Friday, September 23, 2011

French Friday

Good morning and Happy French Friday to all of you!

On my inaugural French Friday post, Raquelita asked - 'why France?'  So today I figured I would try to explain my fascination and obsession with this country.

I have a two-fold explanation... and some pictures to share from my 2008 to illustrate the reason why I fell in love with Paris.

Turns out my fascination with France goes back quite a ways... actually, all the way back to 4th grade. My music teacher asked us to do a report on a composer. She started to assign composers to each student, when I raised my hand to make a special request. After being called on, I explained that it was really important that I be assigned a French composer, if at all possible. She questioned why it was so important to me, and I said, 'well, I'm French, of course'. She gave me a strange look, but did assign me Camille Saint-Saens. When the day came to present our composers to the class, I vividly recall giving my report in what I thought was a 'French Accent'. Oh to be a fly on the wall and hear what I thought a French accent sounded like!  I don't think I have a drop of French blood in my body - I am primarily German & Swedish... but for some reason, I dreamed up some long-lost relatives in France. I'm sure my classmates thought I was a total fruitcake. I sure had a vivid imagination as a child...


My curiosity and interest about France sort of subsided over the years, until 2008 when I started to research grad school programs summer programs.  There was a 2-week program in Lyon that I was interested in so I applied and was accepted.  I had plenty of vacation time left for the year, so I decided to add onto this trip and spend a week in Paris.  I would meet up with my classmates in Lyon, but the Paris segment of the trip would be spent ALONE. 


This was my first time really traveling alone (besides studying abroad alone) and surprisingly, I wasn't really even nervous about this.  I had gone through a really tough break-up the previous January, so I needed this trip.  And the thing is, on that trip to Paris, I realized I had found "me" again.  I had gotten so lost in that unhealthy/unhappy relationship that had recently ended, and I spent most of the spring feeling as though I was living under a rain cloud.  But that week in Paris, I was reminded just how wonderful life really is.  I realized that being single is a not a cursed existence and that I could be quite happy on my own. 


So I guess you could say that Paris came into my life at a time when I needed it.  That week in Paris put a spring in my step and helped me feel independent and in control of my life.  I have such fond memories of my time in France, and Paris will forever hold a special place in my heart.  I have traveled somewhat extensively, and no other city has captured my heart like Paris has. 



And so I have become a complete and utter Francophile, because in a way - Paris saved me.  Or I saved myself, with the help of Paris. 

Is there any particular region you have traveled to that has captured your heart?

20 comments:

Marina said...

I love France. I've only visited Paris so far and I love it. I would love to go back..

Stephany said...

Haha, I love the story of you in 4th grade. How cute!

I can't really say there is a place that has captured my heart to the extent France has for you. I would like to travel someday, but I don't have any "musts" for where to go.

AshleyD said...

Paris, unlike any other city, has captured my heart completely. My first time visiting was 2006, with my family. Then I did a study abroad program in college for the summer- one week in Paris and five weeks in Lyon. And then when I moved to France, I visited Paris as often as possible. That city is just magical!

Raquelita said...

Bonjour! When I was in 2nd grade my parents took me to a bookstore and let me pick out one thing. I picked out a French language book and audio cassette. I totes thought I was going to learn French! Funnily, that language is so hard for me. I can read it fairly well, but speaking it is another matter. I ended up becoming a Hispanophile.

So glad that you what you needed in France and kindled a curiosity with another place, language, and culture. I feel much the same about parts of Spain - Madrid, Salamanca, and Seville in particular (all places I've spent a fair amount of time and where I did dissertation research).

missris said...

Paris is so magical. I've been enough times that I feel relatively familiar with the city and every time I go back it takes my breath away. That timeless beauty is what college campuses, houses, and cities across the world try to replicate. There you can get the original!

Carolina John said...

Believe it or not, I absolutely love Wisconsin. I taught a few classes in Racine (south of Milwaukee) a few years ago and absolutely fell in love with the place. Southern hospitality is nothing compared to how nice the people were up there. Lake Michigan, white beaches, and all the snow I could handle. It absolutely blew me away.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I loved this story when you told it to Amber and I!
I'm reading a book that is set in Paris and I think you might like it. It's Anna and the French Kiss - it's very YA, but the descriptions of Paris are definitely making me want to visit someday!

B and B said...

Starting to think about our French menu...

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Awww, I love this love story! I can't say I had a love affair with Paris when I was there, but I did love other parts of France.

For me, I fell in love with Barcelona. I've been twice and would go again in a heartbeat.

AndreaClaire said...

Love the story from grade four :) Do you still remember anything about Saint-Saens that you don't have to look up online?

Despite really loving some parts of France, Paris never really did it for me. I've been, I enjoyed it, but I'm not dying to go back (not to say that I wouldn't go back if the opportunity presented itself).

For me, the place that most captured my heart was Switzerland (especially the Berner Oberland region). I try to go back every couple of years (and thank goodness I have friends to stay with there because it is EXPENSIVE!) and my German has taken on some very Swiss traits (like the use of French words when the German ones are too long).

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Ahhh this line gave me goosebumps: "because in a way - Paris saved me. Or I saved myself, with the help of Paris."

:)

I love your love of Paris. I think it is a very endearing quality (I think I said this on your last post too!)

Italy and Greece both won my heart over. I can't wait to travel back to those two places. That being said Paris also won me over a bit on our second time back there at the end of the 3 weeks and I'm looking forward to going back to Paris as well :)

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Your love of Paris is great! Now, why not move there for a summer or something..hmm...? We can talk about that later!

There have been a lot of places I have loved (Paris being one of them actually) so it is hard to just pick one. But, I do love Italy. I can't just tell you one place, but Italy in general is a place I would go back to again and again.

I also went to Buenos Aires three times, I liked it so much. We kept making trips so that they would "have to" go through BsAs.

Abby said...

I love your love of France. I can't say I personally love it, as I've never experienced it. I hope you get to return soon!

I still beam with smiles whne I think of you reading your report in a French accent... :)

Marlys said...

I so remember your "French" assignment but did not know at the time that you gave it with a French accent! You always were dramatic! I remember when you were totally convinced that you were "Stephanie" and wouldn't answer if anyone called you Lisa.
I've never been to France, but hope to travel to Italy someday!

Cherry Blossoms said...

I will always remember you calling about getting into the Lyon program and how much happier you were upon returning. Paris, is truly a magical city that has a way of capturing one hearts.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Great post :) The Cape has saved me time and time again, so I get it, my place just happens to be a lot closer to my house haha.

Jeanie said...

I love this, love that you are doing French Fridays and I'm so glad you shared your photos. The fourth grade story is THE BEST EVER! I can just "see" you! But I think that passion comes through.

For me, England was that place of passion for so very many years -- I didn't quite nail it in fourth grade, but by the time I was able to read BritLit, I became an anglophile. My one and only visit was heaven.

Then I discovered Paris... and the rest, as they say, is history! I'm glad you're doing this each Friday! Can't wait for more!

Lisa-Marie said...

Lovely. I love Normandy (I tend towards rural places you see), but also, London. Oh London.

Amanda said...

obviously you know that I'm a fellow francophile by now :) I remember one day after I'd been living in Paris for a couple of months when I was walking down some little street in the 6th and it hit me: this is home. Not forever, but this is my home.

That was an amazing moment.

There's a quote from Sabrina I've always loved (mostly because the scene where it's spoken was filmed right next to one of my favorite creperies): "I found myself in Paris." I sure did.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

The Dominican Republic captured my heart. I loved the people.