I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I have been having an affair for the last 24 years of my life. It’s an affair full of love, desire, passion, and longing. And, yes, my husband knows all about it. My lover is not a person, but a nation. It’s France, and it’s where my soul was born at the age of 20 years. Let me take you back…

My first encounter with real, live French people was when I studied abroad in college, after many years of French classes and dreaming of “la vie Francaise”. I stepped off the shuttle that had taken me from the airport in Marseille to the city of Avignon, and I felt like I was stepping onto a movie set. We were inside the “ramparts”, the walls of the old city—walls that had been built by the Romans. THE ROMANS. As in, Roman Empire Romans. The walls were a beautiful golden color and still very much intact; they were not in ruins like the Roman coliseum. These 2,000 year old walls contained a vibrant, modern city, full of people, cars, merchants, homes, and what was to be my school for the next 6 months. I was in love.

 

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I lived with a host family, and on my first day, my host father took me to town. We went right to the Rocher des Doms by the Palace of the Popes and he picked herbs for us to smell. He spoke very little English, and my French was 100% textbook, meaning I’d never actually spoken it before. Needless to say, it was clumsy. But we bonded over wild rosemary, thyme, and lavender. He would pick a little sprig, crush it between his fingertips, and say the name of the herb: romarin, thyme, lavande. The scents were intoxicating, and I truly felt like I had stepped into a fairy tale. Have you ever gone on a trip that you’d been dreaming about for months or maybe years, only to be disappointed once you finally got to go? Well, this was not that. This exceeded all of my expectations. I was in love. France wooed me, seduced me, made love to me, and I have never, to this day, fully recovered.

I had many adventures over the next 6 months, which I will share with you on this blog. I hope you will return regularly and share your own insights and adventures, too. My hope is that I can help you create just a little bit of the “esprit” of France wherever you happen to live. And who knows—maybe we will travel there together someday!

In the meantime, let me tell you a little about my vision for this blog. After returning to the U.S., I was homesick almost immediately (France now being my soul home). I desperately sought ways to bring the French lifestyle into my American day-to-day. Those herbs that seduced me on Day One? Well, I turned them into a passion for aromatherapy, which I have been cultivating for a good 20 years now. I plan to share what I’ve learned about essential oils with you—I warn you, they are addicting, and it won’t take long for you to have a nice collection of them filling your home with amazing, natural scents.

I also learned to appreciate and cultivate the simple, French style. Being there for several months, I absorbed some of it, and I have retained the essential French value of less is more. This particularly applies to French style and the French way of dressing. French women tend to cultivate a small, versatile, trend-light wardrobe. Today, the cool kids are calling it the “capsule wardrobe” but really, it’s just a wardrobe of basic, timeless pieces. French women do not own a lot of clothes—heck, older French homes don’t even have closets. (That’s where we get the armoire from—it’s a French thing.) Imagine your entire wardrobe in an armoire. Well, I can’t either. I’m not THAT good at it. But I do have a much smaller wardrobe than most people whose closets I’ve snooped in. So, we’ll talk about that, and about how you can go from a huge wardrobe full of mostly things you don’t wear to one that is effortless and serves YOU.

The other aspect of this blog that I hope you will enjoy is my Travel page. After being in France for an extended time, and having the opportunity to travel all over Europe, I couldn’t imagine my life without travel and exploring more of this beautiful and confounding planet of ours. So, I finished up college, got my BA in French and English, and decided to get a job with Chicago’s hometown airline as a flight attendant. I did that for five years—five years that I am so grateful to myself for doing. I’ll tell you more about that in future posts, while also giving you some inside advice on navigating the sometimes infuriating but always rewarding act of travel. I hope you will share your travel stories with me, too.

Leave a comment about how travel or a special place has changed you for the better!

Thank you for being here, and I hope you will be back as we share a passion for la France. Please, comment and sign up to be notified of future posts. And don’t forget to Like my Facebook page and follow me on Pinterest.

 

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi Beth! I look forward to reading more of your blog posts. Would love to see you sometime. I’m doing the 9 to 5 thing so maybe an evening for a cocktail or a weekend for coffee? Be well!

    Tera

    1. Thank you so much, Tera! It’s been a while, I’m glad you’re doing well! Let’s PM on Facebook and set up a coffee or happy hour– I would love to catch up!

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