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We asked a few of our contributors to share some holiday thoughts and wishes and they were kind enough to do so. Please add yours. Mine is that spring will come in January. We’ve had enough cold and snow for the year, merci. Is that too much to ask?
We wish that some truly smart producer in France will make great movies out of three brilliant, arresting, heart-rending scripts which we, in our obsessive and prolific manner, have written. Anyone out there? (The independent film world in America is in depression.)
We extend all our best wishes to the poor dollar, to the American economy, and we wish that Americans will bring their country back from deep distress and divisiveness.
Otherwise we wish for more and more readers of our peculiar but we think endearing fiction, in particular the novels SATAN LAKE and FORTUNE’S SECOND WINK. At Actes Sud and McArthur & Co.
And good holidays to all!
For 2011, let me have a fresh and abundant supply of loonies, strange if beautiful women, lost and woebegone people of all stripes and flavors, cats, birds, and dogs in places they don’t belong and behaving as if they owned the joint, odd pieces of hardware and furniture left out in the street for no purpose I can dope out, expats who don’t try to speak French to me (or maybe, come to think of it, do), domestic crises in public, old couples who still love one another, forlorn cafés with regulars older than the mirrors and the coffee machines, bakeries open at six in the morning, con men and frauds provided they’re neither armed nor imminently psychopathic, at least one event or conversation or inexplicable hole in the ground every week that leaves me puzzled, even more odd habits on my part, much better wine, much cheaper wine, heavy fog, light warm rain, an empty park bench whenever I need one, sandwiches without ham, people who will talk to someone who isn’t there and also to me, money lying in the street, frogs falling out of the sky, and some really good shoes.
I hope that more people will discover the joys and charms of l’Aube in 2011, whether by going there themselves or just reading about it in Bonjour Paris. This southern section of the Champagne region, nestled along the border of Burgundy, is often overlooked and not well known even by many French people. Yet some of the region’s finest champagnes and haute cuisine are found here, and it is home to some of the country’s most accueillant people. It is also an area rich in natural beauty and full of cultural and historical interest.
I should probably add my hope that in spreading the word about l’Aube I will not cause a stampede of tourists that will in any way compromise its wonderful, unspoiled beauty. I trust that the readers of Bonjour Paris will share this sentiment and will only choose to share this news with those who share their discretion and good taste, who will appreciate what they find there and will keep a respectfully low profile as they explore and discover. I think I am fairly safe in holding onto this hope: they are, after all, readers of Bonjour Paris.
Bonne année, à tout le monde!
Some morning in 2011, sooner rather than later, I’d like to wake up being able to speak perfect French. I studied the language for years in school, yet my skills remain rudimentary. I can understand about half of what native speakers are saying if I plead “parlez lentement, s’il vous plaît” often enough, but my pronunciation sucks—partly because I cannot roll an “r.” Many people have tried to teach me, with hands-on demonstrations of how to hold and move my tongue, but the best they’ve gotten from me are guttural sounds bearing little resemblance to anything Gallic.
If I could speak French perfectly, I’d take a year off to travel around the country, soaking up culture and cuisine—including tasting every cheese I could. I’d like to live in Paris for a time (Karen, you’re so lucky!) and visit as many towns and villages as possible, especially medieval ones. There’s just one catch: I want to travel in time as well as space, so I can truly grasp what life was like in centuries past.
I won’t have France for Christmas this year, but I’m hoping to have a Paris experience right here in San Francisco in 2011. I’ve just learned of Café Jacqueline, paradoxically in the Italian North Beach section of town which, devotees say, puts one in Paris without leaving home.
“The most heavenly soufflés I’ve ever had,” declared the friend who put me on to the Café, “and I’ve had them in Paris.” With long-stemmed red roses on every table and candlelight to boot, Zagat says, “Bring a date.” I’ll just bring the same date I bring to Paris: My husband.
If you had asked me last year, same time, what I wished for the new year, it would never have crossed my mind to say “a gorgeous apartment in Aix en Provence”. And when I reflect that, after years and years of gazing longingly at the photos in Real Estate offices in Aix, at the end of last January we realized that it was time—mortgage rates were low, prices had flattened—and we began the search in earnest and found the gem that is now ours after a few months of treasure-hunting. I can hardly believe that it all happened in the first seven months of 2010!
So how does that relate to my wishes for 2011? Simple—I want to stay in Ambiance d’Aix, our dreamy apartment, as much as possible this year! Just today I received an email from a lovely lady who’s renting our place for a month, and just imagining her there, enjoying the seasonal concerts, the beautiful crèche scenes filled with hand-crafted santons, the shop windows glittering with holiday décor, brings a smile to my face.
