A Tribute: Anne Beckinsale, a friend, & MyFrenchLife member – a celebration of friendship

This week we learned of the passing of Anne Beckinsale. What a shock and such very sad news for us all. You see Anne was our friend and the epitome of a Francophile.

In the few years that we knew Anne, she lived the life of which Francophiles dream even though she lived in Noosa in Australia.

A Tribute: Anne Beckinsale, a friend, and MyFrenchLife member
Anne Beckinsale

A francophile’s dream

I have here a short but expressive post by Anne from August 2018 when she’d just arrived in Paris for a 3-month stay. She’d rented a small apartment at Place d’Italie, and from the tone of this post, she was brimming with anticipation. The type of anticipation we’ve all felt, I imagine. The anticipation of living a life of a Parisienne for a whole three months! Getting to know your way around the immediate environs… getting to know the people in local patisseries, traiteurs, cafes, and more than anything, Anne would have been looking forward to the daily opportunities to-try-out-your-french.

Anne was going to be attending a course at the Alliance Francaise. She was always challenging herself and her French language skills but in all humility insisted that she was “no good at French”.

A Tribute: Anne Beckinsale, a friend, and MyFrenchLife member

Before that particular trip to Paris (Anne’s last) she had become an active member of the online MyFrenchLife™ community and thrived in the friendship of other members from around the world. Women, most of them; all educated, confident, intelligent, curious women of a certain age and of course, all francophiles.

MyFrenchLife French book club

2018 saw Jacqueline Dubois Pasquier establish and proficiently run the MyFrenchLife™ French book club. The club focused on recently translated award-winning French literature and wow, did we have fun! We learned so much more than most tourists.

As you’d be aware MyFrenchLife™ is all about France beyond the cliché, our community is always striving to gain a deeper understanding of the people, the history, and the French culture; and the books Jacqueline chose really plunged us into many, and varied lives and experiences. We all thank Jacqueline for this experience and we will never forget it. It’s so much work running a book club! often work for little recognition and thanks – but thank you we do Jacqueline – all of us!

Just the other day Jacqueline said: “the MyFrenchLife book club was like family really” when we were sharing memories of that time. In fact, there were a number of book club meetings in Jacqueline’s home in Paris. We all felt that this was such a privilege. Not only were we francophiles invited into a French home but Jacqueline in her usual hospitable and unfused style cooked, hosted, led the book club meeting, and socialised… all without breaking a sweat.

Hannah Schwartz and Anne Beckinsale in the home of Jacqueline Dubois Pasquier in Paris – 2018

A tribute to francophile friendship

This article is a tribute to Anne, she loved all of these social opportunities and we all loved her warm friendly personality, we are so fortunate to have known Anne and counted her as a MyFrenchLife™ member and a treasured friend.

MyFrenchLife™ has previously held member-only events which we named ‘intimate and indulgent gatherings’ and whilst these were before Anne’s Paris days when in Paris in 2018, she suggested a similar event: an afternoon tea in The Salon Proust at the Ritz. And this intimate gathering of friends lived up to all expectations as you can see.

Anne was also a regular in the audience of our Friday ‘Weekday Wandering in Paris‘ live videos with Jacqui Lucquin Edwards – another popular member initiative. One of the things I love about these videos beyond the opportunity of spending 15-30 minutes in Paris each week is noticing which other members are watching simultaneously from many corners of the globe, new members and old friends, all together immersing ourselves in our francophilia.

We feel so privileged to have known Anne and to have shared with her our love of life and our francophilia! Thank you, Anne!

A Tribute: Anne Beckinsale, a friend, and MyFrenchLife member

We, the members of MyFrenchLife™ in Paris and around the world send our sincere condolences to Anne’s family and friends. We know that we will miss her and a few of us have already paid tribute by raising a glass of Champagne in her memory – We will all miss Anne and her wonderful smile, please join us to raise a glass of Champagne in her memory – “Portons un toast à la mémoire de Anne“.

About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife.org MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon - MyFrenchLife.org

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