Francois Delattre, Roy Blunt for Bastille Day: D.C. Scene

“Entrepreneur is a French word,” said French Ambassador Francois Delattre at his Bastille Day reception last night. “You recognize, of course, the well-known French modesty.”

The annual gathering moved from his Tudor Revival mansion, which is undergoing extensive renovations, to the Anderson House, the headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati, founded in 1783 by Continental Army and French officers.

“We wouldn’t have won the American Revolution without the French,” said the society’s president-general, Ross Gamble Perry.

Senator Roy Blunt, the Missouri Republican, chatted with former congressman Bart Gordon, now a partner at K&L Gates LLP, under the house’s beaux-arts ceiling.

Ambassadors present were Gilles Noghes of Monaco, Peter Ammon of Germany, and Jean-Louis Wolzfeld of Luxembourg.

Delattre pointed out former congressman James Oberstar, the founder of the Congressional French Caucus, which now boasts 100 members.

Oberstar “is to Francophiles what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris,” Delattre said. Oberstar occupies his post-congressional life by teaching French, a language he’s loved since first visiting France in 1956.

Jogging Landmarks

Fresh from Paris, Jacques Maire, head of the directorate of business and global economy for the French Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, made his rounds at the party.

He said he would be working all week in Washington, but on his day off, he’d be jogging around the city’s landmarks.

Eric Motley with the Aspen Institute and Christopher DeMuth, a distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute, preferred al fresco socializing in the house’s garden, where a Buddhist statue overlooks the pool.

“Ah! foie gras!” said one guest, lunging for a tray of the French delicacy.

David Short, the senior counsel for trade and international affairs for FedEx Express, said that he works closely with the French as his company’s second-biggest hub is in Paris.

Short is off for a cruise of the Greek isles. “I’m a sun worshipper,” he said.

It will be a Michigan holiday for Noghes. That’s the home state of his wife, Ellen.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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