Pinterest and I once spent a lot of time together. I popped back over there this lazy Sunday morning. Not surprisingly, lots of pins about international travel and how to be French popped back at me.
I had the sudden inspiration to write my own little story about what I’ve done / have been doing, to enjoy the experience of France seeming to fall in love with me.
I smile a lot, and I’m kind and polite; I know at least that much French.
My French at the moment is neither good nor confident. Since my first visit to France in 2007, I have practiced, s’il vous plait, parlez vous anglaise?
I can say all of those words perfectly and I can promise that 100% of the time, the response is a kind one, even if it’s no.
I love to greet everyone in the room with bonjour or bonsoir. And when leaving, a sincere merci, also au revoir, bonne journee or bonne soiree – also seem to mean a lot. I am happy to be polite even if I’ve browsed in a store and didn’t buy anything.
I have a sincere appreciation and reverence for French food and ingredients.
I must appear this way when I shop for groceries, and I am surely this way when I speak to servers at restaurants or café teams. I hope that smiling and asking questions is an authentic indication that I truly love and respect France for their commitment to excellence, and for sharing with me the finest that it has to offer.
I take my time while eating, even with my coffee and croissant.
I know that France isn’t in a hurry and that coffee and mealtime are sacred. I usually eat very quickly, so here it has been such a gift to enjoy slowing down in lots of ways, and especially at the table.
I take my own bags when shopping.
I can see that France loves sustainability and caring for Mother Earth, I respect that! I keep my shopping bags near the door so that I rarely forget them. The other day a lovely gentleman store owner seemed very enchanted by my magenta bag and sweetly complimented me on my touch of French. I loved that.
I take a risk sometimes and mindfully connect with peeps in stores, cafes, restaurants.
I love when peeps know a little English and are happy to practice speaking with me. I do my best to offer compliments – how pretty their store is, their clothing, their eyeglasses – so trendy in France – even in my best broken French. I always thank peeps for their English which almost makes them blush. In my experience, sharing a habit of gratitude and appreciation goes a long way.
Besides, merci beaucoup is so very easy to pronounce well!