Happy New Year to all! Bonne Année à tous! For those of you who are new to French Affaires, I wanted to take a moment in this new year to briefly describe what we’re all about. The story goes back to learning my first French words at age five. I still remember our Montessori school teacher holding up flashcards with words and pictures such as ‘la fleur’, the flower. Simple, but something was taking hold. I chose the French track in 6th grade even though most of my classmates went with Spanish, an obvious choice given that we were in Texas with Mexico next door.
I kept on with ‘le français’ through school and first set foot in Paris as a teenager. At the time, ‘les pyramides’ in front of the Louvre didn’t exist, the Musée d’Orsay was an empty train station with broken windows, French cars still had yellow headlights, and Notre Dame cathedral would continue to display a sooty black façade for another 20 plus years. Still, Paris and France had that certain ‘je ne sais quoi.’ And, like so many before me, I was hooked… well, nearly.
Several years, a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in French from Vanderbilt University, studies in Aix-en-Provence and Paris, a livelihood as a French professor and many living stints in France later, I decided to share my passion for all things French beyond the classroom. I wanted to focus on that magical space where travel, culture and language intersect. And so, in 2008, French Affaires was born. Now, from my homes in France and America, I share the best parts of France with adults – both on site in France through our special trips and journeys and also in the U.S. through rich culture lectures, targeted French language classes, culinary gatherings, and fun Francophile events. Our team at French Affaires also helps individuals and groups plan their own special trips to France whenever and however they wish to go.
Throughout my French adventures, I have often been asked, “Why France?” I could say my first reaction is ‘why not France?’ Seriously, though there are so many wonderful places to go in the world, many would agree that France has it all – boundless culture and history, amazing art and architecture, magnificent churches and abbeys, perched hilltop villages, imposing mountains, beautiful countryside, spectacular beaches, lovely music, lively markets and festivals, extraordinary cuisine and wines, and much more. The list of major and minor sights to visit in France is practically never-ending – and then there are special experiences to seek out on top of that… seeing the magic of Paris at night, spending Christmas in Paris, watching snow fall in France, catching the Tour de France bike race in summer, participating in the Normandy D-Day celebrations in June, going to the Aix music festival in July, dropping by a ‘vernissage’ (art show opening) at an art gallery, eating a hot French baguette straight from the boulangerie, just passing the time at French cafés, even attending a French wedding and wearing hats – see the photo above of my husband and me at a French country wedding!
For more details on our upcoming French travel opportunities, language and culture events, art de vivre workshops, and other Francophile experiences, I invite you to browse our website and contact me and our team with any questions. And un grand merci to you for reading our blog – feel free to pass it along to other lovers of France and French culture. We’ve got a whole host of great upcoming blog posts in 2019 based on our deep expertise and connection with France, including our ‘Top 20 Sights to See in France,’ ‘Life in a French Village,’ ‘Renting a House or Apartment in France,’ ‘Special Day Trips from Paris,’ new books on France, cooking in France, antiquing in France, and overviews of various regions such as Burgundy, Normandy, Provence, Brittany, Bordeaux, the Dordogne, the Loire Valley. I look forward to sharing the nuances of France with you this year – there are SO many riches to discover!