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Virtual 1850s SF: Paris of the Pacific

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Discover the history of the French quarter of San Francisco during the Gold Rush!

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France, 1848. Many rumors are circulating about gold mines in California... and the colossal wealth waiting to be picked up from the ground!

Lured by the hope of becoming as rich as Croesus, thousands of Frenchmen leave France for California. When they land in San Francisco, the reality is quite different!

For one hour, City Guide Bruce Bennett tells you about the French origins of the "City by the Bay". You will learn how our compatriots built the first French community in California and how, thanks to their entrepreneurial talents and resourcefulness, they managed to survive in San Francisco, a boomtown straight out of the mud of Yerba Buena Cove.

It is around the main square of the young city that the "French Quarter" unfolds. All sorts of French shops flourish: banks, theaters, inns, restaurants, cafés, bakeries and even laundries.

On Dupont and Commercial Streets -street extending San Francisco's major pier- French is spoken! You'll find champagne, Bordeaux wines, Normandy brandies and the latest fashionable clothes from Paris!

As early as 1851, the Alta California - California's first daily newspaper - wrote that in San Francisco, "Commercial Street is French, truly French. There is a miniature replica of the splendid city of "La Grande République". A miniature Paris in San Francisco. "San Francisco has since been nicknamed the "PARIS OF THE PACIFIC".

These Frenchmen have played an active role in the city's development. They have left historical and cultural traces. Without them, it is difficult to imagine San Francisco becoming the sophisticated and cosmopolitan metropolis it is today.

This online event is organized and presented by SF City Guides and City Guide Bruce Bennett .

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