Rumania: Balkan Admirers

Rumanians have long had a sort of national crush on France. Though surrounded by Slavs, they claim direct descent from the Roman colonizers to whom they owe their Latin character.

Shunning Balkan influence, generations of Rumanian writers, including Eugène lonesco, looked toward Paris for inspiration. Bucharest itself was planned in arrondissements like Paris, with wide, tree-lined boulevards, street cafes and a replica of the Arc de Triomphe. The Rumanian language is peppered with French words.

Even though the two countries are separated by both ideology and considerable distance, they share some compelling...

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