Francophile love. French Bistro in Paris. All Things French

I’m a Hopeless Francophile in Love with France

What is a Francophile and why am I so drawn to this country?

 I am ecstatic when I arrive and in tears when I go ...

For as long as I can remember I have been a Francophile, totally in love with France. I first travelled here when I was 15 and I still remember the feeling of speaking French to a local in Paris for the very first time. It was utterly enthralling. It certainly felt easy enough because I didn't have as many fears of making mistakes when I was younger. I distinctly recall the feeling of not have to translate our conversation back and forth to English in my head. It was sublime.

My second trip was with my son in 2009 - some 30-odd years later - and I loved it even more. We travelled across the country, from La Rochelle through the stunning Loire Valley, and onto Paris. I was in heaven. Too late now, I was hooked!

What is it that draws me back to France again and again?

What is it about France that causes my heart to swell and tears to form when I hear the language or listen to French music? What does it really mean to be a 'Francophile'?

I am curious about theories of past lives. Surely I have sauntered through Le Petit Trianon at Versailles, swathed in some glorious pink silken gown, drinking tea and eating cake.

Perhaps I was an atrist's muse in Montmartre, engaging in political repartée at impromptu gatherings at some local bistro.

Or is it some ghostly memory in the history and quietude of some tiny village with ancient traditions that stirs my soul?

Whatever the reason, I have been a Francophile for as long as I can remember

As I said to a taxi driver who drove me to Villefranche on my last trip, I feel like I am coming home

Even my name – Louise - seems to have been given to me by fate. Some throwback to a time when France was my motherland.

Certainly, it is not from a lack of love for my home countries – originally Scotland (where I was born) and now beloved Australia. I love this land of vast expanses, green undulating mountains, lush forests, endless deserts, and glistening beaches with a passion. Australia will likely always be my physical home. I am so happy to live here with my family and friends and we are indeed lucky to have such a glorious place to live.

If you are curious, I now live in a beautiful Tiny House on a lush green forested property in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. Absolute heaven. You can see it here.

But somehow my spiritual home, the place singing to my heart in a quiet refrain, will always be France

Join the All Things French community and receive one month of free online French lessons 

Why am I a Francophile and why do I love France so? I feel it in my very heart

I feel it - know it - especially when I hear the language

It's very strange, because even people who have never been there actually feel it ... There aren't many other words like it in the English language for belonging to, having a connection with, another culture ... Francophile ... certainly not as commonly used.

I was in a French café recently and overheard some locals having a chat. At that moment, I truly realised my deep love for the language. Although I knew I loved it enough to study at the Institut de Francais for a month (in the beautiful village of Villefranche sur Mer) I hadn’t realised just how much I love to speak it. It is a definite part of my attration to France.

Without French conversation in the background, life is almost like viewing a movie in black and white – when I know it should be in colour!

What a joy it is to engage with the beautiful French people

Who are we … the Francophiles of this world, who live with a visceral longing for France and all things French?

I remember one time when I realised, with sorrow in my heart, that I was leaving – perhaps not to return for too long a time. For a while, at least, I would no longer be ‘Madame’. There is simply no English equivalent for this pleasantry. The loss was palpable. I was crying on the way to the airport ...

Do you feel that same longing? Are YOU a Francophile?

Download 5 of my favourite image files to print, save to your device, or use as wallpaper on your desktop

Francophile love. French Bistro in Paris. All Things French

I’m a Hopeless Francophile in Love with France

What is a Francophile and why am I so drawn to this country?  I am ecstatic when I arrive and in tears when I go … For as long as I can remember I have been a Francophile, totally in …

Read more ...
Eze, Cote d'Azur, Riviera | All Things French

The Enchanting Village of Eze on the French Riviera

If you haven’t been to Èze yet, it’s time it was on your list. One of my absolute favourite places to visit when I stay in Villefranche sur Mer is the perched hilltop village of Eze. This beautiful village dates …

Read more ...

Want to travel with an onboard bag, but not sure how to manage it? Download my free Onboard Bag Travel Checklist

Join the All Things French community and receive one month of free online French lessons 

Comments 47

  1. Bonjour Louise!

    I just discovered you blog after Googling “I love France” . I am sitting here in a Château in Reims on what will be our final night in France after two wonderful months here, including a few weeks in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

    Love the people, love the food, love the countryside, love the markets, love the way of life, love love love. It’s going to be difficult to say goodbye, and to no longer be Madame!

