Tuesday, July 2, 2013

France: Je ne sais quoi

Traveling to France has always been an obsession for me. The people, the food, the buildings, the lifestyle; all of these things are fascinating and uniquely Francophone. My husband took me on my third trip to France this spring, and I was reminded of some of the most fantastic details of French culture that bring that certain "je ne sais quoi" to French lifestyle that I attempt, often unsuccessfully, to insert into my own life.
  1. Wine and cider: I have never met a wine or cider (try cider from the Normandy area) that I didn't like. I am also reinvigorated on the fact that I can drink rosé without feeling trashy.
  2. French bakery: Nearly any patisserie has the most amazing selection of food art that I have ever seen or tasted. Pain au chocolat, brightly colored macarons, and fruit tarts are among the the best. The best bakery to duplicate this in the Milwaukee area is Le Reve in Wauwatosa village.
  3. Parisian life: Woven patio chairs during a two hour lunch and walking everywhere has a certain flair to it. It sure beats my hour commute and ten minute working lunch break. There is also something irritatingly fashionable about wearing a lot of black. As someone who wears as much color as Rainbow Brite, I realize I am not achieving my full fashionista potential.
  4. Live history: There is something remarkable about being surrounded by hundreds of years of history that is alive and well. My heart lies in the Normandy area in France, and history feels like last week, instead of something you read in an old textbook. I once met a man who watched the American soldiers' boats come ashore during the D-Day invasion on his eighteenth birthday. His stories were so fresh and full of life as he described "the war."
The importance of travel is to teach you about other perspectives in the world, and to learn about who you are as a person. If you are not more open-minded about the world around you or you do not end your travels with a better understanding of yourself, you may be missing out on the best part of travel and the details of joy that it can bring.

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