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C’est moi

The happiest days of our lives...

The happiest days of our lives…

I am a Colorado mountain girl voluntarily and very happily transplanted to the City of Light for three of the last five years.  A trailing spouse and maman to two gorgeous girls, I fell head over heels in love with France. But by our last year in Paris the rose tint had begun to fade, and even though j’adore(d) toujours la belle France and the Frenchie’s mode de vie, it wasn’t always the easiest place in the world to live.

I started this blog during the last 365-days we lived in Paris as a way to share and count my blessings, and to make sure I appreciated every single day of the final year in the complicated country I was lucky enough to call home.

Then, zut alors, the day finally came in September 2015 when we had to pack up our things and make the move back to the USA.

Since then, I have missed my life and friends in France tremendously and have had a hard time staying away. I am currently trying to ground myself in small-town Golden, Colorado while keeping one foot, or at least one toe, in Paris. It is challenging to maintain a dual life, but I think, worth it.

So, I have added a “+” to my original blog title and will continue to write, photograph, and learn about France. While the majority of my time finds me planted in the Wild West where I am trying to find the the good and the French in Colorado, I am still fortunate enough to make my way back to France now and again.

Thank you for following along with me on my binational journey. I hope you will learn to love France as much as I do.

54 Comments Post a comment
  1. MELewis #

    How refreshing – I’ve spent the past 20 years accumulating things that frustrate me about France. Reading your blog is like yin for my yang!

    November 19, 2013
    • Thanks. I’m trying to stay away from my cranky side this year, and remember what is great about France…that said, I love your blog–and your take on the day-to-day realities of living with the French.

      November 19, 2013
  2. Enjoying your blog! As someone just starting out here in Paris, it’s great to hear about your experiences and learn from them, as well. 🙂

    January 9, 2014
    • Thanks for reading, Karen. What brings you to Paris?

      January 12, 2014
      • I moved here to be with my husband. He is a Parisian, which makes it a little easier for me since I get to have an insider helping me adjust!

        January 12, 2014
      • Well, it is such a beautiful place to live and so much is offer. I hope you enjoy your time here…and your travels in Europe.

        January 12, 2014
      • Thank you so much!

        January 12, 2014
  3. Enjoying your posts, so thanks for having liked my blog – it has helped us find each other. I look forward to reading more.

    January 12, 2014
  4. you have a nice blog…
    cheers from Florence – Italy

    January 24, 2014
  5. From living in France, it’s best to focus on the positives, as every place has its idiosyncrasies. Bon retour au Colorado!

    January 25, 2014
  6. suespix #

    Hello! i’m so glad you visited my blog because I probably wouldn’t have discovered yours … and i love your blog🙂 🙂 The things that catch your eye and brain are similar to my own and i enjoy the look of your blog too. in fact i am actually “following” you!! (a rare event fpr me!) so i don’t miss anything.

    January 28, 2014
    • Hi there,
      Thank you very much for you kind words and for following me. I really appreciate it. Yes. It does seem like we are on the same wave length…I love the themes and things you notice and write about. x Nancy

      January 28, 2014
      • suespix #

        😀

        February 4, 2014
  7. I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award – hope you’ll accept!

    January 29, 2014
  8. I can so relate after 3 years in Paris. And then another 3 in Hamburg Germany. I love Europe but I don’t think I’ll probably live there again. A long stay no problem:)
    Would you go back to CO?

    January 30, 2014
    • Well we have a large home in Colorado and my husband’s job is there. I’d love to downsize, and have more flexibility to spend part of our year in Paris. I have one daughter studying in London and another one very likely to be there next year too. Empty nesting is already going to be difficult, but with the girls so far away, it will be very difficult. What was your reentry like? Reverse culture shock is worse than culture shock in my opinion.

      January 30, 2014
  9. Good to find your blog via Francesays. I’ve been in France 16 years down in the SW and I agree the rose tint does fade after a while but thanks for majoring on the positive side. Living in France is like living anywhere – it has its upsides and downsides. I like to think the former outweigh the latter.

    January 31, 2014
    • Thanks for the kind comment. I’d love to stay another couple of years and (maybe) start to feel more at home, but I don’t think that will happen. I do feel very grateful for all my moments here, worts and all; there’s a lot of good in France. Thank you for stopping by.