    So many wonderful memories, will look forward to our return ❤️

    Bonne journée x

    1. Post

      Bonjour Jess, I’m so glad you found your way to All Things French. I totally understand your sadness, especially about being called Madame. There is just no English equivalent, right? I’m thrilled that you got to spend some time in Villefranche also – one of my favourites. Do you have plans to return? Louise XX

  2. Hi Louise!

    I recently sent you an email on this site. Will you be emailing me directly? Will I need to check for a reply on this site? It’s such a busy season and I just want to be efficient.
    Kind regards,

    1. Post
  3. Louise, I have just come across your website via your Facebook post on the Cinq Cent Apartments and have been sitting in the early morning sun (in Auckland, New Zealand) devouring it. One of the links took me to your Francophile blog post which absolutely resonates with me. I was drawn to France and the French language from my high school days when I had the most inspired and inspiring French teacher – that was in the mid sixities but I never actually got to visit France until 2007. Instantly I knew it was my spiritual home too. Not only that, my husband loved it (wasn’t sure he would), so we have returned many times since and will continue to do so as often as we can. I blog all my travels in order to capture fabulous memories and hopefully inspire others to visit places we have seen. Please add me to your mailing list so I can continue to visit France vicariously until we next return. I am now following you on Instagram too.

    1. Post

      Bonjour Shelley

      Thanks so much for your reply. France just gets inside some of us, doesn’t it? I’m so glad you enjoyed my article and may consider staying in these beautiful apartments in Apt. I certainly loved staying there which I think is evident from my post. I have added you to my mailing list and hope to stay in touch. Bon week-end a vous madame. 🙂

    1. Post
  4. Pingback: 'Finding Gilbert, a Promise Fulfilled' | All Things French

  5. Louise,
    I feel the same way about France. I believe it is a soul connection that i don’t quite understand but i have felt this for over 5 decades. Unmistakable. Sounds, aromas, colors, tastes of French food, language, music, etc just speak to something deep inside. I have visited many countries but never felt the same.
    And my name Marie is decidedly French as well. When my family first flew on Air France, i was 11, the flight attendant’s name was Marie and how she pronounced it woke something up within me, a yearning, i think. I have never been the same since. Fascinating!

    1. Post

      Bonjour Marie, lovely to hear from you!

      I feel exactly the same, of course, and with a name like Louise I feel a distinct connection to France that also seems very rooted in my blood, although not in my family. It’s a strange obsession that, as you know, resulted in my designing Tours for ladies.

      Sadly, I am unable to get to France this year and have had to cancel both my Tours and refund my ladies. Fingers crossed for next year!
      Take care, madame, and thanks for staying in touch XX

  6. Louise.. I felt like I was reading my biography.. I live here in NYC and travel to France at least once a year for the past 23 years and happy to say I have never missed a year. My heart is in Paris and I always feel like I am home when I arrive at the apartment we have been renting for many years. We have made many loving friends .. The people, the culture, the food,the language just makes my heart skip a beat.. Hooefully we will be returning in October for a month to embrace the beautiful city ..Again, love this story♥️

    1. Post

      Bonjour Marianne, and thank you for commenting on my post.

      It’s nothing short of an obsession, isn’t it? Once a francophile, always a francophile. You are so lucky to be able to travel there so regularly. It is such a long way for me, from Australia. That’s why I came up with the idea of ladies Tours to France – a business excuse to get over there as often as I can. Yay! Malheureusement, I have had to cancel my 2 Tours there this year, September included. No flights leaving Australia this year. Very sad.

      I hope that you manage to get there in October. Fingers crossed! Louise XX

  7. It’s difficult being a Francophile when everyone around you isn’t! I felt what you describe during my first visit to France and after returning, mostly everyone I knew just thought I had been possessed, lol. I then discovered the word Francophile and was relieved to know I was completely normal. We have since returned to France four more times and as you know, will be joining you and other Francophiles in September this year for the tour. I’m so excited and am counting down the days!

    1. Post

      It really *is an obsession, and – interestingly – although we do have ‘Anglophile’, and of course our beloved ‘Francophile’, there isn’t another word in our language to describe lovers of other cultures. I wonder why?
      I can’t wait to meet you in September, Vicki, what a fab time we will have!

    2. My husband, sons and I have been to France every second year for the last 7-8 years (we were supposed to be on our 5th visit now) and people have asked us why we keep going back there when there are so many other countries to visit. (We have also visited Italy, Denmark, England and Ireland during this period, but most of our time is always spent in France.) These people don’t understand our absolute love and obsession with France and all things French. I have tried to explain that going to France feels like ‘going home’ as the article mentioned, but most people don’t get it. Nice to now be part of this FB page where everyone feels the same.

