My memories of the last few years in France are rich with adventure and I will cherish them for many years to come. But there are a handful of memories that are the crème de la crème, days I would relive in a heartbeat. Reflecting on these moments has filled me with gratitude that my experiences in France have been so fulfilling and diverse. Below is a list of my top 6 but such a short list doesn’t do justice to the lifetime of memories these past six years have given me.
Photo of the entrance to The Connaught Hotel courtesy of Milla.
- Relishing High Tea: Naturally, my favorite memories of life in France are centered around the wonderful people I’ve met here. One of the friendships I am most grateful for is with Milla who writes a renowned luxury dining and high tea blog. Our paths crossed as bloggers in Paris, but our friendship evolved over champagne, scones and clotted cream. Of course I enjoyed the decadent pastries and steeping tea at some of the most acclaimed London and Paris restaurants, but what I remember most about High Tea is the laughter and heart-to-heart conversations that comes with the best of friendships.
- Driving a Vespa through Tuscany: I almost bought a scooter while living in Provence. While it would have served me well, I was mostly afraid of the crazy French drivers who seem to ignore oncoming traffic and threaten pedestrians for sport. My chance to finally jump on a Vespa came during my recent trip to Florence. Zipping down narrow country roads while surrounded by rolling hills of vineyards and olive groves basking in the yellow tuscan sun filled me with uninhibited joy making this by far one of my favorite memories.
- Lunch at the Colombe d’Or: Two years ago during my road trip throughout France, we stopped off for a visit to St Paul de Vence, a little village perched on the rocky hills of Provence. After exploring the rich collection of modern art at the Fondation Maeght, we headed to our reservations at the Colombe d’Or. It was an amazing meal enjoyed in the company of some of the most renowned artists (Arman, Picasso, Léger) who in the early 1900’s had given works of art to the owners in exchange for food and lodging. Without a doubt, this was a day that was especially created for me.
- Showing up for work at the Grand Palais: Last summer “my” art gallery participated at the 26th Biennale des Antiquaires and how I loved flashing my security badge for direct entrance into one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris during one of the most significant international art fairs. Days were spent selling works of art and for breaks I would wander through the stands distracted by the thousands of glittering diamonds and whimsical custom jewelry. With the set design of the Biennale by Karl Lagerfeld, it was an all-too-Paris experience.
- Graduating with an MBA from a French University: All my hard work has paid off with a sense of accomplishment and the diploma. The two years at an école supérieure have given me unique and valuable insight into the French as professionals as well as their higher education system. This experience will follow me for the rest of my life; who knows what opportunities it will bring?
- Dining at Jules Verne: To celebrate the completion of my MBA, my parents treated me to a wonderful delicious lunch at Alain Ducasse’s Jules Verne located on the second level of the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant is appropriately named after the famous French author whose stories take us on unimaginable adventures through fantasy worlds. Gazing out the window at scenes of Paris broken by the beams that make up the beloved monument was certainly just that. And we savored every moment of it.
I also cherish the sentiment of French living which I savored every moment I could. I found them in waking up to a quiet Marais, wandering down narrow streets, taking the Vélib for a ride along the Canal on a crisp Autumn afternoon, the chimes of distant church bells, leisurely evenings at Parisian cafés, sunset along the Seine and celebrating color with flowers blooming in Tuileries early Spring.