I can still feel the sense of pride in their voices

Mark Hill - 08/07/13 - www.MyFrenchLife.org
After a couple years of contemplating, dreaming, deliberating and yearning I finally with an old suitcase in one hand and a banjo in the other made my way across the channel. Tired of mundane high streets, the same chains dotted along every high street, I sought out the boulangeries, patisseries and the fromageries full of character, charm and imagination.

I came to France with only a handful of French night classes and conversation exchanges to my name so I thought it wise to améliorer my French.

In Toulouse where my adventure began I would often find myself on a bench in the main square practicing my French with the kind and patient elder generation with their bronzed skin and warm smiles. They happily shared stories about their town, country and culture. I could feel a sense of pride in their voices.

Sadly, after eight weeks in la ville rose and a further four in the South of France I heard Paris calling me and before I knew it my train had arrived at the Gare de Lyon.

I’m eternally grateful to all my new French friends whom I met during my first few weeks in the capital, for their advice, help translating my C.V. and allowing me to rest my head on their floors. Without them I’d have been back in England frowning at the various high streets with their Greggs, Boots and numerous other bland vitrines.

French people often ask me why I came to France & why I live in Paris.  I sometimes find it difficult to answer this question and I often have difficulty expressing myself when trying to do so…

My love for France and all things French comes from various unusual corners of my mind; from Eric Cantona’s charisma (a little YouTube snippet here);  the film l’Auberge Espangole; reading Arthur Rimbaud’s Saison en Enfer and hearing a former French colleague speak English with her accent.

I am still continually charmed…

About the Contributor

Mark E Hill

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  1. Judy MacMahon Mar 7, 2011 at 6:42 PM - Reply

    Bonjour Mark. Congratulation on your first article on My French Life! Looking forward to more from you. Judy

  2. Annewil Stroo Mar 10, 2011 at 11:21 PM - Reply

    Nice introduction article Mark! Congrats!

  3. Mark E Hill Mar 11, 2011 at 8:38 AM - Reply

    Thank you very much ladies for your kind comments!

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