No doubt most of you would accuse me of dabbling in cliché territory if I started my list with what all of us love about France: Sleek women in stylish ensembles, leisurely meals with excellent food, wine and conversation, the monuments, the parks, the history -- one could go on and on. . . But no.
My passionate adventure with La Belle France has never abated and of course those are among the myriad reasons why I love her so deeply, but my TOP 10 this week veers into the personal: My experiences, my impressions and my beautiful French life.
10 Reasons I Love France:
2.) Paris, Paris, Paris.
3.) The sound of the language with all the nuances and gestures that continue to fascinate me.
4.) Perfume wafting in their wake as women scurry down the streets of Paris. Sublime.
5.) The mere idea of Champagne: It is joy in a bottle, to be consumed not only in celebration, but also as a prescription against tristesse and disillusionment. It never fails to work its magic.
6.) French police (please see My True Story in Feb. 20th post).
7.) Making A Wish. I don't know whether this is true in other cultures, but I first discovered it here. For every "first" one experiences, you make a wish. And the French being the French you can do this every year, for example: the first peach, raspberry, cherry, mushroom, etc. of the year -- you wish upon the experience.
Yesterday I had the first taste (ever) of a Financier cake made with pistachio nut paste -- and here's the other part of the first, made by man.
It didn't occur to me to make a wish until a friend said: "Vite, vite fais un voeu!"
8.) Making an effort: I can't help repeating this because it has made such an indelible impression upon me. Every day in every way, Frenchwomen do something to make their life and the lives of those around them, more beautiful.
They put on their makeup, dress with care and finesse, or as I've said before: They get up, get dressed and get out there showing their best face to the world.
9.) Small pleasures: Is this their savoir faire, their joie de vivre or l'art de vivre? I don't know. Surely it's all of them. Essentially it is an extension of "making an effort," making a home beautiful and comfortable; a table irresistible with not only the food, but also a personal touch to please the eye -- flowers, candles, a bowl of crystal balls, a small plant, always something special because that's what a rich life is all about: An accumulation of small pleasures, every day.
10.) Our little village and our little village life.
The painting above of our village is by Bernard Buffet -- it looks a little melancholy with the light and the snow, but it's not at all -- Maurice Utrillo also painted our town and a friend owns the work, but I don't have a picture of it unfortunately.
I took the picture of "our" chateau -- "ours" in the sense of our school, our boulangerie, our épicerie. You knew that of course. (I've included two shots because I couldn't decide which one I like better.)