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Passy was formerly a commune. It was annexed to Paris in 1860.
Passy is known to Americans as the home of patriot Benjamin Franklin during the nine years that he lived in France during the American Revolutionary War. For much of this time, he was a lodger in the home of Monsieur de Chaumont.
Franklin established a small printing press in his lodgings, to print pamphlets and other material as part of his mandate to maintain French support of the revolution. He called it the Passy Press. Among his printing projects, he produced (Bagatelles) comics and passports, even developing a special typeface known as "le Franklin." He also printed a 1782 treatise from Pierre-André Gargaz titled "A Project of Universal and Perpetual Peace," that laid out a vision for maintaining a permanent peace in Europe. It proposed a central governing council, with representatives of all of the nations of Europe, that would arbitrate international disputes.
When Franklin returned to America, the new ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson, wrote, "When he left Passy, it seemed as if the village had lost its patriarch." At the time of Franklin, Passy was a village separate from Paris.
The painting of Albert Gleizes, Les ponts de Paris (Passy), The Bridges of Paris (Passy), in the collection of the Museum Moderner Kunst (mumok), Vienna, refers to the spirit of solidarity among the newly formed "Artists of Passy", during a time when factions had begun to develop within Cubism. Les Artistes de Passy consisted of a divers grouping of avant-garde artistes (painters, sculptors and poets), including several who previously held meetings in 1910 at the rue Visconti studio of Henri Le Fauconnier. Their first diner presided over by neo-symbolist Paul Fort was held at the house of Balzac, rue Raynouard, in the presence of Guillaume Apollinaire, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Marie Laurencin, Henri Le Fauconnier, Fernand Léger, André Mare, Jean Metzinger, Francis Picabia, Henry Valensi, and Jacques Villon. Albert Gleizes chose to Passy as the subject of this painting.
There is now a rue Benjamin Franklin and a square de Yorktown near the Trocadéro.
A lively street in the area is Rue de Passy, which goes from La Muette to the Place de Costa Rica just behind the Trocadéro. It has boutiques and chain stores along its length.
The Cimetière de Passy, located at 2, rue du Commandant Schœlsing, is the burial place for many well-known persons including American silent film star Pearl White, the painters Édouard Manet and Berthe Morisot, and composer Claude Debussy.