Monday, September 7, 2009

TOP 10: Reasons I Love Living in France

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:

1.) My-Reason-for-Living-In-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.) 


annecychic said...

Tish, I love your list--love it. My favorites and numbers 8 & 9, I'm enchanted by number 7. And I can completely relate to number 10 because that's the way I feel about Annecy in general, and Veyrier in particular. Thanks for sharing

Bonjour Madame said...

This may be my favorite post of yours ever. Not just because I get a glimpse into why you love France and what it's like to live there, but really your list can translate into my life here with some minor adjustments. Sometimes I forget to treasure the little things that are so perfect where I live. This just gave me an attitude shift, so thank you!

And Champagne....I love it so. I don't know why I bother with any other drink. It is perfection and sheer joy to have a glass.


Lorrie said...

Your list is wonderful. The wintry painting of your village doesn't look melancholy to me - rather mysterious, a bit aloof, but hiding all kinds of wonderful secrets behind the closed doors and windows.

Anonymous said...

I love the detail in the wrought iron work... and the chateau... wow! Thanks for sharing.

Anoninoz said...

Beautiful and wonderful chateau - totally breathtaking! x said...

Dear annecychic,

It's a lovely life isn't it? It's so much fun for me to have you relate in the same way to our experiences.

Merci, merci,

Tish said...

Really, Stephanie, your favorite? I'm so pleased.

On the other hand, what can I do next to delight you?

I sincerely doubt you, of all people, often forget to treasure little things.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had I only stayed two years as planned.

Oh, Champagne. . . said...

Thank you Lorrie. The major difference today is the color of the paint -- actually, thank goodness -- from that brown to a gray/green/blue. Very pretty. said...

Yes, the ironwork is beautiful. I agree. That's why I couldn't decide which picture to use. said...


The chateau was renovated a few years ago -- inside and out. It's gorgeous inside.

Marsi said...

Another wonderful Tish List. I love #4 (perfume) as well. I am always deprived of it here in the States, so I must create the cloud of perfume myself -- both for my own enjoyment and (I hope!) others'. Of course, we're also so hysterical here about smells and germs and personal space that I may well be offending everyone I encounter. No one's ever complained ... yet.

I, too, love the special care taken with everything, even the most mundane, quotidian things. I love the wonderful shapes of sugar cubes, the special twine used to transform pastry boxes into gift boxes, the tissue paper and stickers that wrap items the salesgirl knows are for you (rather than a gift), etc. It makes life so pleasant and charming.

And I love Stephanie's observation that we can tweak these for our own places and spaces, no matter where we are. "Bloom where you're planted," as they say.

(... whoever "they" are ...!)

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