Francophile love. French Bistro in Paris. All Things Frenc

I’m a Hopeless Francophile in Love with France.

As I sit here to write shortly after my return from France, I am compelled to ask myself, ''What is a Francophile?'. 'Why am I so drawn to this country?'. I am ecstatic when I arrive ... in tears when I go.

What is it that draws me back here again, and again, that causes my heart to swell and tears to form when I hear the language, or listen to French music? What does it 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 (most likely...) I was a muse for the artists in Montmartre, spending my time engaging in political repartée at impromptu gatherings in the local bistros. Or, is it a ghostly memory of the history, the quietude, of some tiny village with ancient traditions that stirs my soul?

Hopeless Francophile - Staircase, Montmartre All Things French

Whatever the reason, France has beguiled me since as long as I can remember. As I said to a taxi driver who drove me to Villefranche sur Mer a couple of months ago, 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 - now beloved Australia, which I love with a passion. This land of vast expanses, green, undulating mountains, lush forests, endless deserts, and glistening beaches will always be my physical home. I am so happy to live here, with my family and friends, and with the knowledge that we are indeed lucky to have such an expansive and glorious place to live. But somehow my spiritual home, the place singing to my heart in a quiet refrain, will always be France.

Francophile love. Chateau Chantilly Staircase All Things French
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 like some kind of club. Even people who have never been there, actually, feel it ... There isn't another word like it in the English language for another culture...Francophile.

I was in a café recently, where I overheard some conversation in French, and I realised my deep love for the language. Surprisingly, although I have loved it enough to study here for one month at the Institut de Francais in Villefranche sur Mer, I hadn’t realised just how much I love to speak it and to engage with the beautiful French people. Without that conversation in the background, it was almost like viewing a movie in black and white – when I knew it should be in colour.

Hopeless Francophile. Villefranche-sur-Mer All Things French Boat

I remember the time when I realised, with sorrow in my heart, that I was leaving – perhaps not to return for too long a time – and that I would no longer be - for the time being at least - ‘Madame’. There is simply no English equivalent for this. The loss was palpable.

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

Who yearn to go back, again…

Do you feel that same longing? What are your feelings about France?

Comments 14

  1. Jean-Marie

    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.

  2. Tami H

    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

  3. Heather Pye

    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, Canada, but will be forever obsessed with France and all things French. My travel days are behind me now and it breaks my heart that I will never see my beloved France again, but I am so grateful that I have had the numerous opportunities to spend time in the country that makes my soul sing.

    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 🙂

  4. Tessa

    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!

  5. Jen

    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

  6. R.

    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 🙂

  7. Marianne Furnes

    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

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