Today is Bastille Day, or as it is more commonly referred to in France, Le Quatorze Juillet. It’s the French equivalent of our Independence Day or as we more commonly call it, the 4th of July. Hmm…perhaps we have more in common with the French than some would care to admit.
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Today we kick off the second annual LWD Francophile Week here on the blog and the LWD Facebook page. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks and I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I do.
Where it all began…
I cannot recall precisely when my love affair with France and the French language first began. I do recall reading A Little Princess in about 3rd grade and being intrigued with the notion of little Sarah Crewe being able to speak French. By junior high I knew that French was the language I wished to study, despite the fact we lived in Southern California with its large Hispanic population.
People drawn to all things French probably aren’t the most practical-minded at all times. Despite my first-born, people-pleasing, outwardly compliant nature, deep within has always been a highly individual, dreamy, creative and perhaps slightly rebellious nature. Just as most people weren’t aware of my fascination with the hippie culture and my dream of attending Berkeley, they weren’t likely to pick up on those other aspects of my personality. I looked so normal.
I took French in 9th grade (junior high) and all through high school. My junior high teacher was Dutch and had a rather pronounced accent. My high school teacher was an adorable little woman with a thick, southern accent. Despite the fact that I was the top French student and could actually read and write the language pretty well, I didn’t learn to speak it with anything like a proper accent.
My university French professor was much better but I was only able to take two semesters in college. I skipped the first two offered and started in the intermediate level. Unfortunately, they only offered four semesters of French. Just one more and I would have had another minor. Ah, well…
Since that time, I’ve forgotten much of what I knew but I’m hoping to remedy that with the use of the Rosetta Stone computer program. One of my goals is to regain my previous ability to read and write the language, and perhaps even be able to speak it well enough to be of use on our next trip to Paris.
In the meantime, I watch French films and read books with a French connection. I have part of my collection on the little table next to my chair in our bedroom. A little black, French-inspired table I bought a number of years ago at Hobby Lobby, which for some inexplicable reason carries a fairly extensive collection of items with a French flair.
I enjoy French food and some French music. I find the architecture of Paris to be absolutely stunning. My well-known obsession with New Orleans began all because we needed a honeymoon location within driving distance and the French influence in New Orleans tipped the scales for me. My ability to read a French menu came in handy when we splurged on an expensive dinner at Antoine’s. I’m not sure how I managed it but I still have the menu from that honeymoon dinner. I don’t think I stole it…
For as long as I can remember I wanted to go to Paris. My dream came true in 2014 when David surprised me with a trip for my birthday. It was everything I had always dreamed it would be.
I’m now plotting another trip to Paris but in the meantime I’ll feed my Francophilia with French films (thank you, Netflix!), French books and blogs, music and Rosetta Stone. AND…my relatively new Facebook group – French Chic. If you’re a Francophile, too, I hope you’ll join the group.
In the week ahead I’ll be blogging about Francophile topics such as food, books, films, culture and more. The LWD Facebook page will also have a decidedly Francophile tone, as well.
For now I’ll close with some favorite French quotes:
“To scatter joy, to beam with happiness, to possess amid somber
things an exhalation of light, to be the gilding of destiny, to be
harmony, to be grace, to be prettiness, is to render a service.
Beauty does one good by being beautiful.”~Victor Hugo
“Those who have been too long at their labor, who have drunk too long at the cup of voluptuousness, who feel they have become temporarily inhumane, who are tormented by their families, who find life sad and love ephemeral; they should all eat chocolate and they will be comforted.”~Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
“And the day came when the risk [it took] to remain tight in the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”~Anais Nin
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”~ Coco Chanel
“I can’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing
herself up a little, if only out of politeness. And then you never
know — maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny – and it’s
best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”~ Coco Chanel.