      January 31, 2014
  10. I live in Lakewood, near Green Mountain, what year did you graduate? I have friends who went to GM to HS.

    February 3, 2014
  11. I’ve never been but have a whole stack of postcards black and white from the 1900’s that I will be posting in the coming weeks. Love your blog. Failed French after three years…only remember the dirty phrases I conjugated on my own…teacher was not impressed.

    February 10, 2014
    • oooh…I look forward to seeing those cards…French is a tough language, but I’m determined to learn it. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words.

      Your blog is beautiful. I was very moved by your Tea Cup post. Keep writing and sharing.

      February 10, 2014
  12. Now why hadn’t I discovered your blog last year … I went to Paris and the South of France and your insight would have I’m sure made my trip much more interesting ! We only spent 5 days in Paris though – so still in rose tinted glasses🙂 The food there is just incredible.

    March 18, 2014
    • Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. France is an amazing country, worts and all. I hope you have the chance to come back.

      March 18, 2014
  13. Ahhh, we can tell we will like it here! We are off to France later this year and although spent about 2 weeks there back in 2006, we were a little indifferent about it back then. But now that we are 8 years older (and hopefully wiser), we are giving it another whirl but this time for about 3 weeks🙂 And really hoping to really fall in love with it! We will trawl through your blog and see your tips about what you love – it might inspire us when we are there!!

    March 26, 2014
    • So many places to go and see. If you’ve already seen enough of Paris, I would head straight to Normandy or south to Roussillon and Provence. The Loire is lovely. Bordeaux, Dijon…Marseille, Ste. Maxime…you really can’t go wrong. The people are so much friendlier once you leave the big city behind. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

      March 26, 2014
  14. Melinda Lusmore #

    Hi Nancy,
    I am so glad I found your blog before you head back to Colorado! Looking forward to many more posts.
    Melinda

    April 21, 2014
    • Hi Melinda,
      Thanks for stopping by and reading. Still hoping somehow to prolong our stay in this wonderful country. I’m not ready to say I’m headed back to the States just yet.

      April 21, 2014
  15. Thanks for liking my post on geokult.travel.com – your blog looks really interesting so am following to find out about all the things you love about France.

    Cheers
    Tracey

    April 23, 2014
    • Hi Tracey,
      Thanks so much for following me. I’ve just had a moment to troll through your blog. It’s fabulous. Looking forward to following you. Santé right back at you!

      May 6, 2014
  16. Hello! I’ve really been enjoying reading your blog and have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award: http://ellisgoesonholiday.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/the-versatile-blogger-award/
    Happy Blogging!

    May 3, 2014
    • I am so happy you are enjoying my blog. As you know, a lot of care and love goes into this whole blogging thing. Thank you for the nomination.I appreciate your compliment. I accept with pleasure. It may take me a few weeks to get my list together, but will try to get to it tout de suite! Merci beaucoup!🙂 Nancy

      May 4, 2014
      • You’re welcome, it is very much deserved! I look forward to reading your list🙂

        May 8, 2014
  17. So beautiful. It seems like so many people look to France for some of the most beautiful adventures of their lives (myself included). Looking forward to reading your blog and here is another blogger that might interest you, as she too decided to leave for France (but is now living in Victoria, BC. She also has a book): http://www.findingmeinfrance.com.

    Alors, bonne chance et a bientot!🙂

    May 6, 2014
    • Hi there! Thanks for stopping by and for following moi. It’s funny, the effect France has on some of us. I came here very reluctantly and will no doubt leave kicking and screaming. It is hard to know whether it is the place or the time in your life, or the combination of both, but I was lost and unhappy before I landed in France, but somehow France gave me the strength and clarity to reinvent myself and dream BIG again. It looks like it has done the same for you.

      What I’ve seen so far, you’re writing and poetry is beautiful.

      Thanks for the BC link too, looks v interesting…

      …all the best!

      May 6, 2014
  18. I do understand your relationship with Paris/Parisians/France. I worked for French company for many years; I love France, I love the French BUT they are our oldest enemies. One day I will write about the games we got up to in meetings to put one over on the French! At least our headquarters were in Lyon so we always enjoyed wonderful food.

