I’ll admit that the name makes me giggle, as I picture some brassy Parisian dame swaggairing down ze boulevard wizout geeving a feeg for ennywan, espèces de salauds, quoi!
But the French Broad River is far more interesting than that. It flows in a northwesterly direction, which is completely and utterly counterintuitive, especially as it somehow crosses the Smoky Mountains in the process. It winds up in Tennessee, where some 70 years ago it became subject to the Tennessee Valley Authority (a major Depression era government project that created Douglas Dam and Lake, among other things). It joins the Holstein River in Knoxville to form the Tennessee River.
I think this geological anomaly, the northwest-flowing river, in part contributes to the way Asheville feels culturally so unlike an East Coast city. It is oriented westward, to the mountains; it doesn’t inevitably face down to the sea.