Wednesday, May 8, 2013

French in Savannah: Zeigler House Inn, too!

SAVANNAH Georgia (May 6, 2013) – We are pleased to fascinate our Zeigler House Inn’s lodgers with a triple experience – French, USA southern, and European. Travelers discover our curated French themed sleep retreats and a tad of French cuisine, plus more European (German and Austrian) heritages, paired with sultry Savannah’s southern hospitality and beautiful backdrop.
#Savannah … "it's almost like Paris... With a beach. And fried chicken & juleps. ;) " That Twitter post shakes the stuffiness right out, so appropriately, in Savannah!
Zeigler House Inn's formal
grand parlor with French decor.
It resonates here at our historic inn in downtown Savannah, which features French décor, and more. Once we add the Austrian, German and east Kentucky personalities -- derived from owners over the home's history -- the tapestry gets richer and the wealth of stories multiply for this beautiful home inn. Happily, our Savannah lodging place takes on a true spirit of Europe-meets-Savannah -- dipped beautifully in its southern USA setting, a friendly innkeeper and delightful, modern-day Savannah experiences Innkeeper Jackie Heinz will introduce.

We adore the rich tapestry of Savannah’s multi-cultural city. Are you aware of these French themed events?
  • Annually, June 21 is The Fête de la Musique', also known as World Music Day. Follow French Savannah on Facebook for 2013 details. [back story of this event, below]. Music for more than Gallophiles!
  • In February annually, the Francophile Film Fest is hosted by Armstrong Atlantic State University.
Perhaps you missed the extra French flair that we share at our Zeigler House Inn. 

On the menu at Zeigler House Inn. French baguettes are often included in appetizers. French pastries are served daily on our popular dessert bar. So much like France, Savannah’s mild climate entices for delightful alfresco tea or breakfast on the porch.

French Country Garden Room at Zeigler House Inn
French names and French décor are highlights of the inn’s sleeping retreats. Garden Rooms are Lafayette Suite (sleeps 3); Provence; French Country. The Old Master’s Bedroom is Avergne. Suites are Versailles (3rd floor); LaGrange (4th floor); and Giverny (4th floor). Sleeping accommodations with adjoining guests rooms are the French Country and Provence (courtyard garden level). Of course, there are stories associated with those names, but we’ll save those for another day.  

Located on Jones Street at Barnard Street. The street is named either for a French engineer named Bernard or a family named Barnard who lived on the street in the Colonial period.
Come for a visit in Savannah and Zeigler House Inn. Take in a little French flair in The American South! Let’s talk soon.

More French in Savannah, Beyond Zeigler House Inn

A worldwide musical event, originated in France, will take place in Savannah in June 2013.

  • Annually on June 21 is The Fête de la Musique', also known as World Music Day. (Follow French Savannah on Facebook for more 2013 details.) Two of the caveats to being sanctioned by the official Fête de la Musique organization in Paris are that all concerts must be free to the public, and all performers donate their time for free. This is true of most participating cities, now, as well. The idea of the World Music Day was conceptualized first in France in 1976 by American musician Joel Cohen who proposed an all-night music celebration to mark the beginning of the summer solstice. Thereafter the festival has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 460 cities in 110 countries, including Germany, Italy, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Australia, Vietnam, Congo, Cameroon, Fiji, Colombia, Chile, Nepal, and Japan.
  • February (annually). The Francophile Film Fest is hosted at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
There is a local French-guided tour … found at SavannahFrench.com. The French style at Zeigler House Inn began when the inn’s original owners wanted to honor General Marquis de Lafayette, an aide du camp to George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. Lafayette is more than a war hero in Savannah, Georgia USA. In 1824, the City of Savannah provided quarters for the beloved French general at the Richardson house (now Telfair’s Owen-Thomas House on Oglethorpe Square), considered the most elegant and spacious of boarding house quarters available at the time. When Savannah expanded its city boundaries in 1837, Lafayette Ward and Lafayette Square were named to honor General Lafayette.

Fleur-de-lis ironwork in Savannah
at U.S. Customs office on Bay Street at Bull St.

Wonderful French restaurants are in Savannah’s National Landmark Historic District -- Papillote – French Cuisine to Go, Circa 1875 – Gastro Pub, and Brasserie 529 (casual French cuisine). Within a block of Zeigler House Inn is Noble Fare, featuring sommelier-hosted wine dinners. You are sure to adore the international flair in a fine dining experience at Alligator Soul, where southern elegance meets French Cajun. Stop for a Georgia Pecan Dacquoise or Crème Brulee at 45 Bistro. Lavender Crème Brulee at Vic’s on the River is worth the trip! Off the beaten path is La Chai (named for Burgundian wine storage shed; 15 East Park Avenue, Forsyth Park's south end), a connoisseur’s wine shop featuring exclusively (all chilled) Old World European wines of France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, Hungary, and Portugal.

