"In what country on earth would you rather live? - certainly in my own. Which would be your second choice? - France."

- Thomas Jefferson, 1821

Minister to France ... Lasting Influences ... Complex Connections ... Travel ... Revolution

Minister to France


Lasting Influences

"Behold me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe!"
Thomas Jefferson, 1785


As American Minister to France, 1784-1789, Jefferson was inspired by the neo-classical architectural style then in vogue in Paris, particularly the Hôtel de Salm, the Hôtel de Langeac, and the Maison Carrée.

French Cuisine

Complex Connections

The women of Paris - Jefferson's child, Martha Jefferson Randolph; his concubine, Sally Hemings; his charmer, Maria Cosway; his correspondent, Madame de Tessé; and his compatriot, Abigail Adams - forged life-long connections with Jefferson.

Abigail Adams The American Revolution and her husband, John Adams's career brought Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson together. She grew to enjoy "Mr Jeffersons Society" as an intellectual compatriot.
Madame de Tessé Jefferson and Madame de Tessé shared a passion for horticulture, literature, architecture, and the fine arts.


"Travelling is good for your health and necessary for your amusement"
Thomas Jefferson, 1788


Jefferson was both witness to, and a participant in, two Revolutions: the American and the French.

Livestream: Thomas Jefferson and Shopping

Jefferson sent 85 Crates of Purchases Home From France
During his time as the U.S. Minister to France, Jefferson began what has been described as "shopping for a lifetime," buying furniture, kitchen utensils, books, scientific instruments, candlesticks, teapots, tablecloths, fabric, and many other items. Watch Now

Available from The Shop at Monticello

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham gives us a complete vision of Thomas Jefferson the man, from birth to his last days - through the Revolutionary War and his years as President

Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty

John B. Boles plumbs every facet of Thomas Jefferson's life, including Jefferson the politician and political thinker; the architect; scientist; bibliophile; paleontologist; musician; and gourmet.