France at last

October 30, 2008 suesbent
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Me on ferry on The Channel 2008

 As an Australian with only one vague family connection with France this growing “homesickness” that I had been feeling for years was inexplicable. My only words of French were as a high school student. My only visit to a French community was to New Caledonia for 8 days in 1974 with my French class. And yet the older I got the stronger this yearning to go to France became. I know of others who feel this same strange pull towards France.

So we landed at Calais then immediately drove to Amsterdam and out of France. Our bus tour was to take us to Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy before we were scheduled to visit France. A fantastic trip for sure but too fast to soak in the atmosphere. I was merely a tourist; one of thousands; following the tourist trail like mindless sheep in a production line. Nevertheless it was still fantastic.


We arrive in France via Nice and stay on the Cote d”Azur for 2 nights; then to Lyon and Paris. We stopped at the medieval hilltop town of Saint Paul de Vence and I begin to fall in love. By the time I am in Beaune I am cocooned in a veil of bliss; I feel like I have fallen in love. The yearning is fulfilled and the Frenchness has penetrated my soul leaving me smiling with joy. What is this? How can it be? C’est quoi exactement? In Nice I see the modern library building modeled to represent a human head and understand and appreciate the design immediately. Other cultures would think of the idea but only the French would build it. In Paris I go to the cabaret and laugh until I cry at the antics of a comedian acrobat. I have not laughed like this for perhaps 30 years. I get their humour. I agree with their reluctance to speak English because French is a beautiful language so why should they be expected to speak English in their own land? I attempt my high school French wholeheartedly and make no apologies for my halting mistakes. At least I try and realise I would quickly pick it up were I to stay longer. If only I could stay longer!


Me at Le Louvre in Paris 2008

Me at Le Louvre in Paris 2008

We visit Le Louvre, Versailles, and Le Tour Eiffel but too soon we leave France and return to London and then Australia. Was it a dream? I have not experienced Paris at all. I will have to return. But I realise I won’t be back there again for a long time; if ever. So my plan is to bring something of France, however small, into my life here in Australia. This blog and my accociated wiki are to be the vehicles for that quest.





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