This week’s blog is about all things French — if you’re still calling them Freedom Fries, this one is not for you. I however, long for and dream of a Parisian vacation and live vicariously through this week’s blogger, Polly Lyman, as she writes of her years living in France and French culture in an incredibly charming, well-written blog. My favorite post is Julia Child and the Purple Coat — read this and you’ll be hooked.
My interview with Polly Lyman of Polly Vous Francais:
What have you gotten out of having the blog?
First of all, an outlet for me to share my discoveries of Paris as an American. Even though I spoke French fairly fluently before I arrived in Paris, every day brought a new epiphany, another “aha!” moment in my thrill of experiencing life in France. And it continues now, having lived in Paris for three years and returning to the States, to see some of the French habits that won’t leave me, and other American customs I’ve been happy to reclaim.
On a practical note : before I started my blog, I was technologically challenged … to put it politely. By force of habit and out of sheer necessity, I became quite adept at mastering not only all the aspects of blogging and all social media, but also Search Engine Optimization, and so forth. I also got to cover a number of events and ideas as a citizen journalist, and was proud when my scoops on local events or trends went viral on the web.
I got to appear on French television and got filmed in (and subsequently cut from) a documentary film. So worth every moment, even the embarrassing ones!
And I’ve met the most fascinating people — fellow bloggers, readers of my blog famous or not so famous, who shared their vision of Paris with me and some of whom have become lifelong friends.
When are you going to France next?
Well, I’m in the middle of a job search here in Charlottesville right now, so that has been my number one daily priority. But airfares are so reasonable in October, and Paris beckons daily! So if I can slip away for about 12 days it would be dreamy. Especially if I could get some paying writing gigs while I’m there. Or if Air France wants to offer me a ticket…
Meanwhile, I try to find whatever French aspects of life here in the US that I can. We are, really a rather Francophile nation. Lots to do in French culture in Charlottesville!
Tell me about the people you’ve met through your blog.
There have been so many wonderful people I’ve connected with. My blog covers the gamut , from personal reflections to the latest news, so I’ve communicated with the most thoughtful and sweet people who get to know me pretty well.
I learned to meet unknown people in Paris cafes. That was weird at first, but we all develop a system.
Anyway, some of the friends I made have been so incredible. A French countess. An ambassador. A Montmartre artist. In Paris, some friend who I met through my blog came and helped me pack when I was returning to the states. (One brought chocolate cake, and one adopted my goldfish!). We had a number of Paris blogger gatherings, and I got to know people of all nationalities who had adopted Paris as their home forever or for a few years. I’ve met famous politicians, journalists, authors, artists, and not so famous artists, photographers, worker-bees, and struggling writers. I’ve also struck up friendships with “baby boomer” bloggers in the US whom I haven’t met in person but who I consider to be trusted friends. And when I travel to any city in the US, I know that I have new friends of all ages to meet up with: Kentucky, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Florida, California. It’s way better than pen pals!
What are some upcoming posts?
One dealing with all the Parisian habits that I simply can’t shake now that I’m back in the US of A. Probably not 100% what you might expect!
A holiday piece on a major dressing faux-pas in Paris.
An update on the French “bise” and the French daily handshake, which I miss.
A wacky observation of the differences between city life in Paris and country life in Virginia.
And a celebration of some of the joys of being in my native land.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m a die-hard francophile, so I always look at the world through French-colored glasses. I’m working diligently on compiling my incredible cross-cultural experiences into an entertaining narrative book form. I may have to fictionalize some of it, or I may never get invited to another dinner party on either side of the Atlantic again….
Other francophile blogs Polly reads:
The Paris Blog, which is a composite of all the best in the Paris blogosphere (I was formerly a contributor), and all of its current contributors too long a list to spell out here. They’re really an incredible bunch, and you learn so much about Paris just checking in.
French Politics – a godsend for getting a handle on the French political situation. Even for those of us who understand French well enough to read the Paris newspapers, it gives a timely analysis from an American perspective.
David Lebovitz – he’s a fellow blogger from Paris who writes not only about food but also incredibly funny anecdotes about living as an American in Paris.
Stuff Parisians Like – witty and a bit snarky, the author Olivier is a Frenchman, so he knows what he’s talking about. A take-off of the blog “Stuff White People Like.”
Paris Daily Porn — don’t let the name fool you. It’s blogger and journalist Meg Zimbeck’s take on all the Paris info you just gotta have!
Chez LouLou — because her images and descriptions of the south of France are so captivating.
For more Francophile blogs, check out Polly’s blogroll on http://pollyvousfrancais.blogspot.com