After an extended hiatus, the Franco File Friday series is back for the 4th year! And I’m so pleased to kick things off again with someone I’ve gotten to know better over the last year and someone I enjoy immensely. Lauren Bate, of the blog Folies du Bonheur, came to Paris for two days in 2009 via London where she had been visiting a friend. Almost instantly, she sensed that this brief experience in the city was merely the beginning of a much longer journey. Shortly after she returned to Australia, she was laid off from her job and used the handsome redundancy offer to settle in Paris (the lucky lady also has Italian citizenship, allowing her to stay without issue). As she puts it, it was the universe telling her to make the leap. Since, she’s been documenting her life here alongside Daisy, her canine companion, and her travels through France. Meet Lauren!
1. Describe what you love about France in three words.
Food, Friends, Flowers
2. Your favorite neighborhood ?
Oh, it’d be a photo finish between Batignolles in the 17th where I live and the 3rd, where I hang. Who am I kidding, where the good coffee is. I love my quartier; it was a former village annexed to Paris in 1860 and it’s maintained its friendly neighbourhood feel. I can wave “Bonjour” to all the shopkeepers on my main street, there’s lovely parks and an organic market each Saturday morning. The 3rd is where I meet (or happily bump into!) my friends for the aforementioned coffee. It’s also full of cool shops, it’s close to the canal (where I also love) and it’s less busy than the Marais of the 4th.
3. Something you’ve discovered in France that you can’t imagine living without ?
That Champagne is cheap ! I’ll go home when I can afford exorbitantly priced French champagne in Australia. I also think it’s going to be hard living without the option of wandering down to the river on a Sunday afternoon when the weather is nice and walking through the Tuileries and glimpsing our iron lady while watching the sun set. I’ll miss this for sure.
4. Where you go to relax ?
The woodland of Vincennes and Boulogne are known as the “lungs of Paris”, and I completely understand why. I live not far from the Bois de Boulogne and I like to go there to walk the dog and wander and just slow down and breathe.
5. Most frustrating or amusing interaction with the French?
Amusing: all the rituals surrounding eating, and how religiously serious they are taken, really fascinates me.
Frustrating: this recent trend of completely bastardising the English language by using one or two words – absolutely incorrectly and incoherently – thinking that it makes anything cool, and in fact it’s really not. That one get’s me very mad!
Follow Lauren’s adventures in Paris (and beyond):