Welcome back to my current French Friday guest-post series! This week we have another Parisian blogger, Amy Reverdy of “C’est la me . . .”
Amy and Mr. Misadventures became fast friends at the Paris Bloggers meet-up last October. I am not surprised as Amy and I had already exchanged a lot of emails marveling in our similar stories!
The difference? She now lives in Paris with her Mr. Frenchie and I live in the San Francisco area with mine! But in our hearts we both adore Paris.
Here is Amy’s story.
A Passion for Paris . . .
My passion for Paris developed over time – a flicker that grew into a flame opposed to love at first sight. I’d been living in San Francisco for 10 years prior to moving to Paris and already felt like I’d won the-perfect-city-to-live-in lottery. Plus, because I was moving to Paris (most likely) permanently, I think I viewed the city with a critical eye opposed to someone on holiday. It was my new home and I didn’t like that my new home had dog poop everywhere, aggressive commuters, biting weather and short days. I probably should have moved in springtime not winter. In the end, however, I was no match for Paris. She has been stealing American hearts for decades and mine was no exception. Little by little she won me over and I fell in love. Here is how she did it:
1. The Newness
After five years, I can still get lost in Paris. Twenty “arrondissements” equals twenty different places to discover; each has its own monuments, character and story. Today, I explored a new corner of Buttes-aux-Cailles in the 13th arrondissement. Last night, I dined at a friend’s place in the 9th arrondissement. The brasseries were straight out of an old French film and some of the store fronts hadn’t been touched in more than a century. Tomorrow, I might stand on a footbridge over the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement and watch the water rise as a boat prepares to pass beneath me. Whatever I do, I will not be bored and I’m guaranteed to see or learn something new whether it’s a word “en français,” a bit of history, the name of a historical figure on a street sign, a chateau on a wine bottle, how to convert a cup of flour to grams while making gougères, or random street art.
2. The Food
I never imagined I’d one day look forward to doing my grocery shopping (or use a “granny cart”). I remember Sam the Butcher from The Brady Bunch and in the 70s my mom got our meat from a butcher too. But one day he was gone as family-owned businesses ceded to supermarket chains. In Paris not only do I have my local butcher, but my local wine shop, cheese shop, chocolate shop, and bakery. In addition to those with fixed locations in my quartier, I have a farmer’s market within five minutes of my house three days a week and another one within ten minutes on alternate days. For the days I don’t feel like cooking, I have a long list of favorite restaurants and another long list of those I’m waiting to try.
3. The People
Being a foreigner in Paris has a pleasant side effect that I didn’t anticipate. In my French language classes, I met people from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Russia, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and more. These encounters have enriched my life in many ways. I’ve learned about their countries, their cultures, and in some cases even learned how to make their cuisine. Most importantly, I understand what they are going through as a foreigner in a foreign land in a foreign language. Had I never had to learn French, I would have never have met all of these amazing people and learned so much about different places. Paris has a way of bringing people together.
4. The Location
I love that Paris is the “Capital of the World” – or at least it thinks it is; it certainly seems that way when it comes to travel. Four years ago I drove to Spain from the French border for a weekend trip. Three years ago I used to travel to Germany fairly often for work. Two year ago I was in Belgium sampling beers. Last August I celebrated my birthday in Italy. The following September I was vacationing in Croatia and Montenegro. Next month I’ll pop over to England for a baby shower. Not to mention all the wonderful regions I’ve visited in France by hopping on a train to Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Normandy, Montpellier, Nice, etc. I never imagined that I’d someday have the opportunity to visit so many interesting places and learn so much. Paris and it’s placement on the map has made it possible!
Amy was born in Los Angeles, raised in Orange County, and worked in San Francisco. A true California girl, she never imagined living any place else. But then one evening, she met her Prince Charming who oddly enough just happened to be a frog. He eventually lured her away to a far away land called Paris with the promise of all the cheese and wine she could eat. She’s been living here happily-ever-after there ever since. She writes about her experiences on her blog “C’est la me . . .”