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French Connection Day

Parade Field
Sunday, August 14
10 am – 4 pm

Bonjour! We adore French culture, and our benefactor, Robert R. McCormick, had a special bond with France that we celebrate each year at this signature Cantigny festival. Spend the day in our version of Paris, enjoying a French open-air market by Bensidoun, with vendors offering traditional market fare like cheeses, bread, flowers and more. Indulge in something decadent at one of the French food tents in the market or a food truck. Sip flavors from the French wine region at our “vin and bière” tent. We’ll have a free art project for kids (while supplies last) and a mime to make you smile. Meet Madeleine for storytime at 12 pm & 2 pm on the yellow couch in front of the Eiffel Tower. Play the French yard game, Petanque, led by the Chicago Petanque Club, and of course, get a pic with our 23-foot Eiffel Tower. Also throughout the day, “Zazz” will perform classic French jazz, Parisian swing, and pieces from French stage and screen hits.

French Connection Day entry is free with $10 per car parking. Merci beaucoup!

Why We Have a French Connection Day

We began the annual festival in 2008 to raise awareness of Cantigny’s connection to France and how we got our name. The French theme commemorates an important chapter in the life of Robert R. McCormick, Cantigny’s benefactor. In 1918, at age 37, Colonel McCormick commanded an artillery unit at the Battle of Cantigny, about 75 miles north of Paris, as a member of the U.S. Army’s First Division.  The experience made a major impression on the Colonel. Upon returning to Wheaton, he renamed his estate after Cantigny, the tiny village where he and his fellow soldiers attacked and defeated the German forces who were holding it. It was America’s first significant battle (and victory) of World War I.

In his will, McCormick established Cantigny “as a public park and museum for the recreation, instruction and welfare of the people of the State of Illinois.” The 500-acre estate was his gift to the community and this event honors his generous legacy.

This event is not connected to any other scheme, incident, movie, band or company by the same name.