Writer Charli James, who has recently set up home in Paris, testifies to the fact you can lead a rich and happy life in the French capital even if you can’t communicate with the locals in their own lingo. Here’s how.
I barely speak French but I didn’t let this stop me from moving to Paris. And I do know I’m far from alone.Now I’m not advocating remaining French illiterate, especially if you plan to live here long term, and I am working hard to improve my own French, but soon after moving here, I realized you don’t actually have to speak the language very well to have a full life in Paris.Now this may sound implausible, but I promise there are a truckload of people doing this in Paris. [ . . . ]
When traveling, it is always so very wonderful when your innkeepers become your friends. This was the case in both Paris and Uzes for us.
In Paris, we stayed in the 15th, a short walk from Georges Brassens Park. Our host Gildas is a brilliant photographer (he would modestly say “non”) and world-traveler (recent trips to Iran, India.) In the evenings, after walking miles across Paris, it was tres groovy to sit with Gildas at the table and talk bout all sorts of things – France, the USA, Macron et Trump, Paris metro tips, climate change, music, films, photography, life. We were instant friends and hope to keep in touch via Facebook.
In Uzes, we stayed with Yannick, her son Jean-Phillipe, along with their three dogs: Juan, Tataeille, and Merika. Last evening, Yannick shared a delicious bottle of vin de St. Joseph with us and we talked and laughed for a few hours. Using the modest French I remember from my lessons at St. Peter School, I somehow communicated to our friends that prior to climate change, the lobsters in Maine grew to the size of a Shetland ponies (I exaggerated a bit.) They said, “Mon Dieu” and I said “Oui!”
This morning, there is a cool breeze in the air.
I often forget whether or not I visited a famous monument, but I never forget the people I share laughter with.
Where would I be on a rainy day in Paris? The used record shop of course! I visited this Sainte Germain neighborhood shop last year, and it is even more disorganized this time around. However, the prices are great and I was able to grab a handful of CDs that would be hard to find in the states, each for $1.50.