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Lafayette: Citizen of Two Worlds.

Best known for his role in the American and French Revolutions, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette (1757-1834) belongs to American and French history alike. His ideals were formed both by the French Enlightenment and his exposure to America’s culture of civic equality. As a result, he viewed himself as a “citizen of two worlds.”

As early as 1792, in reference to the French Revolution of 1789, he boasted that he was an American citizen before there was such a thing as a French citizen. Lafayette’s contribution to the birth of the United States was formally recognized on July 22, 2002, when Congress conferred honorary citizenship on the hero “who gave aid to the United States in a time of need.” He is one of only six foreign citizens so recognized.

“Citizen of Two Worlds” illustrates Lafayette’s role in the American and French Revolutions, his lifelong advocacy of liberal ideals, and his support for reform causes such as the emancipation of African slaves. His personal and political relationships are explored through correspondence with his wife, other family members, and notable figures of the day such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Lafayette’s mythic status as the defining symbol of friendship between France and the United States  was solidified during his triumphal American tour of 1824-25, and amplified by Lafayette himself, who was a skillful manager of his own image. French and American officials have deployed his romanticized figure to promote understanding, forge new diplomatic or economic partnerships, or to curb hostility between the two nations ever since.

More than two centuries later, Marquis Gilbert Motier de La Fayette is still an important link between France and Usa .  Welcome to Lafayette’s native village…

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The marquis de La Fayette.

When he was young, he played  a key role in the  fight with the American Insurgents. He also had a leading role in early French Revolution.


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Born in Auvergne, at Chavagnac Castle, Gilbert Motier, the future Marquis de Lafayette, lost his father very young, killed during the war. He married at 17 with a young and rich heiress, Marie de Noailles. This marriage gave him access to the Court of Louis XV


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Maisons des Illustres ( French Culture Minister ).

Gilbert du Motier de la Fayette  ( 1757 – 1834 ) Général Marquis ,  Patriot Revolutionary and a Heroe of the American Independence was born in this castle.

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 Thirsty for adventures, he met with Benjamin Franklin who wanted to plead the case of the Insurgents in Versailles and despite his family refusal, decided in 1777 to embark on a frigate to America.

He used a disguise to hide from the police who were ordered to arrest him for leaving without permission. Lafayette escaped across the Spanish border and boards ship off the coast of San Sebastian. He sailed on this date.

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He is only 19 when he reached Georgetown. One year earlier Northern America thirteen Colonies declared Independence unilaterally

 In July 31 1777 ,Lafayette arrived in Philadelphia to receive his commission as major general in th Continental Army. He met General George Washington at the City Tavern and the two form a friendship and mutual respect that will last the rest of their lives. The Marquis considered George Washington as his father.

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1777 September11th-General Lafayette received his baptism of fire in the Battle of Brandywine, Chad’s Ford, Pennsylvania. He was wounded with a bullet through his left leg.


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In 1779, he came back to France, where he received a truimphant welcome and pleaded the case of the Insurrection. He asked for more troops and Louis XVI sent 6000 men under the command of General de Rochambeau.

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March 17th, 1780, La Fayette  left from Rochefort-sur-mer on board of the Hermione and arrived in Boston on April 28th.


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1781 August through September –After maneuvering more than a thousand miles, Lafayette pursues, harasses and finally corners Cornwallis at Yorktown. The British use germ warfare by releasing scores of African slaves infected with small pox to infiltrate American and French troops to spread the disease.

1781 September 14–Lafayette meets Washington and Rochambeau at Williamsburg to assure them that Cornwallis is trapped.

1781 September 17–the siege of Yorktown begins. French and American forces dig trenches and use the Vauban method of siege warfare.

1781 October–French and American troops cannonade the British into surrender after nine days of blistering artillery fire.

1781 October 19–Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown. Washington wins the War of Independence.


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1781 December 23–Lafayette gets permission from Congress to return to France.

1782 January 22-A formal reception is given to Lafayette at the Court of Versailles by the King of France with Queen Marie Antoinette joining the celebration of Victory.

Lafayette has returned to France in triumph and becomes the most celebrated man in Europe. Voltaire, before his death in 1778, called him the Hero of Two Worlds.

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«La Fayette, nous voici !»

He died in May 1834 at 77 year old. Buried at Picpus Cemetery in Paris next to his wife. Since the 1890’s an American flag has flown at his gravesite as a mark of respect and for a man who risked his life and fortune for a country he loved as much as his own beloved France. 

In 1917 the first Americans  supporting the French war effort came to visit Lafayette’s grave and one of them spoke from the heart :«La Fayette, nous voici !»

More information on Lafayette :


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Statue of LaFayette – Le Puy .

“I bring you a cockade which will go around the world” July 17th, 1789

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The Way of Saint-James with Ici & Là Nature – Le Puy to Aumont- Aubrac  : Click here !

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The Way starting in Le Puy is one of the most popular pilgrimage Way in France.

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1648. The Way of Saint James map

The Puy Route is also called ” Via Podiensis “.

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The Way of Saint James map

In France all the Ways converge to Saint Jean Pied de Port, the latest stage before climbing the Pyrenees which is the natural border with Spain.

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More information : cecile@icietlanature.com

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France-Way of Saint James-LePuy to Aumont-Aubrac

The Way of Saint-James with Ici & Là Nature – Le Puy to Aumont- Aubrac  : Click here !

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More information : cecile@icietlanature.com

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France-Way of Saint James-LePuy to Aumont-Aubrac

The Way of Saint-James with Ici & Là Nature – Le Puy to Aumont- Aubrac  : Click here !

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More information : cecile@icietlanature.com

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Explore France off the beaten path.

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Explore France off the beaten path.

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The Way of Saint-James with Ici & Là Nature – Le Puy to Aumont- Aubrac  : Click here !

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camino way of st-james in france-ici & là nature

Walking and Cycling tours in France, Spain, Italy

Live a unique experience in France with our self-guided and guided walking and cycling holidays : Camino de Santiago, Way of St James, Provence, Normandy, …