Buenos Aires prides itself on being the Paris of Latin America. It has wide boulevards and French style-architecture in the older sections. The style is not accidental, but is closely connected with the founding of Argentina.
San Martin the liberator of Argentina from Spanish rule (such as it was) was a Freemason, and spent the last part of his life in France.
Independence from Spain also meant independence from Spanish culture and Spanish religion. Freemasonry was the enlightened religion of enlightened Frenchmen, who were the most enlightened citizens of Europe – or so San Marin thought.
Church and State are closely united in Argentina. Until recently the president had to be a Catholic, and Carlos Menem, a Moslem, had to be sprinkled with water to make him capable of leading the country.
The Argentine state wanted San Martin buried in the National Cathedral, but the Church was unhappy about honoring a Freemason. The compromise was to build a room off the cathedral to house the sepulcher. The room is devoid of religious symbols.
The antique shops of Buenos Aires are also full of French antiques, more than I ever saw in Montreal. Our hotel room at the Alvear Palace Hotel was more French than anything I have experienced in France. I think that housekeeping used Hermes to wash the carpets. It was like living inside a gateau Sainte Honore.