Jane Thompson Hasenmueller
Vivre la vie Francaise
I have two lives, the one I live in Santa Fe, and the one I live in France. My husband's work brings us here for three months each year and as a writer, I can bring my work along for the ride. This is our fifth year, having spent the first in Lyon, the subsequent three in Strasbourg, we decided this year to settle in Maisons Laffitte, a north-western suburb of Paris. With a twenty-five minute RER ride into the heart of the city, and an apartment in a park in Maisons Laffitte, we have the best of two worlds.
Each morning I walk the tree lined streets on my way to town for a baguette, and marvel at the varied architecture of houses built at different times since the housing development started in 1882. This park was part of the grounds for the Chateau de Maisons-Laffitte, built by Francois Mansart in the 17th century. The chateau is still here and I plan to tour it soon and have a look at the horse race track nearby. And speaking of horses, this park has quite a few houses with stables, a riding school and many other horse related activities. I keep an eye out for horse manure wherever I walk.
I have become quite comfortable in France, and often wish I could stay indefinitely. My French improves a minuscule amount each year, but I keep trying. The French people are generally always kind and will often help me pronounce words I struggle with, so forget anything you've heard about the French being rude. I think they are only rude to rude Americans. I once read a review of a restaurant here, written by an American, who complained that their French server didn't even try and speak English with them. This person was outraged. 'Hello, you're in their country. Try speaking their language.'
I have been into Paris twice since we arrived and looking forward to another venture in soon. Having been a tourist in Paris many times, I'm enjoying being a bit of a local this time and seeing more of the daily life instead of the tourist sites. I'll keep you posted on ma vie Francaise. Au revoir mes amis.