French Azilum, a historical site nestled in Towanda, Pennsylvania, just an hour south of Upstate New York, has a fascinating connection to one of the most iconic figures in French history - Marie Antoinette.

Get our free mobile app

While the queen herself never set foot in this American refuge, her presence and influence are intertwined in French Azilum's story.

Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France, was born in 1755 into the powerful Habsburg family of Austria. At the age of 14, she was married off to the Dauphin of France, who later became King Louis XVI, cementing a political alliance between the two nations. Marie Antoinette's extravagant lifestyle and the political unrest in France would eventually lead to her tragic downfall.

As the French Revolution raged on and the monarchy faced increasing hostility, Marie Antoinette and her family were captured, imprisoned, and publicly executed. However, before her death, news of her plight had reached the United States, and the American people sympathized with the queen. This led to the creation of French Azilum as a haven for French aristocrats seeking refuge from the chaos and violence in their homeland.

Traci Taylor
Traci Taylor
loading...

Although the queen was unable to find sanctuary in French Azilum due to her tragic fate, her impact is felt in the very foundation of this historical site. The vision of French Azilum was inspired by the desire to provide a safe and secure place for those fleeing the turmoil of the French Revolution. The French settlers who established Azilum aspired to recreate a sense of French culture and elegance, echoing the grandeur associated with Marie-Antoinette and the French court.

While Marie Antoinette's physical presence may be absent from French Azilum, her spirit lives on through the continued preservation of French Azilum.

Traci Taylor
Traci Taylor
loading...

With its rolling hills reminiscent of the French countryside, this serene enclave became a place of solace and respite for these exiled French aristocrats. Inspired by their homeland, the settlers recreated a slice of French culture in the heart of Pennsylvania, complete with French-style architecture, gardens, and a quaint village.

However, as the political climate in France stabilized, fewer refugees sought sanctuary in French Azilum. The once-thriving community gradually transformed into a quiet hamlet, its spirit preserved by a dedicated group of locals who recognized the historical significance of this unique settlement.

The 10 Most Haunted Places in the Southern Tier of New York State

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

Your Ghost Guide to The 50 Most Haunted Places in New York State

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

More From 106.5 WYRK