When I was a little girl I read the Madeline books…”In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived 12 little girls in two straight lines…”It was pure poetry! From that moment I was smitten, and dreamed of going to Paris. I was 30 years old before I actually made it there, and my high school French was like a phantom memory but I remembered enough to at least attempt to speak French (unlike rude Americans who expect everyone in Paris to speak English). What I found was a delightful city-full of beautiful architecture, beautiful people, beautiful parks, beautiful history and beautiful shopping. Did I mention it was beautiful? We’ve been back three times, and each time the experience becomes even more incredible.
The second visit we were able to have a private tour of Versailles, dinner in the 380-foot-long Hall of Battles, with its 33 huge paintings recording French military victories from the Battle of Tolbiac in 496 to the Battle of Wagram in 1809. Then the Paris Boy’s choir sang…still gives me goosebumps. Our 3rd visit, when we took H since she didn’t get to go the first time, wasn’t as great. Crowds, crowds, everywhere, the gardens were dead, and the hall of battles locked up, but it was still incredible…to be standing in such an historical place. We love it!
We were also fortunate that the last two visits were at the end of July, because the “soldes”, or “sales” are city-wide and incredible. Especially since the dollar means much less over there, it brings the prices to a more reasonable point. So I’m thrilled to say we just made a reservation to go back this July!!!! We’re going there for a few days before we head to Barcelona, so in addition to brushing up on our French, we need to learn a bit of Spanish, I guess. How embarrassing that we only speak one language.
I’m going to learn as many phrases as possible to help us communicate with the gentile francais, and this is the first one that always helps.
Ju suis desole’ (I wonder if french keyboards let you put the accent in the proper place?), parlez-vous Anglais? Means “I’m sorry, do you speak English?”
9 out of 10 times we get a very gracious and helpful response.
Also, check out this blog…it’s a 20-something Scottish girl living in Paris, in love with a young french man. She makes me remember my 20’s fondly…so much emotion and love, and passion for life!