Les Trois Vallées, France

20140129_135957

For more than a year I have put off writing a post about last year’s ski trip to France’s Three Valleys. The truth is, the trip left such a bad taste in my mouth that I could not put into articulate, non-anger-filled words the histoire. This is not to say I did not talk about the trip, and, if you’ve seen me in person in the last year I probably grumbled for many minutes to you, making you instantly regret your Read More »

Les Marchés de Noël, Toulouse, France

DSC_0185

My clearest memories of high school French class are not of writing verb conjugation after verb conjugation on the black board. Instead, they are of the annual Christmas carol day when we would take a break from memorizing the textbook and listen to French Christmas carols. Of these, the clearest in my memories is << La Légende de Saint Nicolas >> (“The Legend of Saint Nicholas.”) This was not the tale of Jolly Old Saint Nick, mind you, but a morbid story that started innocently enough with three young children in a field. Soon, darkness falls, and they seek shelter in the home of a butcher who, as these things always go, is evil and who chops them up and puts them into a tub to brine. Read More »

Bordeaux, France

DSC_0009

Sometimes I day dream about a big house (okay, let’s be honest, a château) in France, with a vineyard and a shaggy dog. On random Wednesday nights we host friends, eating al fresco on a wooden table. It is always a simple meal, nothing complicated or fancy, with fresh vegetables and perhaps a roast. There is always wine, from our own vines. I live in wellies, and the Frenchman begins to wear a hat and let his hair grow long. Read More »

La Ville Rose, France

DSC_0104

La ville rose. The pink city. Could any town have a more romantic nickname than Toulouse? Living in Toulouse from October to January of last year was an architecture dream with ancient houses, shops, and hotels side-by-side, their facades covered in pink-hued terracotta brick exteriors who catch the late-afternoon sun with such beauty, their rose hues offset by shutters in mediterranean blues and greens.Read More »

Albi, France

DSC_0208

The small city of Albi in the Tarn region of southern France is not at the top of anyone’s France itinerary, which is a mistake. There is the imposing Southern Gothic cathedral of Saint-Cecile, the largest brick structure in the world, and its painted interior. It is one of the most magnificent churches we have seen throughout our travels with its eerie painting of the Last Judgment above its nave, naked bodies descending into hell Read More »

Pyrenees, France

DSC_0252

This time last year was rough. The European dream was, honestly, not going as wonderfully as we had hoped. We had traveled so much we’d exhausted ourselves. We were nearly homeless on more than one occasion. We had lived in an apartment with cockroaches, used so much cockroach spray on them and our kitchen countertops we became ill, and, still, they continued to sneak back into the house every night in droves. Read More »

Le parc du domaine de Méric, Montpellier, France

DSC_0593

One of my favorite things about France is that everywhere appears so steeped in history that continues to feel living. Here is a cafe Victor Hugo frequented every Sunday. There is the tree under which Paul Cézanne sat while painting his landscapes. And over there is the house in which Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec grew up. These places, this history, are touchable, tastable, enjoyable. Read More »

Nîmes, France

dsc_0865.edited

The same day that we visited the Pont du Gard we also visited the Roman city of Nîmes, completing a little road-trip through Provence. It was lovely to really take some time to explore the ancient city for an afternoon. We climbed around the Roman arena whose most recent claim to fame is its setting in the film Gladiator; watched a film in the immaculately-preserved temple, Maison Carrée; strolled through the city’s gardens where we imagined the city in Roman times with a forum and circus from the top of the Magna Tower; and ate some truly delicious crêpes at a recently-opened crêperie. Read More »

Le Pont du Gard, France

DSC_0538

Recalling fondly this post from April 2012, written a year before we knew we would be embarking on our European adventure and when such dreams seemed like quickly-dissipating cotton candy dreams.

Six years later, four of them as an actual attorney, and I have found myself nowhere near Europe. Professionally, the most international experience I get is debating whether a Plaintiff is an illegal immigrant or reading a deposition transcript where a translator was involved. And, no, someone’s immigration status matters very little in the eyes of a civil court of law. Mainly, I use my French at home: “Est-ce que tu veux du thé, mon amour?” I find myself asking nearly every evening. Or in class: “J’ai une question…” is oft-repeated. My Turkish I use on Skype with friends, and my German? Well it is getting full of cobwebs. “Eins, zwei… was?”

Read More »