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07
March Saturday

Leblanc Palace: Cienfuegos' French roots in a cultural center



A space to nourish the soul and spirit and connect the inhabitants of a modern city like Cienfuegos with its French roots exists today in the former Fernandina de Jagua colony.

The current LeBlanc Palace Cultural, built on land belonging to Don Luis D' Clouet, the founder of the colony, opened in April 2019 during the celebrations for the bicentennial of the city.

It was the North American Guillermo Hood Clemens who ordered the construction of the house in the first half of the XIX century, when neoclassicism was the aesthetic code that prevailed in town.

Later on the property passed into the hands of Jules Leblanc Bresol, a wealthy man from Bordeaux, after whom the palace is named. After his death, the house functioned as the La Alhambra store, dedicated to the sale of perfumery, jewelry, silk and art objects, among others.

It was also home to an optician's shop, a branch of the National City Bank of New York, and La Diana, a business of import and storage of groceries. Then came an agency of the Liverpool Fire Insurance Company and a hardware store called Hormachea.

After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the building saw another change when it housed what is known today as the He and She beauty center. In 2008 it was given to the Office of the Cienfuegos City Conservator for its restoration, until it became today’s Leblanc Palace Cultural Center.

The restoration of this colonial house from the early 19th century was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Cuba-France Cooperation Agreement, as part of the brotherhood ties that unite this country with the also known as the Pearl of the South, since the latter was a settlement founded by colonists of Gallic origin. It is currently the venue of summer courses, exhibitions and film screenings, as well as of the monthly event Tarde Francesa (French Afternoon) which gathers locals of French ancestry to enjoy the artistic talent of the city, always with the intention of finding those points of contact between Cienfuegos, the city of the streets drawn in a straight line, and France.

 

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