Memories of a French Christmas



Memories of a French Christmas

I’m in Paris. It’s evening and the snow is falling. I’m standing before the huge open window in the parlour of the apartment on the Rue des Grands Augustins. I’m gazing at the white lights twinkling on the Eiffel Tower in the distance and it’s a lovely picture. This picture is a memory of my last winter in France. In reality, the Christmas season has started and I’m sitting at home gazing out of my window at the twinkling lights on my lawn. It is the first snowfall of the season and I’m waxing nostalgic about my visits to France.

I miss my French morning routine of coffee, brioche or croissants with Vincent and Daniele to discuss daily plans. I miss the mundane: scurrying down Rue Dauphine in the early evening to grab fresh, crusty baguettes for dinner, only to immediately finish half of one because the scent and feel was too tempting to bear; mulling over which cheese to choose and having the fromagier let me sample enough for a meal. I even miss struggling in my extremely poor French to get my point across on any given topic, while earning the approval of my French neighbours because I simply tried. I miss sitting on my favourite bench in Place Dauphine, people watching for hours and scripting their life stories in my mind. I miss the spontaneous drives through Paris late at night, when traffic dies down and we have the streets to ourselves cruising aimlessly through the various arrondissements. I own that City of Lights and I miss doing everything and nothing!


In the south, I miss the cicadas, their chants and rhythmic cadence. And in the evening when that sound is blended with the deep baritone of frogs and toads, I miss the symphonic summer melody that lulls me into a deep slumber. I miss exploring the unknown little beaches scattered around the other side of Cannes and Antibes – our little secret places. I miss the boat ride from Sainte-Maxime to Saint-Tropez – the spray of salty water pinching my cheeks while the dock of St. Tropez becomes more visible and that feeling of excitement flows through me. The dry heat of the Côte d’Azur is always missed because it ensures me a great hair day! I miss the long, relaxed summer dinners on the terrace that Vincent and I treat as though each were our last, truly enjoying each other’s company.

Some may make a list for Santa or Father Christmas or Papa Noël of the gifts they wish for. I make a mental list of thanks for my memories in France, with hopes that there will continue to be more.

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