Posts tagged ‘bliss ‘


Seduced by the title, with the keen hope that Isabel Huggan could shed some light on this psychological dilemma, I have almost finished reading this 2003 publication. It fails to be an analysis, discussion, or prescription on the notion of ‘belonging’. Instead it succeeds far beyond expectation with this collection of rambling, eloquent descriptions through memory and observation.

It is set in France where this Canadian lady now lives. She does not claim to be a Francophile, nor even wish to ‘belong’ there. Surprisingly she finds her “at home” epiphany in Hobart Tasmania Australia.

Her descriptions of France stir those feelings I had last year when I was finally in France after years of longing. I find her words moving my stomach, my heart, my soul, until I am reminded, with a real physical sensation, of the bliss I experienced while wandering around the streets of Beaune. I remember feeling as though my head was literally in a fluffy white cloud and I was truly and deepy ‘in LOVE’, and my whole body was cocooned in a bubble of bliss. Never before had I felt that way. And I had longed to go to France since I was a child for some unknown reason.

It is fashionable now to be a ‘francophile’ and it is a little of a relief to be able to name the condition and discover others who are similarly afflicted.

I am Caucasian Australian by birth, family, history, place, type, lifestyle, language, and appearance – whatever that means in today’s diverse multicultural world. My ancestry is rooted in Australia for many generations, but has genus in England, Scotland, and France. The link to France is through the name of Colet, who apparently fled France during the French Revolution and settled in England. This is a well known turn in history, but the family link is by shared verbal story and unsubstantiated in genealogical research. It is a myth. Yet one I choose to hang on to as some possible explanation for my yearning for France.

I knew that visiting France briefly last year would not cure me, or help me. I knew I would need time to assimilate and intellectualise the experience. My experienced bliss was too totally fulfilling. And my inevitable departure too quick and too heart wrenching. My daily existence is here in Australia; too far away; too remote in every way. My hidden sadness is a grief like the loss of a loved one (but not quite as painful). I needed time to get over my visit, my epiphany, before I could discuss it.

Now, 18 months after my trip to France, I can allow myself the luxury of remembering, and perhaps once again attempting to create a little of whatever it is about France, in my own life here in Australia.

It feels impossible. It is a different culture, landscape, history, language, lifestyle, architecture, philosophy, and environment. All attempts by many Francophiles to create this here in Australia are futile and failed.

Reading “Belonging” reminds me in a tangible way of how I felt in France. Isabel Huggan’s descriptions take me there. I feel transported to Saint Paul de Vence. The names of the towns ring harmoniously in my ear. I see the streets, hills and shops.

In reality I have relocated to a seaside location in Victoria Australia. I don’t belong here any more than I felt I belonged for the last 24 years living on the Mornington Peninsula. I have never felt like a typical “Aussie”. The “Aussie” culture surrounds me and it grates on my nerves like a metal spade on concrete. It is echoed in the screeches from the flocks of sulphur-crested cockatoos fighting in the pine trees outside my window every morning.

Despite reading Isabel Huggan’s beautiful book about belonging, I feel no nearer to understanding this dilemma, but encouraged to hear about the similar struggles of others.


Add a comment December 22, 2009

French blogs

I subscribe to and read several blogs where the focus is on French lifestyle, fashion, images, food, decor and longings. Reading these regularly helps me to indulge my own longings for whatever it is we all crave and are trying to define, attract, and manifest in our lives.

Charles Bremner – Times Online

Charles Bremner is based in Paris and is the correspondent for the Times.


Chocolate and Zucchini

Clotilde Dusoulier writes from Paris France and offers delicious recipes.


Fete et Fleur

“A place to dream” is a beautiful blog written by an American woman who lives in the United States.


French Accent

“An Australian who covets French things” My own humble offerings as I attempt to attract the beauty and inspiration of the French lifestyle to my own life on the far side of the globe in Australia ~ Susan Bentley


French Life – Expat France

“Living in France and daily life for a UK expat in the French blog” offers no name but is from a UK family of four.


French Word-A-Day

“Serving you a thrice-weekly slice of French life” Kristin Espinasse is an American living in the French Riviera and delivers this beautifully crafted blog.



American Pamela Poole lives in Paris and writes about her experiences.


Helena Frith Powell

Author of “Two Lipsticks and a Lover” Helena Frith Powell is a UK writer who lived in France with her family for a while but now lives in Abu Dhabi while continuing to write her blog and articles for magazines.


La Belette Rouge

Written by an American woman who lives in Los Angeles and is a self-confessed Francophile.


Laura’s French Language Blog

Laura K. Lawless lives in France and offers tips and language advice.


Life in Paris

Offers no name but is a “starving Englishman artist” and offers many photos of Paris.


One Thing in a French Day

“A small slice of a Frenchwoman’s day in France and in French” is anonymous and offers audio, but is not a well set out page. But if you subscribe to it in a reader then you will not see the website but still receive the information.


Paris Breakfasts

“I paint Paris dreams…” Carol Gillott is based in New York and offers this beautiful blog with regular watercolour paintings of French images.


Petite Anglais

Catherine Sanderson is a UK writer who moved to France some time ago and documented her life there online and is now a well-known author of the book of the same name. This is the first blog of this type that I began reading some years ago and I have continued to read with interest and amusement.


Spirit of Paris

“Photographies de Paris” is anonymous but offers photographic images of Paris.


The French Journal

“A site for Francophiles. Notes on French culture, history, geography, food, wine, travel, and more” This blog is by an American man who lives in Boston.


Tongue in Cheek

“A collection of French antiques, stories, and daily happenings while living in France.” Corey Amaro is an American who lives in France with her French husband.


You can find more French blogs at the 10 best French blogs for Francophiles and French blogs offered by

1 comment January 13, 2009






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