Boutique French shops … Chic and popular, The Paris Market on Broughton Street is a delightful shop to pick up small indulgences or a freshly baked Eiffel Tower cookie. A darling stationery shop, La Paperie, is just around the corner from Zeigler House Inn.

Savannah’s central park’s fountain (circa 1858), the Forsyth Fountain in Forsyth Park, is French-designed. The walkways in Forsyth Place (now named Forsyth Park) were influenced by the style of the French Second Empire as were many American public parks during the 1850s. Few of us realize that the fountain was turned on only in the afternoons because it had no recirculating pump until just prior to World War II.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah GA
French architecture in the city ranges from French Renaissance architecture (Second Empire) to French Gothic architecture seen in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Lafayette Square. The mansard Roof is seen on the notable rated building on the corner of Liberty Street and Bull Street (next to Six Pence), and Hamilton-Turner House on Lafayette Square. Second Empire details are seen on the third floor of the Harper-Fowlkes House on Orleans Square, which is open for public tours. Featured on a holiday Victorian tea, the home at 124 West Gaston Street is modeled after a French townhouse.

According to French historian Georges Duby, the three petals in the fleur-de-lis represent the medieval social classes: those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed. A fleur de lis (a stylized lily, synonymous with France) adorns a compass manhole cover in downtown Savannah along the waterfront park. A distinctive cast-iron fence with balusters in the design of a closed tobacco leaf and fleur-de-lis surrounds the U.S. Custom House building (Bull and Bay streets). The fleur-de-lis is featured in the St. Vincent’s School wrought iron gate (Lincoln at Liberty streets), and on railings at SCAD’s Granite Hall office (once Granite Steps inn where Clint Eastwood lodged when filming Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Gaston at Abercorn streets).

French history in Georgia dates to the 16th Century. The FRENCH came to the New World seeking gold and found “black gold” in the lucrative fur trade. In the South, the French found it more advantageous to plunder Spanish treasure ships as they left New World ports in Mexico. In 1562, the French built a fort on Parris Island, South Carolina (near Beaufort), but abandoned it by 1564. The Spanish built the Santa Elena mission at the same location and constructed other missions on the barrier islands off the Georgia Coast. These were all abandoned by the end of the 17th Century.
By 1733, the English were part of a new philosophical movement that began in Europe called the ENLIGHTENMENT. The Georgia colony (circa 1733) was organized along the Savannah River to protect the Carolinas from Spanish Florida and French Louisiana. Philosophers in France and Great Britain extolled the natural rights of man, sowing the seeds for Thomas Jefferson’s complaints against King George some 40 years later.
Forsyth Park Fountain in downtown Savannah GA
French and Indian War (1754-63), the Seven Years' War in Europe had impacts in Savannah. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, distinct populations of French immigrants arrived in Georgia—Huguenots, Arcadian, refugees from the French Revolution, and colonists in flight from slave rebellion in Haiti. [Source: Georgia Encyclopedia] French Huguenot M. Montilet owned and named Hermitage Plantation, a Savannah River plantation, where most of the treasured Savannah Grey bricks were manufactured through the 19th Century.

Battle of Savannah: American Revolutionary War. In the late summer of 1779 a large French fleet under Count d'Estaing anchored off Tybee for two months during the siege of Savannah. Also supporting the Battle of Savannah was a young French Haitian named Henri Christophe, who would later become the King of Haiti. A monument to the French Haitians (also Savannah’s first Catholics) is on Franklin Square in Savannah’s City Market. The siege and Battle of Savannah are now memorialized at Battlefield Park, which is located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between Louisville Road and Harris Street downtown. In 1783, the war ended with the passing of the Treaty of Paris.
The Savannah French Society meets to dine annually; meanwhile, we stumbled upon a menu from the Societe Francais de bienfaisance ... Savannah French Benevolent Society. Dinner, Thursday. November 5, 1885. Marshall House. Savannah, Ga.
Some of our favorite French words common in English range from a la mode to soirée. The word automobile comes via the French automobile. In 1899, the first automobile was imported to Savannah. The car is now on exhibit at the Savannah History Museum, paired with a carriage purchased by William Washington Gordon II in the same year. Comparison of the two emphasizes why early autos were referred to as “horseless carriages.” According to different sources, nearly 30% of all English words have a French origin. Source: Wikipedia, List of English words of French origin.

Copyright © 2013 Zeigler House Inn / Sandy Traub

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