TICONDEROGA - Xavier Righini didn't realize the role his country played in American history until he visited the Ticonderoga area.
"You have much history here," the French visitor said. "We French have been here many, many years."
Righini was one of five French visitors brought to the area recently by the Group Study Exchange sponsored by Rotary.
After having breakfast with the Northern Lake George Rotary Club at Silver Bay, the group visited the Ticonderoga Cartoon Museum and Fort Ticonderoga. The local stop was part of a two-week visit to the United States.
Righini learned a great deal about his nation's role in the French and Indian War and American Revolution, he said.
"It's been a wonderful experience," said Cecile Levenez as she toured the cartoon museum. "Americans are very open-minded people and very friendly. I feel welcomed."
Joining Righini and Levenez on the tour were Francois Roche, Sevastien Ferrarini and Francois Prats.
Stan Burdick, a Rotary member and director of the Ti Cartoon Museum, gave the group a tour of his facility, pointing out French influences on American cartooning.
"They're fascinated with our history and the lake (Lake George)," said Beth Barton-Navitsky, who served as a guide along with fellow Rotarian Diane Dickson.
"At Silver Bay they hated to leave; they couldn't believe how beautiful the lake is," Barton-Navitsky said. "I think they've enjoyed their visit."