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Contact: Brittany Lesser

Viva Florida Marks 450 Years of Florida’s French Past

Tallahassee –

Through November 2014, Jacksonville and Miami will host many exciting opportunities that honor the role that France played in the formation of our state and nation. From the opening of a France – Florida cultural office at Visit Jacksonville, to the three week exposition of French culture in Miami, many activities are planned across the state. The commemoration of 450 years of the French in Florida is a signature event of Viva Florida, which promotes Florida’s history and cultural heritage.

"Florida’s rich, diverse history and cultural heritage is an asset to our state," said Secretary of State and Chief Cultural Officer Ken Detzner. "In addition, the international collaboration with France is not only part of our past, it is our present and future, with more French businesses investing in Florida and bringing jobs to our state."

Understanding of current archaeological research and evidence points to the French founding Fort Caroline in Jacksonville, and in observance of the 450 year anniversary, The Florida Department of State is proud to partner with the French Consulate in Miami, The French – American Chamber of Commerce in Florida, the City of Jacksonville, Visit Jacksonville, Museum of Science and History (MOSH) and the National Park Service to host commemorative and educational events for the general public during 2014. 

To learn more about Florida’s French Heritage, and the events listed below visit

Statewide Events:

Unveiling of the France  ̶  Florida Cultural Office

On June 30, 2014 at 10 a.m. a plaque will be unveiled at the downtown Visit Jacksonville offices at 208 North Laura Street, Suite 102, officially designating Jacksonville’s France – Florida cultural office. More information is available at

Laudonniére Luncheon at Orsay Restaurant

On June 30, 2014 at 11:15 a.m. mark the founding of Fort Caroline and America’s First Thanksgiving with lunch at Orsay French Restaurant. Tickets $49 in advance from [email protected]

Jacksonville Historical Society Program and Exhibition at City Hall

On June 30, 2014 at 6 p.m. join with the Jacksonville historical society and Jacksonville city officials at Jacksonville’s city hall. The exhibit "Portraits from La Caroline" is on view prior to and during the 6 p.m. reception. The 7 p.m. program with speakers Robert Thunen, Ph.D. and Keith Ashley, Ph. D. highlights a week-long Jacksonville Historical Society exhibit. A small selection of “never before locally exhibited,” artifacts from the Ribault wrecked fleet survivors’ camps is also on view. More information available at

Portraits from La Caroline: Modern Interpretations and Firsthand Accounts

June 30 - July 3, 2014.  The native Floridians, as viewed by the French and described in firsthand French accounts are featured in 20th and 21st century artwork on exhibit in Jacksonville’s City Hall. More information available at

French in Florida Exhibit at the Museum of Science and History (MOSH)

Through July 7, 2014, this exhibit features maps and displays about the historic first French colony in Jacksonville. More information available at

Kid’s Summer Camp at MOSH: The Age of Discovery

From June 30 – July 3, 2014, MOSH will host a kid’s summer camp about European explorers who influenced Florida’s history in recognition of the 450th anniversary of Fort Caroline. For more information and to register visit

La Caroline Rock Opera at MOSH

October 15 – 16, 2014 MOSH is excited to host La Caroline, a ground-breaking and dynamic rock opera written by Jacksonville musician and playwright Jennifer Chase with original music by John Citrone.  More information available at

Miami French Weeks

From October 23 – November 13, 2014, Miami will host a series of cultural and business events that highlight the significant contributions of France. More information and the schedule of events at


About Viva Florida:

In 2013, Florida reached a significant milestone, the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León's arrival on Florida's east coast. Building on the success of Viva Florida 500 in 2013, The Florida Department of State continues to work with partners statewide to promote cultural and historical experiences through a multi-year campaign called Viva Florida, which promotes 12,000 years of Florida’s people, places and cultural achievements.