Open Access Thesis
Americans--France--Attitudes; Americans--Travel--France--History--20th century; Tourism--France--History--20th century; France--Social life and customs;
In 1947, a group of twenty-two Iowa farmers traveled to Europe for a month-long trip around the continent’s top destinations. Their primary mission, as outlined in Life Magazine, was to investigate European farming practices, particularly agricultural methods and food needs in the postwar period. The article included photos of the Iowans visiting French farms and speaking with farmers, but it also included a full-page photo of the group at a Parisian nightclub, complete with scantily clad women. Despite their agriculturally-based intentions, these Midwestern farmers could not resist a taste of Parisian culture.
This type of imagery is only one example showcasing the disparity between the hardworking, conservative culture of the United States and the sophisticated, creative culture of Paris in the period after World War II. Previous historical literature has provided a solid background for the development of tourism in the United States and has established a strong connection between tourism and consumer culture. In my project, I examine this connection within the context of American tourists in postwar Paris.
In addition, I look at how American perceptions of Frenchness and authenticity fit into this relationship between tourism and consumerism. As Paris began to modernize and adopt large parts of American culture, American tourists in Paris expressed dissatisfaction with this Americanized Paris, rejecting American ideals and culture during a time when America was supposedly the greatest nation in the world. My project suggests that these American tourists in Paris developed a sort of un-American identity in their emulation and admiration for French culture
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Department of History
Brian Roberts, Chair
1 PDF file (iii, 97 pages)
© 2015 Margaret Nervig
Nervig, Margaret, "An American's Paris: tourism and the American consumer, 1947-1961" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 176.