May 14, 2017

20+ Days of French

After we modified our European travel plans to slow things *way* down, we ended up with 20 consecutive days in French-speaking Europe.

8 days in Paris.

Sunset view from our walk home in the 10th.

2 days in Dijon and the surrounding area.

Porte Guillaume, Dijon.

3 days in Lausanne.

View of the alps from a steamboat on lake Geneva.
7 days in Marseille.

Marseille Vieux Port, with La Belle Mere in the background on the hill.

4 cities in 20 days, with only 2 countries, no flights, and only one language was a big change from much of what this year abroad has looked like.

It was so wonderful.  We relaxed and enjoyed amazing food and wine every day.  After Paris, I got in many runs.  We leisurely made our way around sightseeing, but felt no pressure to do any particular *must-do* because this part of the trip wasn't actually planned with any goals in mind at all (other than avoiding the weather in central Europe). 

My veal, d'auphinoise, bone marrow, and E's salad, filet mignon & bone marrow.  Too much!

Also, it's the longest consecutive amount of time I've spent in a French environment since 1995.  I fell back into many comfortable rhythms and re-confirmed that I have a connection with this language and its people and its food unlike any other.  If you add the time in Quebec and speaking French in Vietnam, I have spent almost an entire month of our sabbatical year immersed in French.

This was a huge (and pleasant) surprise.

Elevator retrofitted into the gorgeous
1800s era building in the 10th.

Spanish was the planned language that was going to dominate our time abroad this year.  And it did.  When all is said and done, we will have spent almost 12 weeks in Spanish speaking environments during the Sabbatical.  Both of our Spanish has improved greatly, and this is certainly something that will continue to pay benefits in California and on future foreign travels.

But, oh, the return to French.

I've absolutely adored it and can't believe it wasn't always part of the plan.

Square of Chalon Sur Saone,
where we met my childhood French pen-pal for lunch.

I'm seriously considering never letting another year go by without some time in a French speaking environment (and of course the food and wine benefits that go along with that).  It's very bizarre to realize that something I spent so much time working towards as a teenager and then executing on in my late teens has been dormant, but remains a huge part of my identity and a thing that gives me so much joy.


JO said...

So glad you enjoyed France - and I hope you go back soon. 20 days isn't enough!

bt said...

@JO -- thank you. I agree. We've already started making a list of all the places we'd like to go...

Cat said...

This means you'll need a European base for that return trip. I hear Wiltshire is pretty awesome...