    May 25, 2014
    • I would love to hear your stories about games to out do the French. Write them! Re: Lyon–can you believe I haven’t been there yet? Hoping to get there in the next few weeks. Do you have any great restaurant recommendations? Or which part of the city is the best part to explore? Many thanks!

      May 25, 2014
      • I’ve not been back to Lyon for some years but the old central part between Perrache railway station, east through Place Bellecourt and on up the Presqu’ Ile. Interesting shops and great places to eat specially in the Mercerie (I think) area. You have to go to eat at a Bouchon Lyonnais, very traditional and very good; Lyon is THE best place to eat in France, even Parisians will admit to this! In Place Bellecourt stop in the middle and look up the hill to the north and you will see Notre Dame de Fourviere, an unspeakably awful looking church on top of the hill, then go there. Cross the Saone then you can take a furnicular, or walk, from the top you have Lyon at your feet and on a clear day can see Mont Blanc on the horizon (I know this, I’ve seen it though many Lyonnais haven’t!). Check at the Tourist Information office (Place Bellecourt) about visiting the ‘Traboules’ on Croix Rouge (?) which are very interesting and historic. Eat Rose de Lyon and Ceval de Canuet and enjoy my favourite city in France, if you haven’t guessed, you’re away from Paris and in the Midi and the natives are friendly!

        May 25, 2014
      • Thank you so much! I will try to hit all of these “hotspots” when we head there in June. I love finding out about the local secrets. You’re a gem.

        May 26, 2014
  19. Jorge Rio #

    A french friend says the same as you about france.
    He chose to live in Brazil, and I think he’s crazy.🙂

    June 30, 2014
    • Hmmm…the grass is always greener, huh? We humans are a funny lot. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by my blog.🙂

      July 1, 2014
  20. Hello! Thanks for the “like” and I’m sorry to hear you’re leaving that beautiful city. I hope to move there someday and am trying very hard to make it happen soon!

    July 11, 2014
  21. Hi, there! Is there a good way to email you or contact you somehow? Facebook or something? I would love to ask you some questions about living in France. My family might be moving there for a couple of years and would love to ask you a few questions if that’s alright. I will of course be reading more of your blog as well! Thanks for finding mine!

    July 11, 2014
    • Hi there. Somehow this was lost in the shuffle. Please do message me on FB (Nancy Benioff) and I will try to give you the inside scoop on life in France. Have you decided to make the move?

      September 15, 2014
  22. Your blog is amazing!!! I just started mine and want you in my blogroll! Fine with it?
    I hope you’ll get to be back in France if you are really living that soon… although Colorado is one of my top states I want to visit in the US!

    August 10, 2014
    • Thank you, merci bien and all that jazz. Please put me on your blogroll. Yep. We leave in 21 days. I’m in total denial. I haven’t even made my to-do list yet to move the family back to the States because I simply don’t want to believe it is true. I’m sure to be in full panic mode this time next week. Thanks for stopping in. I really appreciate it. Nancy

      August 10, 2014
  23. Bendilyn Bach #

    Chere Nancy, I am counting the days with you… with some regret. I have enjoyed your journey, “living it” with you — if only vicariously. Thank you for sharing it with us. But fear not: France is and will forever be part of you now. Bon retour aux E.U.!

    August 16, 2014
    • Thank you. What a very sweet comment. Thank you also for your faithful following. I will miss my lively and gracious followers. I am still in denial that we are leaving in 15 days. My apartment looks like it has exploded and I have so much to do, but I all I want to do is enjoy my last few days. You are so right though, France will always be in my heart…so many extraordinary experiences and people. What a privilege to get to live here.

      August 16, 2014
  24. Hi Nancy, hope your move back to the States went well and you’re adjusting ok! Mlle our younger daughter left for London last week so we’re getting used to being “empty nesters” – it’s been quite an emotional few days! I hope you get back into blogging again once everything settles down! I’m going to get round to reading the older posts in your French blog too,(as I only discovered you late in the piece!), so please keep it up here as it’s such a beautiful site🙂 Warm wishes Rosemary🙂

    September 8, 2014

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