By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Any special occasions in France this year?

A: The French like so many other countries love to celebrate. Call it the joie de vivre but no matter what day of the year there seems to be a reveler of sorts engaging in a good time anywhere in France.

For upcoming festivals to highlight on the calendar, be sure to mark the 250th Anniversary of the birth of the Marquis de La Fayette this September 6th. Born in 1757 in the Auvergne region, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, or better known as the Marquis de La Fayette spent the majority of his life fighting for democratic ideals in the US and France.

Known as the "Hero of Two Worlds" La Fayette was inspired by his friend, Benjamin Franklin, to join the American cause. History buffs will recall how La Fayette put all his money down on a frigate called the Hermoine that sailed to help George Washington in 1777. A close friend and admirer of the US’s first president, La Fayette even named his own son George Washington du Motier.

The Americans too are celebrating this legendary Frenchman. For US events visit For France events on this historic figure be sure to bookmark and check back regularly.

Next up is Rugby World Cup 2007. All the action will take place throughout France from September 7 to October 20 2007. Started in 1987, the Rugby World Cup happens every four years. It’s expected that over 2.4 million fans will attend forty-eight matches in 12 cities. Ten of them will be in France and theother two in Great Britain.

For more rugby details visit

This year marks the 750th anniversary of the Sorbonne University in Paris. Started in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon who was a French theologian, the now famous institution was initially known as the “Maison de Sorbonne.” It was a college intended to teach theology to twenty underprivileged students. Sponsored by King Louis with the endorsement of the Pope in 1259, the college morphed into what would be known as the University of Paris.

Sorbon served as chancellor of the university, taught and preached there from 1258 until his death in 1274.

The French love their philosophers, academics and writers. This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of their famous writers awarded the Nobel Prize. Back in 1957, a young Albert Camus was the second youngest recipient after Rudyard Kipling to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died three years later at the age of 47. He received the prize for his writings against capital punishment in the essay "Réflexions sur la Guillotine."


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