      1. Post

        Bonjour Jane. I apologise that it took so long to get back to you. ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…’.

        It’s a fascinating obsession, isn’t it?

        I feel entirely the same, bien sur. It’s difficult to explain this feeling to someone who has not experienced it. You are so lucky that you share it with your husband. I have a beloved girlfriend who is a committed francophile but whose hubby just doesn’t ‘get’ it. Her solution is to visit France alone and then meet up with him elsewhere in Europe. Not that he doesn’t like going to France but that he doesn’t want it to be the focus of his travels in Europe.

        The good side is that we have travelled there together a couple of times, so I get to hang out with a francophile girlfriend. Yay!

        Bon weekend a vous, madame. Louise. XX

  8. Louise; I have a theory :0)
    It’s the Celt within us – I, too, have Scottish ancestry yet have lived in and adored Australia for thirty years, being too disappointed with the constant grey, rainy, wet of the northern hemisphere. However, now being threatened with extremes of heat and a country in flames (and getting too old to adore spending a day sun baking!) my husband and I are looking to realise a growing dream of spending the winter of our lives breathing in the intoxicating history and architecture of France, Italy and Spain. We hope to be living in France within the next few years and you will be more than welcome to stay on your visits! A country idyll still beckons (we are on acreage NW of Sydney and have absolutely loved living here) so we will probably end up in the Dordogne or Loire and I can feel palpable excitement at the thought. Best Wishes for your francophile future Louise and thanks for your thoughts xxx

    1. Post

      Bonjour Gill. Yes, we travelled back to Scotland twice during my teenage years but nothing could keep me there. I’d love to go back and travel with my Dad once more…he would love that. Thank you for your kind offer to stay when you find a place there. I travelled the Loire 10 years ago with my then 15 year old son and fell in love with the place. Happy house-hunting! I look forward to meeting you one day. XX

  9. Louise, I am an Anglophile, but my English grandmother was a Francophile! She was very impressed by all things French! I think of that every time I make French food. Just made nonnettes for the first time and thought of her. Would love to visit France one day, but I need to learn more of the language than just food terms!

    1. Post

      Bonjour Jean, how I would love to even begin to prepare French Food. I am a complete non-cook. I CAN cook, I’ve even worked as a cook on a Jillaroo and Jackaroo School once, but it just isn’t *in me.

      Don’t wait until you learn the language to go … English is widely spoken throughout the country and you’ll get along just fine. And you’re so CLOSE! Or, come along on one of my Tours! 🙂 Thanks for writing in. XX

  10. I too, love everything French,
    i live in Australia (for which i love for the Gold Rush/Victorian era history)

    but yes, there is something very special about France, i feel.

    I love the art and architecture, their simplicity, but that of a high standard, their attitude to savour the moment,

    and of course, that mesmerizing softness and intellect of the spoken and written language.

    the food; small servings but with all the flavour in the world in a single spoon *drool*

    one can go on, forever!

    1. Post

      Bonjour Torben, I live in Australia too, in Bellingen – which I love! And, for me, the language is probably my favourite thing about France in so many ways. Of course, I love the villages, countryside, and cities, but in many ways I would say that the language is the primary thing for me. It resonates in my soul. Thanks for taking the time to comment. XX

  11. Hi, Louise!

    I’ve been following you on Facebook and now I am looking at your website. Very nice!!

    I live in the California, USA. A good friend lives in Florida, USA. We both are thinking of moving permanently to the Nice area. We are retiring, so will not need a job. Question…Do you know anyone who has done this? Have you ever thought to retire to France?

    Thank you!

    1. Post

      Hi Renee. I have indeed thought that I would like to spend more time in France, for sure. However, I have an elderly father and cat so it won’t be anytime soon! How lovely that you will be going there with a friend. I don’t know anyone who has retired there, unfortunately, but I know that there are many expats (and support groups) in France for people such as yourselves who want to connect with like-minded people. You’re going to have a ball! (Green with envy!). Louise. XXX

  12. Salut!

    I’m a Philippine born, USA raised man who has always had a fascination for French culture for as long as I can remember. The food, language, history, and culture are something I absolutely love learning about and immersing myself in. There was always just something about it that made me feel at home. Maybe it was home to me in a past life. Like you said as well, it certainly does not take away my love and pride for my own country of origin. Nonetheless, I feel that same soul connection you do with France. I will be visiting for the first time next month and I am looking forward to experiencing what it has to offer.

