I took my first French course in 2018. It turned out that FREN 110 was more than just a class; it was an international experience. For 50 minutes a day, five days a week, I left Philadelphia and traveled to France. My mind specifically landed in Paris, the only French city (beside Versailles) that I’d ever traveled to in actuality.
The course was conversational. Hiding at the back of the classroom in hopes that you wouldn’t be called on wasn’t an option. We had to speak. I met Madame during her office hours to work on my pronunciation. (My background in Spanish had put me at a disadvantage in this department.) As I became more familiar with my new language, she didn’t have to correct my speech as much.
French words started to push their English equivalents out of my head, and culturally I became more like les Français. I savored the food, embraced wardrobe basics, and learned to enjoy life’s little pleasures.
When I tried to make a case to Madame for abstaining from bread, she said, “that is not the French way.” It’s also not the French way to bake bread with additives like they do in the U.S., and overeating isn’t commonplace in la République. I’m not sure if I’d call myself a minimalist, but I believe in getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose in my life. Nothing in excess. My wardrobe exemplifies this mantra the most.
My library of books about French culture/history, Paris, and Parisian style is pretty vast. You can find a selection of my collection on the newly-published Like a Parisienne page.