The Moment I Knew I Was A Francophile


Francophile

You’ll probably think I’m slightly bonkers when you read this. But I knew I was a francophile before I knew what a francophile was. 

Mmhmm. I know. That makes no sense at all. 

I was in my late twenties and, at the time, working in retail banking. An elegant woman had sauntered into our Williamstown branch and was speaking with my manager. My manager called me into her office, and asked me to arrange some travel insurance for this particular customer. You don’t get a prize for guessing where she was off to. Yes, France. And she was pretty blooming excited about it, despite the fact that she’d travelled there many times before. 

I remember quizzing her on her love of France, asking her why she always travelled to the same country. With the blessing of hindsight, I’m tipping my face was covered with the same curious expression I see in others when they learn how many times we’ve visited France in the last 13 years.

Even after all this time, I’m still not sure what it was. She certainly made France sound like the absolute centre of sophistication and glamour. Maybe it was her deep passion for something that seemed so exotic to me. At the time, I didn’t have any passions beyond caring for my family and building my corporate career. (It would take me another decade and the skills of a very good coach for me to uncover my passions, but that’s a story for another day). 

A Confirmed Francophile

Anyhow, when this woman shared with me that she was a ‘confirmed francophile’, I remember my intuition quietly but clearly stating ‘you could be one of those’.

Now, let’s be clear. It wasn’t like I was surrounded with all things French in suburban Melbourne. When I reflect back now, I didn’t have the slightest clue about anything to do with France. I had no idea about the geography, culture or language. Back then, I knew two humans who’d travelled to France, but I’m not sure their Contiki tour had given them the deepest insights into the country. 

And it wasn’t like we were seasoned international travellers. Scotty and I hadn’t been outside Australia together. In fact, the furthest either of us had been was Singapore – I’d taken a trip there with my parents when I was 16 years old. Aussie road trips were far more our thing, especially because Scotty was scared of flying. (I can’t tell you how glad I am that he got over that.)

Yet I knew in that moment, in a too bright office with crinkled Venetian blinds, that I was one those – a francophile. And I decided I’d better go and work out what that meant.

Do you remember when you first considered yourself a francophile? Did you fall in love with France before you actually travelled there? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir xx


About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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3 thoughts on “The Moment I Knew I Was A Francophile

  • Nat Lanier

    I have a deep appreciation for those that embrace their love and passion and share it to the world in such inspiring ways. We are glad that you are here sharing your Francophile ‘s journey, thoughts, and wisdom with us. I wish I knew exactly when I first started being in love with any thing French. It was a combination of all thing elegant from Paris ‘ fashions , stunning architects and scenery , and amazing food. I was first exposed to it through my mother’s fashion magazines. And I always knew that French was among the most beautiful and sophisticated languages out there. There was nothing so French liked in Thailand 30 years ago. I then started learning more about France and Paris had always been a dream place to visit. I could say then that I loved it before being there. After being here in the United States and having more opportunities to visit other parts of the world and seeing Paris myself, I appreciate and love everything French even more. The elated feeling you had there was indescribable . Our cultures are so different but that makes it more charming. One of my close friends worked with Hermès when I was in a college here in the US. I was quite stunned at how precious and beautiful their products were. My in laws loves French decor and embraces it . We would visit Pierre Deux , a store filled with passion for French art de vivre and French country when they visited Atlanta . Sadly Pierre Deux closed their stores here. My husband and I love almost all French pastries ( I am still not happy that we have not had Mont Blanc dessert yet.) I am very sorry I do not have a short answer for your question. But I am glad to have a chance to share this with you here.

    bisous,
    Nat

    • Janelle Post author

      And I”m so very grateful you shared it here Nat – thank you. I’m sorry I missed this until I was posting tonight – you have such and evolving relationship with France. And trust me, the Mont Blanc will be well worth the wait xx

      • Nat Lanier

        It is past midnight here in Atlanta. I just had a cup of latte and thought a piece Mont Blanc would have been so lovely. We will wait for our first tasting experience…😍💕