Vive la France


French World War One "Croix de Guerre" Award Medallion (LEO Design)


Today is Bastille Day—called Fête nationale in French—the annual celebration commemorating the Storming of the Bastille in 1789.  The Bastille was a fortress in Paris in which political enemies were sometimes held—often unjustly and simply at the whim of the King.  The Storming of the Bastille, during which some of the King's political prisoners were liberated, is a major landmark in the French Revolution, a struggle which ended the country's monarchy.  14 July is still celebrated today as one of France's most important "historic" holidays, perhaps comparable to 4 July in the States.  There are parties, parades, a great deal of pageantry and showy displays of military power.  And lots of Red, White and Blue.

Another treasured symbol of those who fought for Liberté, egalité and fraternité in France is the Croix de Guerre (shown above).  It was first awarded during World War I and other military conflicts since.  It recognizes those who have exhibited great valor or shown outstanding merit in combat—both Frenchmen and Allies.  The Croix de Guerre takes the form of a Maltese Cross, pierced with a pair of crossed swords.  The front shows the bas relief profile of the female personification of the French Republic, surrounded by the words "Republique Française."  On the reverse side are the dates 1914 and 1918, the years in which World War One began and ended.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about the medallion.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248