Kirk and I will get there as soon as we can in the New Year—the end of January is our target.
Anne Woodyard – Music and Markets Tours
Oser. That is my wish for the new year. Je veux oser. I want to dare to reach out to my fellows, Monsieur et Madame Tout le Monde, as we pass one another on the street, dare to ask Comment allez-vous? and Vous êtes d’ici? I want to resist these robotic ways… in time to connect to another in the store or on the metro, or subway. How much more enriching the next twelve months would be if, in the new year, one gave up timidity, automacy, self-sufficiency… and lived, for once, in helpful human harmony….
This is the time of year where generosity of spirit, fuzzy feelings toward our fellow man and other such lofty sentiments are expected and encouraged. Ironically, it is also a time to think selfishly about what we want for ourselves. I mean, what are all those children waiting in line to sit on Santa’s knee really doing? They’re not whispering in his ear about world peace, but about the latest video game or Japanese guinea pig robot craze!
I actually came up with a brilliant system by which family members can find out what is on my personal wish list. I placed a small magnetic container on the fridge called ‘Mom’s Wish List’ and whenever I hear about something which catches my fancy I jot it down and throw the note into the container. Not surprisingly, most of the things on my wish list are related to art. Art books, new art products, art magazine subscriptions, etc. It really is a great system; I recommend it.
This year, my special wish is not something money can buy. The gift I wish for myself for the New Year is a solo show in a Paris gallery. During my numerous visits to Paris in 2010 I made wonderful contacts in the local art community and have laid the groundwork for my dream to become a reality. I already have some samples of ceramic work on show in Galerie Saphir and am working on a series of paintings inspired by a friend’s apartment in Paris. With a nod to the winter season and the latest onslaught of snow in Paris, I am offering a sneak preview of one of my paintings entitled White on White (shown left—click on the image to see a larger version).
Happy Holidays to the Bonjour Paris community and may all your wishes for the New Year come true.
For 2011, I personally hope to obtain dual citizenship (French-American) and continue to develop my network, skill set and talents to advance my career. I look forward to contributing to the French-American relations world, the blogosphere, the expat universe and, of course, Bonjour Paris. I’ll be keen to see how the French and US campaigns for the 2012 elections develop on each side of the Atlantic. I also plan on recording my music.
For the readers of my site www.americanexpatinfrance.com, I plan on making changes in accordance with your feedback on my articles, news coverage and selected links to enhance the website and serve as a forum for quality exchange on expat issues and Franco-American relations.
At Bonjour Paris, I look forward to contributing to the collective effort of informing visitors about French news, life and insider travel and cultural tips. Happy Holidays everyone!
If I were to write a note to St. Nicholas this Christmas I would ask for an honest, viable purchaser of my former bed and breakfast in Arles. In one fell swoop with this sale, I would be able to pay off debts, do repairs on my house (such as a new roof and a new glassed-in salon), and get myself a decent small car that consumes oodles less gas (or diesel) than my current mini-bus. I might also be able to self-publish a book or two, take my kids skiing, and turn up the heat in the house to something a bit more civilized.
In basically all other aspects of life I am in a state of gratefulness. I and my loved ones are in good health. I have dear friends, interesting activities and jobs (though I wouldn’t refuse a book deal!), time to read with, bake with, enjoy films and outings with my children. And, I have a delightful handful of dance partners with whom I while away many an evening in fun dresses and heels, to sensuous and slippery tango music.
Hm, considering this last, I wouldn’t refuse a new pair of strappy tango shoes.
For the readers of Bonjour Paris I wish good health, work that is enjoyable and covers the bills, dear and supportive friendships and connections, new discoveries, surprises and joy in abundance.
Une très bonne année à tous !
For 2011, in addition to world peace and harmony, with about the same chance of it happening, I would love to see a touch, just a touch, of bi-partisan politics in France. Wouldn’t that be a novelty? I would like the Grand Palais in Paris to keep its memorable Claude Monet exhibit open long after its scheduled closing date of January 24. I would like a similar extension for the French production of My Fair Lady due to close January 2 at the Chatelet Musical Theater in the capital. I saw a Russian version in Moscow in the 1960s too funny to forget. Finally, I would also like the unseasonable snowdrifts to melt enough so that I finally can make it out of my garden.
Feel free to add your holiday wishes.
Readers are constantly asking us for authentic and out of the ordinary experiences when they come to Paris. Experience Paris – our newest travel partner – can arrange unique experiences in Paris and throughout France. Please say, “Karen sent you” and use the code BJ001.
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