All this talk about the Netherlands, and Dutch, has made me forget about the first language I fell in love with; the language that opened my eyes to a new culture; that introduced me to the fun and useful aspects of learning to speak something other English and Irish. This week have been reacquainting myself with the French language. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a while since I’ve used it properly and as a result I am a little bit rusty. I watched Benny Lewis’s video about revisiting his Mandarin after 1.5 years of not using it. He got off to a rocky start, but after only a week of re-awakening he was speaking fluently again. It inspired me to get back on the proverbial French horse, so here’s some of my favourite things about the French language, and things I miss about living in Paris with a few photos thrown in for good measure!
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” ― Ernst Hemingway
French movies. Without subtitles. They make me feel cultured and sophisticated. Amelie, Les Intouchables, Les Choristes, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg & Il y a Longtemps que Te t’Aime are some of my favourites.
The sound of the French R. Difficult to pronounce for most, but so rewarding when you finally master it.
Running in Paris. Back when I used to run. My route was around the Eiffel tower. I used to think it made me seem French to the annoying tourists who got in my way to take pictures…. ironically, I was one of these tourists when I snapped the above.
Swearing in French. It just sounds so much prettier than it does in English. I rarely swear because I do not like the harsh sound of naughty words coming out of my mouth – but it’s hard to sound vulgar when speaking French.
Phrases like ‘courir sur le haricot’. Meaning: To get on someone’s nerves. Literal translation: To run on the bean! Another one is il y une couille dans le potage. Meaning: There is a problem/something’s not right. I’ll let you google this one..
French history. Art. Culture. Not getting to see everything in the Louvre in my short 3 months in Paris because there was just so much to see.
Reading the Metro on the metro. Or the RER. Free French newspapers were the only reason I knew what was going on in the world for the first few months of 2013.
Listening to Parisians give out and complain about anything and everything on the métro. Or that time when a random stereotypical impeccably groomed Parisian woman complimented me on my bag – ‘ton sac, c’est très joli.‘ I was blending in. I was one of them. I had arrived!
Spending the first snow of 2013 on the Champs Elysées.
French television. When I lived in Paris I was obsessed with Nouvelle Star and The Voice, and they were a great way to discover French pop culture. English shows dubbed in French were always hilarious. My very first episode of Downton Abbey was in French. Hearing the Simpsons en francais always brightened my day! Je suis Bart Simpson. Mais qui diable êtes-vous?
Never buying bread from my local boulanger, but appreciating the smell of freshly baked baguettes when I ordered un café. I miss tiny coffees, and great espresso.
Café gourmand. With des macarons. Delish.
Living in the 16th and having this view from the end of my street. Sun, rain or fog, this sight always took my breath away. Especially when she lights up every hour on the hour and sparkles. Beautiful.
La bise. Twice. Once on each cheek. The French are not afraid of affection.
Most of all, I miss speaking French whenever I wanted to. People give me strange looks if I break into French or Dutch conversation in Ireland. I have no idea why…
“My mother told me I shouldn’t spend my life reminiscing about the past. I remember when she said that. Good times, good times.” – Alex Bosworth (Chip Chip Chaw!)
I was looking for a nice quote to sum up this reminiscent post, and then I saw this 🙂 I hope it made you smile too!
It feels like a lifetime ago that I was living in Paris. And to some people it is a lifetime – almost two years ago! Looking back on experiences like these signify how important it is to live in the moment and live your life how you want to live it. But that’s a post for a day when I’m feeling a lot more philosophical. Et vous? Dites-moi pourquoi vous aimez la langue française et la France en générale? J’ai bien hâte de lire vos commentaires 🙂
This Day Last Year: 26th November 2013 – Don’t Judge Me
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