 (adj.), from FRANCO (Cf. Franco ) + PHILE (Cf. phile). “A newspaper word” [OED]. Its opposite, Francophobe, is recorded from 1890 (implied in Francophobic; Francophobia is from 1862) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Francophile — [fraŋ′kōfilfraŋ′kə fīl΄] n. [ FRANCO + PHILE] a person who strongly admires France or its people, culture, customs, influence, etc.: also Francophil [fraŋ′kōfil] …   English World dictionary

  • Francophile — Francophil Francophil, Francophile Francophileprop. n. An admirer of France and everything French. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Francophile — or Francophil adjective Date: 1887 markedly friendly to France or French culture • Francophile noun • Francophilia noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Francophile — Francophilie La Francophilie désigne, chez une personne étrangère à la France, son goût prononcé pour les aspects culturels et civilisationnels développés par ce pays. Elle est aussi appelée gallomanie à l étranger. Sommaire 1 Francophilie en… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • FRANCOPHILE — adj. des deux genres Qui aime la France et les choses de France …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • Francophile — Francophilia /frang keuh fil ee euh, feel yeuh/, n. /frang keuh fuyl /, adj. 1. friendly to or having a strong liking for France or the French. n. 2. a person who is friendly to or has a strong admiration of France or the French. Also, Francophil …   Universalium

  • Francophile — 1. noun One who loves France, the French people, or French culture. 2. adjective Loving France, the French people, or …   Wiktionary

  • Francophile — one who loves France or the French Love and Attraction …   Phrontistery dictionary

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