C’est la Vie: 5 Things Living in France Has Taught Me

July 20, 2019

Filed in: C'est la Vie

Sooooooooooooo by the time you read this, it will be July. I’m writing this on the first of a string of (almost) unbearably hot days in June. The dog days of summer, y’all! Although I was intending for this section of The Paris Journal to be a little more serious, life’s too short and too unpredictable to not have fun. So, I’m sharing five things I’ve learned so far living in the City of Light!


  • How to pour sugar in my yoghurt.

Frivolous? Maybe. But given the fact that plain dairy products are wildly popular, and with varying degrees of strength, a dash of cassonnade doesn’t hurt anyone. From plain yoghurt, to fromage blanc (and there are many types of both!!!) a little crunch gives it a good texture and enough sweetness to prevent your nose from crinkling. My personal favourite is the Yoplait (!!!!) Calin fromage blanc. Add a little more sugar than I should, and it’s a great dessert.

  • The art of the pique-nique.

Maybe this is just the benefit of living in a big city (although I never saw this in Boston), but you can generally tell how the weather is by looking at the number of people picnicking on all the available grass and along the Seine. You don’t need much…wine, cheese, bread…or you can go all out. It’s a classic summertime/good weather activity, and it’s easy to sit for hours, long after the last strawberry has been eaten, enjoying the sunset and warm breeze.

  • Fry your gnocchi in butter.

I had never known gnocchi to be anything put boiled potato dough…but I quickly learned you can pan-fry it in butter. And top it with Emmental, the cheese that is to France what American cheese is to the US. Or, you can have a friend whip up a delicious spinach-garlic-parmesan cheese sauce.

  • Be colourful.

The majority of the city might be neutral tones and elegant architecture, but colour comes to those who seek it! In this sense, however, I’m not just talking about colour in a literal way. Of course, I’ve found rainbows here…but I’m also talking about who I want to be as an artist!

I believe in learning all the time…and I have taken classes to help me understand how to make better photographs. I thought the “style” of photography practiced by my teachers was the style I wanted. However, as I discover more artists and also look more at myself, I realised I LOVE COLOUR. It’s always been a part of who I am. From bright patterns to muted pastels…it’s always been there. My goal this summer is to seek colour more…to experiment with my art, get in- and outside of the box and do whatever I darn please to find a style that screams ME.

  • Be fearless.

Sometimes I don’t have an end destination. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a plan. I think that means that sometimes I just need to go with the flow. France makes things complicated (hello, bureaucracy!!!!), and there are moments when everything just feels like a fruitless fight. But I’ve decided that to be miserable in Paris is far better than being blissfully, unimaginably happy anywhere else. And I’ve learned that things will come…but they might require you to take that blind step, first, and appear when you arrive.

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Paris & California strolls; plenty of flowers; stories; and looking for the beauty in the everyday. I hope you'll come along as I take the year to document the entirety of my home state!