French influence in Sabana is topic of historian’s presentation

The historian and architect Andrés Fernández, is scheduled to outline the French influence in La Sabana during a two-hour presentation Tuesday. Appropriately, the gathering will be in the Museo de Arte Costarricense in Parque la Sabana. The museum used to be the terminal for the country’s international airport.

The former diplomatic salon was decorated by a French sculptor, Louis-Robert Carrier Belleuse, according to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto. The bronze reliefs reflected the daily life of the native peoples, the ministry noted.

The foreign ministry also has outlined the impact of French culture in Costa Rica where probably 3,000 full-time residents are French. Perhaps the most obvious is the Teatro Nacional, which is a scaled-down version of the Paris opera house, the Palais Garnier.

The foreign ministry also attributed the color of the Costa Rican flag to French influence. Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno, wife of President José María Castro Madriz, designed the flag in 1848 based on the color of the French one, said the ministry.

The national anthem, “Noble patria, tu hermosa bandera,” is dedicated to a French diplomat, the ministry also noted.

French influence in Latin America was so strong in the 19th century that the elite spoke French in some countries. The presentation by historian Fernández is sponsored by Alianza Francesa, the French cultural organization.

He frequently lectures and gives walking tours of historic parts of the metro area.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m., and reservations are asked at  2257-1438. Admission is 3,000 colons for those who are not members of  Alianza Francesa.sabana030515

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