Saturday, June 1, 2013

I don't even know what day it is, but I'm in the French Riviera

Bonjour du sud de la France! We arrived in Nice yesterday, rented a car, and drove to our gorgeous house in Antibes, with views of the Mediterranean Sea from the windows. It's pretty breathtaking, y'all.

We've only had one full day here but I'm already flooded with memories of my first two trips to France, though I'd never been to the Riviera until this trip. I'm overwhelmed with the feeling that I want to be French. Seeing all these stylish women with their stylish kids, men walking around with baguettes sticking out of their backpacks, and that hypnotizing accent . . . what a life, right?

Ten years ago, I spent a summer in Paris. It was the summer before my senior year of college, and I was there to take a couple of classes through Tulane, one of which was called Hemingway & Fitzgerald. We studied their books & visited all the cafes and restaurants they wrote about & frequented as expatriates. Definitely one of my most unforgettable college experiences. I didn't know anyone doing the study abroad program, so I was really on my own, and it felt so exciting to be in a totally foreign city--almost across the world--with no safety net.

I think it was my second day in Paris, while sitting outside an art supply store, that a French man approached me and started speaking rapidly. I managed to tell him that I couldn't understand French, at which point he started speaking to me in adorably-broken English. I finally agreed to give him my email address, and an hour later, I had a compelling message from him asking for a date.

My first date with Joel was actually on Bastille day, and he took me to a little cafe where we had lunch & shared a bottle of Cotes du Rhone before watching fireworks. When we went to his apartment, I noticed a plaque by the front door that said l'ancienne maison de l'artiste italien Modigliani, or "former home of the Italian artist Modigliani." His place was spectacular: an eclectic artist's loft with textiles from around the world, and littered with his own paintings and photographs (one of which, for instance, was a close-up of Claudia Schiffer from when Joel worked for Yves St. Laurent). That whole summer was pretty surreal.

Ultimately, I left Paris and went back to New Orleans, and the relationship with Joel (who by the way you can see here--his grandfather, Henri Cadiou, was a well-known artist, so he's easy to find) was over, but the whole experience was sort of pivotal for me. I could be in a new country by myself and be okay, and I could meet people and have exciting, and kind of risky, adventures. It was one of those coming-of-age summers that you always hold dear.

So now I'm back in (an entirely different part of) France, and my life is in a whole different place. I'm here with the Freitags, taking care of Milo and Jude, and I'm in a happy relationship back home. The adventures I seek are certainly different, but the feeling of being immersed in another culture is still just as rich. The world is so big, and there is so much to experience.

Here's a picture of Milo and Jude on our first full day in Antibes:


More to come.  Bonne nuit for now. ;)

15 comments:

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I feel like your summer was basically a romantic movie. So now go write the screenplay please!! So amazing :)

And I'm sure your current trip is too! I can't wait to see and read all about it!

Jane {In the Pink and Green} said...

Wow, the south of France sounds amazing! Have an incredible time, can't wait to hear more about it! xoxo

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Oh, those coming of age summers. Thanks for sharing memories of yours. Beautiful reminiscing.

Love seeing your pics on IG, the Riviera looks amazing. Enjoy.

Deals, Steals and Heels said...

i love that milo is sitting and posing, and jude is just DYING to run off.

Krystal said...

what fun to be there and to reminisce i am sure...and also enjoy the sun. have an amazing time!

Meghan said...

First of all, a class on Hemingway and Fitzgerald? I just died. How amazing is that?!?!?!!

I felt the EXACT same way when I was in Paris. I wanted so badly to be French! I really admired the style and the laidback attitude of Europe in general. I remember my first night there - there were so many people outside at cafes, and my first thought was "Don't they have to work tomorrow? It's 9:00!" And then...I slowly came to understand how life worked:)

I hope you have the most incredible time! I bet the Riviera is simply amazing. Soak it all in!

DeAnna Stephens said...

AWESOME! We have some good friends that leave in 1-month for a year sabbatical to Paris with their 8 and 5-year old!!

Jane Droll said...

OMG! i love your summer in france story. i had NO IDEA that there were travel abroad options when i was in college. i totally missed the boat (AS USUAL! I AM FOREVER MISSING THE BOAT IN LIFE!!!). so glad you had such wonderful experiences. modigliani's apartment?! jesus h christ!!!!

anyway! i am sure you are having the time of your life again. so exciting. so fun.

and...SO JEALOUS! ;)

Courtney B said...

This sounds heavenly!! I'm kind of jealous but super excited for your adventures!! I can't wait to live vicariously through your pictures and stories ;) SOMEDAY I will travel to Europe!!

NYLON Girl said...

COME TO LONDON and bring Jude Bug obvi! x

Meredith said...

OHMYGOODNESS I want to go to France! I've never been to Europe in general...it sounds amazing. Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

Rachel said...

Lovely photo! I can't wait to read more about your travels!

undomestic mama said...

You've had such an exciting life! I love hearing stories about your past like this.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

What an amazing travel experience!

nicoleciomek said...

So beautiful!!!! How fun. I am sure you had a blast.