    1. Post

      Oh, Jason, I’m so thrilled for you! Your first visit! You’re going to LOVE it, for sure. Watch out – then you’ll be hooked and filled with an eternal longing to go back! Where are you off to?

  13. Hi Louise, I couldn’t have said it better my self…it’s just the strangest thing isn’t it ! I’ve been drawn to France since …forever, and have often wondered WHY? No answers came forwith, but who am I to question such a gift of passion? ? So I simply roll with it! A couple of years ago I was reading through a family history book and guess what! One of my ancestors was a Count from France (a lavender distiller no less) captained one of the ships for Guiaume Le Conquérant heading to England! Sooooo it must be in the genes 🙂

    Did I mention I have a lavender farm?!!!??

    Jill (Gigi’s French Window)

    1. Post

      Hi Jill

      How lovely to hear from you, and a fellow Francophile indeed! Yes, France seems to strike a chord in many of us, one way or the other, to the point where (you and I) have been sharing our love of this fabulous place for years on Facebook. How is everything going with you, and *where* is your lavender farm? I had no idea! How wonderful it must be in your home. Do you live on the farm? When are you planning your next visit to la belle France?

  14. Salut Louise ! The funniest thing; I was googling francophilia to reassure myself I wasn’t weird, that there must be other people in the world who must feel the same way about French and France just like I do, and I found this blog. I’m a young man from Nigeria and I’ve never been to France, but I do feel as though a big part of my heart lives there. I took French classes here in my city and I’ve never been the same. I’m utterly besotted by France and I’m sure if I ever get the chance to go there I would feel right at home! The French language is always music in my ears even when it’s hard to decipher and it’s become very much a part of my life. I have lived in the châteaux, the îles, the arrondissements of Paris, the cobbled streets, the Rhone alpes, the countrysides of the Pyrénées and the South of France, even taken the euro tunnel from Paris to London all in my imagination. I’m relieved to see it’s not a very alien thing and I’m excited to have discovered your website. Bon courage et Merci !

    1. Post

      Bonjour Kayode

      Thanks so much for your lovely comments. Being a Francophile is something you either are, or aren’t 🙂

      The strangest thing.

      I love it about myself, but I travelled to France when I was quite young so, of course, it seemed natural that I would be lost in love. So it has been fascinating for me to meet many people who identify with being Francophiles, and yet have never been to France!

      It’s like it’s born within us.

      Welcome to my corner of All Things French.

      Bon continuation. 🙂

  15. Well, being French and living in Oz for over 20 years, I am always bewildered by people’s romantic idea of my birth country…
    France is a fabulous place to visit whether Paris or the countryside, but living and working In France and specially in Paris can be a daunting experience… I have seen a few family members coming back from the Post Office in tears… Trying to run a business there is full of complications and costs linked to the French generous social safety net…
    Having said that, now that I visit rather than live there I throughly enjoy the food, the wines, the culture, and yes the language even though mine is more franglaisoz than the pure music I used to speak from my upbringing in Tours, supposedly the best, as Colorado is to the States…

    1. Post

      Merci Jean-Marie, nice to see you on the blog. Of course, Francophiles have an essentially romanticised vision of France, and are often on holiday when they are there. It’s so much easier to feel good on holiday. However, I’m always amazed at how it just seems to grab people, this love of France, and we become obsessed. Looking forward to sharing some of that French food and wine with you, mon cher.

  16. This is me, too!! I went to France 24 years, fell in love and sadly have not be able to return YET. My parents hosted french kids my age then also and my husband and I just hosted our first student, a little piece of France came to me. Oh, how I long to go again, my children say I’m obsessed…..probably. One day….

    1. Post

      Hi Tami, well, I’m definitely obsessed! And…loving it! I truly hope you get back there soon, don’t delay. It’s never going to get easier. I hear from so many people who have reached the point where they cannot travel anymore. How sad. I’d go nuts if I couldn’t get back there…XX

    2. Hi Tami,

      I so hope you’ll be able to return to France. I have been fortunate to go to France 14 times, returning last week most recently. Save your money and you can make it happen. There is no need to stay in large, 5-star hotels. Au contraire, your experience will be much richer the less you spend (up to a point). There are many ways to travel economically. I would recommend staying in an apartment or what they call appart/hotels in France. That way you can shop like locals, cook simple meals with your kitchen, and save a ton of money. Not every meal is eaten in but the meals at restaurants are delightful and delicious splurges. There are many free attractions of all types. Sometimes, walking and soaking up the atmosphere is the best way to spend your time.

      I wish you all the best.

