I am not a Francophile, but…
As a child, I did not dress up in a beret, watch old French movies or dream of walking along the Seine with a baguette in hand. Like many Americans, I spent my youth learning Spanish and enjoyed a semester of college ‘studying’ abroad in Barcelona. That was when I fell in love with Europe – but not necessarily France. Sure, I like onion soup, cheese and wine but can take or leave the desserts – especially macaroons.
When I’ve traveled in the past, Paris was never on the top of my list. While I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to the City of Light, I did not feel the need to hurry back any time soon. So for future trips, I chose to visit Eastern Europe and South America – places that really felt different.
Not to mention, I consider myself a New Yorker and New Yorkers are proud. New York has great art. New York has fantastic restaurants. New York has beautiful parks and quick access to the beach. New York City, in my opinion, is THE city. Aside from older architecture, what could Paris give me that New York couldn’t?
Plus, Paris is gray and misty. Je déteste gray and misty.
My New Yorker self was happily skipping along, three years into my New York life when I met Sir Lancelot. And he spoke French.
But he didn’t just speak ‘I learned French in American high school’ French. He spoke real, proper French. And he was European.
Skip ahead a bit and we were engaged, married and moving to… PARIS!
It was an amazing job opportunity for Sir L. and a chance for us to be close to his family after years of him pretending (wishing!) to be American with mine. I could not turn down this chance of a lifetime – so I agreed to become a Paris wife.
I quit my job, said goodbye to dear friends, left our amazing Greenwich Village apartment and ran my last Central Park loop. I deconstructed my New York City life which I’d spent the last five years building – yes, sometimes I like to be very emotional and dramatic.
We arrived, appropriately, at la rentrée, just in time for Paris to welcome us and every other Parisian back home.
Each day I feel another part of Paris and France taking a hold of me. I’m bravely taking French lessons. I’m enjoying architecture, walking across bridges and along quais. I’m riding the red tourist bus, taking in views atop the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomph and exploring the quarters.
This is a new beginning where I will not compare my French life with my New York life. It won’t be fair to Sir Lancelot, France and most importantly myself. This is moi, trying to embrace the new found Francophile.
So far, the weather has been lovely with lots of sunshine and very little mist. Perfect for eating onion soup, cheese and drinking wine, but I have yet to touch a macaroon.All Images © Kristen Beddard Heimann