On Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the Library of Congress had the honor of hosting a visit by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron. President Macron, accompanied by his wife, Brigitte Macron, got an exclusive view of materials compiled from the Library of Congress collections in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Building. Among the Law Library colleagues present to receive President Macron were Nicolas Boring, French foreign law specialist, and Nathan Dorn, Law Library rare book curator.
From the Law Library’s collection, the items set out were The Coutumes of Amiens and Grand Coutumier de Normandie. At the exhibition, the captioning produced by Nathan noted that the Coutumes of Amiens printed in Paris contains the text of the law as promulgated in 1567. He highlighted that ”France’s influence on American life and institutions is nowhere more profound than in the history of law.” The Law Library’s collection of coutumes, French customary law, is one of the finest outside France, including 700 volumes of French coutumes and more than 100 from other European countries. Of these, none surpasses the Coutume de Normandie, a 15th-century illuminated French manuscript, in both legal and paleographic interest. Follow this link to learn more about The Coutumes of France in the Library of Congress, which is an annotated bibliography compiled in 1977 by Jean Caswell and Ivan Sipkov, with the editorial assistance of Natalie Gawdiak at the Law Library of Congress.
The visit with President Macron and his wife was quite brief as he was scheduled to start his joint session address before the U.S. Congress immediately after his visit to the Library of Congress. Nicolas and Nathan did, however, get a chance to shake hands and exchanged a few pleasantries with the president and the first lady of France. Nicolas shared that “as the French law specialist, it was a great honor [. . .] to meet Macron, and certainly one of the highlights of [ . . . his] Law Library career so far.”