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.

Chateau de Chantilly, Domaine de 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?

Come with me to the Riviera

Small-group Tours for Women to Villefranche sûr Mer on the Côte d'Azur. 

Contact me below for more information. X

Stay in the *heart* of Villefranche sûr Mer. Discover the Côte d'Azur: the hilltop village of Èze, over-the-top Monaco, gentle Antibes and rocking Juan les Pins, vieux Nice, and more. Swim at Beaulieu sur Mer, visit Villa et Jardins de Rothschild and the divine Villa Kerylos.

Go touring and experience those fabulous Mediterranean views, and have lunch in hilltop Apricale, in Italy. Breakfast at the celebrated Welcome Hotel, dine by the harbour, and relax in one of 2 beautiful apartments in the old town.

Oh, and the restaurants, and shopping..!

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Comments 24

  1. 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!
    Renee

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      Author

      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

  2. 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.

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      Author

      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?

  3. 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?!!!??

    Amitiés
    Jill (Gigi’s French Window)

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      Author

      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?

  4. 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 !

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      Author

      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. 🙂

  5. 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…

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      Author

      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.

  6. 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….

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      Author

      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.

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        Author

        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 🙂

  7. 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.

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      Author

      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 🙂

  8. 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.

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      Author

      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!

  9. 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…❤️

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      Author

      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

  10. 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!

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      Author

      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 🙂

  11. 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! 💗💗💗

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      Author

      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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