      1. Post

        Hi Pat

        Thanks so much for responding so positively to Tami’s comments. I totally agree with everything you have said. I am even looking into volunteer organisations which offer affordable options working with groups doing restoration work. What fun! Making the decision to get there is the biggest, and most important, thing. Everything is possible 🙂

  17. Oh my gosh, I could have written that! I feel exactly the same way! And then recently someone stopped me, who has never seen me before, knows nothing about me, and started telling me about my past life in France! She touched upon things she couldn’t possibly know about me. I do love my country, but will be forever obsessed with France and all things French.

    1. Post

      Oh, Heather, I dread the day when I may no longer be able to travel to my beloved ‘home’ country. I feel for you indeed. How interesting about your ‘past life’…I often wonder about that myself. Why does France get inside of me so? Thanks for taking the time to comment on my new blog, I really appreciate it 🙂

  18. I feel the same. I live in South Africa but my heart and mind wander around Paris, Provence, The Lot, The South West, The Eure Valley, The Chateaux and Mas, the lavender fields and calanques, listening, breathing in the scents, tasting the chèvre, jus au poire, confit de canard acec frites, crisp rosé under a huge Plane tree in a market square, L’Ile Sue la Sorgue Sunday market and markets every day. Vides Greniers. I adore it all.

    1. Post

      Hi Tessa 🙂 Yes, France gets inside of you in so any ways, it’s quite inexplicable and compelling, as any Francophile knows. There is no way past it – we just have to immerse ourselves into it…totally!

  19. This article makes my heart so happy! ❤️?? When I’m in France, especially wandering the tiny cobble stone streets in Provence, it seems like every cell in my body is resonating & responding to my surroundings. I’m not religious in any way but the feeling is almost spiritual! I feel so content & “at home” as you said. I’ve traveled to a few other places in the world & have never felt that kind of connection to a place…❤️

    1. Post

      Hi Jen 🙂 Yes, we are an obsessed bunch of people, the Francophiles of this world! And I’m with you there…much as I love Paris, it’s the quiet little cobbled streets that forever have my heart. Looking forward to hearing from you again, thank you. XX

  20. Hi Louise
    Wow. This is so familiar to me. Over the moon when I go there, like a little girl on Christmas Eve. Feeling blue and in tears when I have to leave. The feeling of belonging there, of it being “home”.
    I’m Portuguese and never quite payed much attention to France. I learned it in school, but never loved the language. And I even went to Paris, for a week, with my then boyfriend, now husband, more than 10 years ago. We pretty much saw all the museums and that was it. But two years later, I, being a History nerd, wanted to go see the Loire castles. I don’t know what happened on that trip but I was hooked. Now, I read everything about France, I try to eat like them, I follow the politics, watch french tv channels back home, you name it. And I know this crazy love has changed me. I’m more attentive to my clothes, and I’m more interested in cooking, for god’s sake! Those two things alone are things I wouldn’t dream of doing before.
    Now, me, my husband, and our 3 year-old keep coming back and back (our son first went there when he was 2 months!). We go there 2-3 times a year, normally on 1 to 3 week periods. We almost know every region by now. We have even found a way of working 2 months in Paris. Paris is now my favorite city. I never thought I’d love Lisbon, my hometown, as much as I did any other city, but well… Paris is Paris.
    I dream of moving to France, but at the same time have this weird feeling of being afraid that doing that would spoil the love I have for the country.
    Well, nice to know I’m not alone. Sometimes people just don’t understand this visceral love, as you call it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Post

      Oh, Rita 🙂 Thanks so much for your lovely, descriptive and heartfelt comment – and thoughts. I really appreciated reading your words, and the sense of sisterhood that is now like a ribbon between us. You are able to access France so much more readily than me, and are young, so you have so much to look forward to. Blessings. I look forward to sharing more 🙂

  21. My dearest Louise ?
    I’m over the moon happy for and impressed by your website and the incredible work you’ve put down! It looks stunning, chic and not less – very professional! I’m delighted to follow your journey on here as well as on Instagram and Facebook, and can’t wait to see your updates!
    Thank you so much for being that HUGE source of inspiration that you are, I feel so lucky and blessed to have come across your accounts and being in touch with you.
    And can’t wait to having that glass of Rosé… ?

    All the best wishes and the best of luck for everything you do, my dear! ???

    1. Post

      Darling Marianne,

      Thank you so much for your constant support and fine wishes. I remember the day you ‘discovered’ my Instagram Page – you were so enthusiastic, I couldn’t believe it. And yet, here you are still. I really appreciate you, so very much. One day, a rosé at a lively bistro in Provence, chèrie XX

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *