petite anglaise

July 5, 2005


Filed under: city of light, mills & boon — petiteanglaiseparis @ 3:59 pm

I have a phobia about walking into bars on my own.

The painfully shy teenage girl who lurks somewhere inside, squinting anxiously out at the world through National Health glasses, takes control of my body in situations of stress.

I phoned, still a few minutes away on foot, and checked precisely where he was. That was the first time we heard each other’s voices.

At the entrance to the bar I took a deep, ragged breath and forced my reluctant legs to carry me forward, past clusters of strangers positioned at intervals along the zinc bar. His friends spotted me first, and smiled welcomingly; he was standing with his back to me, but saw the change in his friends’ expressions, and turned. I think I said his name, and mumbled something about how his hair was shorter than on the pictures I had seen. But the first few seconds are all a bit of a blur.

I know now what was going through his mind when he first saw me, but at the time I was blissfully ignorant, and thought I was probably a bit foolish to have attached such an inordinate amount of importance to this meeting.

Later that evening, the fact that there was a knee-weakeningly strong connection between us was acknowledged, but not acted upon. I will remember standing on the corner of the rue Oberkampf for the rest of my life, my whole being in turmoil, struggling desperately to come to a decision. His arms were wrapped around me and I clung on for dear life while a million conflicting thoughts swirled, slightly drunkenly, around in my head. I motioned to a taxi, which drew to a halt on the opposite side of the road, and, even then, I didn’t know whether good sense and morality would prevail, and I would clamber into it on my own, or whether I would give in to the demon perched on my shoulder, whispering in my ear that I should sieze the opportunity. Go back to his hotel, or forever rue the day.

Finally, I broke free and flung myself into the taxi, before I could change my mind. As it pulled away, I looked back in anguish. Would I allow myself to see him again? Would I ever find out how it felt to be kissed by him?

I knew that this meeting could potentially alter the entire course of my life, if only I chose to let it.


  1. I hope that my life is this interesting when I live in Paris, only a month to go! Still enjoying your blogs very much. Will continue to read when I get to Paris…

    Comment by Anne — July 5, 2005 @ 4:56 pm

  2. Less interesting. More traumatic. I don’t envy you the decision you had to make there as it carried a lot of responsibility with it. (I’m not being judgemental btw. Just observing it must have been very uncomfortable for you.)

    Comment by Ahgasi — July 5, 2005 @ 5:05 pm

  3. I say, Petite, you will give it to us at least in daily installments now I hope. We are all agog for the treat.
    Ah, this first phase of young love – if one could have it all over again …. Best wishes!

    Comment by Angel — July 5, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

  4. Reading that has sent shivers down my spine. That intense connection, that strength of feeling could never be denied (if it had you would have spent the rest of your life looking back and wondering…what if?). It can also be disorientating and confusing, but in a good way.

    I remember that connection and disorientation – it happened to me over six years ago and is still there, just as powerful, just as intense, and no longer so disorientating.

    Comment by Aaron — July 5, 2005 @ 5:41 pm

  5. God, I hope my life is ever this interesting.. Paris or not.

    You’re going to have to put this in book form, Petite. “A Blogging French Love Affair” or something.. It would sell like hotcakes!

    Comment by theinsider — July 5, 2005 @ 5:43 pm

  6. theinsider read my mind. i was thinking the exact same thing as i read the last two posts.

    Comment by typegirl — July 5, 2005 @ 5:56 pm

  7. Petite, this reminded me of a short film by Laurent King, which my husband set music to (Laurent is a french/american filmmaker living and working in Paris and this particular film is set right in the heart of Paris). if you’re interested you can see it

    It’s lovely….

    Comment by trine — July 5, 2005 @ 7:48 pm

  8. *sigh*

    Comment by christina — July 5, 2005 @ 8:16 pm

  9. I’ve wondered from time to time whether this might not be a trial plot for some strange new BBC soap (“East Bankers”? “West Bankers” is too susceptible to the foibles of the Reverend Spooner).

    I mean no disrespect; the evidence is against it (too interesting, too well written).

    But I confess that I cranked up the mapping on the PC this evening because I had no idea where Rennes is. Caught up enough to want to find out. How sad is that? :-)

    Comment by j4bberw0ck — July 5, 2005 @ 8:24 pm

  10. Trine.. that’s a beautiful film and wonderful music.

    Comment by theinsider — July 5, 2005 @ 8:29 pm

  11. The wonderful and terrible thing thing about real love is what it does to us. Knowing my boyfriend is only a scant 3 hours away but unreachable due to my work schedule this week has left me cranky and sad. Cry all you like, but remember how it feels to kiss him after a long absence–almost makes it worth it.

    Comment by Leslie — July 5, 2005 @ 8:40 pm

  12. Wow! Trine thanks for sharing that, it’s really gorgeous. I love the shot at the end as the camera pulls away from the balcony across the rooftops.

    Seeing Paris through that director’s eyes almost makes me appreciate it all over again…

    Comment by petite — July 5, 2005 @ 9:03 pm

  13. Ugh, I have been meaning to add you to my “Must Read” list… this was so good petite. We. MUST. HAVE. MORE.

    Don’t keep us waiting to long!

    Comment by eddo — July 5, 2005 @ 9:34 pm

  14. okay, I added you to my blog roll – sorry so late in doing so.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Comment by eddo — July 5, 2005 @ 9:37 pm

  15. Hi,
    I am not a newcomer at all, the proof is I have already added petiteanglaise to my blog list which isn’t very long at all for the moment. I won’t distinguish myself by saying I enjoy reading your posts. However, I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this one, maybe because there isn’t so much suspens since we know the end of the story – almost. I think you have to get used to receiving some harsh and slightly unfair critics time to time for having accustomed theavid readers to such a high quality writing. C’est la rançon du suucès ;)

    Comment by Animal politique — July 5, 2005 @ 10:34 pm

  16. Ah well, AP, the timing is really more a question of sensitivity. If I had written about it in real time, it would have been disrespectful to Mr Frog, to say the least.

    I write for my own pleasure, and that post is one I’ve long looked forward to writing.

    And the most interesting thing to come out of it is that the man in question says he had no idea of what I was contemplating, and indeed would have talked me out of it if he had known…

    The mark of a true gentleman.

    Comment by petite — July 5, 2005 @ 11:26 pm

  17. This isn’t intended as a criticism of Petite, more an observation of the blogosphere. I can understand writing about your personal life online. What I find strange is the way that it turns into a kind of soap opera. I’m getting that vibe off the comments rather than petite’s posts. It’s very odd. All a bit Big Brother really. What a strange society we live in.

    Comment by Ahgasi — July 6, 2005 @ 12:57 am

  18. I don’t read this blog because it’s namely PA’s life into which I want to delve and explore, Big Brother style; I read it because it’s a well-executed, real-time account of a woman in a situation not too different from the one in which I anticipate being some time in the near future.

    So don’t worry, PA – I won’t be expecting any ‘naked challenges’ or ‘immunity idol contests’ to be aired any time soon. ;-)

    Comment by ludivine — July 6, 2005 @ 1:26 am

  19. i don’t read blogs.
    i simply read Petite.

    her turn of phrase turns my head.

    beautifully said, as always. my thanks.

    Comment by monody — July 6, 2005 @ 4:12 am

  20. It seems to me that *this* particlar post is written with one particular blog reader in mind. It must be very flattering for him to read. I can’t help feeling a little voyeuristic though, as though I’m reading someone else’s private love letters. Weird, as I’ve never had a problem with reading about petite’s life before.

    Comment by suziboo — July 6, 2005 @ 7:55 am

  21. It’s funny, if you look at my earliest posts, they were not personal at all. Then I took a leap – talking about marriage one day, and then another, talking about adoption, and suddenly the floodgates opened and it became less about Paris than about petite anglaise herself.

    I don’t intend to divulge every aspect of my new relationship. But you are right, Suziboo, it *was* written with one reader in mind.

    Comment by petite — July 6, 2005 @ 8:21 am

  22. I love soap operas — come on Petite when are you going to tell us who it is? Will you invice us to the wedding or PACS party? Or the housewarming? : ) : )

    Comment by magillicuddy — July 6, 2005 @ 11:25 am

  23. oops — invite, invice you know what I mean…

    Comment by magillicuddy — July 6, 2005 @ 11:26 am

  24. very nice. thanks for letting us in.

    Comment by mainja — July 6, 2005 @ 11:34 am

  25. On the soap opera thread – I suppose blogging is just another way of structuring narrative. This isn’t petite’s ‘real’ life (well, not all of it), just the edited highlights. Unlike BB, the camera isn’t on all the time. Which is why I read petite rather than watch BB!

    Comment by vicki — July 6, 2005 @ 11:38 am

  26. well, we are getting somewhere interesting here… Because first times are always interesting and I wonder Petite, if in this particular case, you’ll be eager to tell us about other first times with ze man… ? :)

    Comment by stephan — July 6, 2005 @ 11:40 am

  27. he he

    Don’t be *rude*, I’m not girl with a one track mind!

    Comment by petite — July 6, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

  28. not rude… just curious ;)

    Comment by stephan — July 6, 2005 @ 2:11 pm

  29. I think it’s great that you’re ready to share, petite, and I like your fresh perspective and easy-read style. You make it sound like such breathless moments could happen to us all.

    I note that you didn’t comment on the stinky taxi driver – that would have spoiled the moment, I know.

    Comment by Gab — July 6, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

  30. Yeah, and after the book there’s the film, where PA will be have to be played by some American like Gwyneth Paltrow who’ll do an almost authentic accent. But who, oh who, will play Mr Blueshorts?

    Comment by Parkin Pig — July 6, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

  31. Help! I *hate* Gwyneth Paltrow! Absolutely not.

    The role of petite will be played by Cate Blanchett, and as for my lover, I think I’d better consult him about that.

    Comment by petite — July 6, 2005 @ 2:58 pm

  32. On the soap opera theme….Since I first started reading Petite in April, her posts gave gone from being similar to the Idependant’s Our Man in Paris column, albeit with nice British- Mum-in-Paris touches such as Heat reading and Tadpole rearing, to this much more personal account of her life. And why is it so addictive? Detail on politics and sociology of Paris but saucy anecdotes too. Juicier than Eastenders and as unputdownable (un-turn-offable?) as chick lit but much better written and all true! Of course it’s going to be fab!
    PS That sexy Damien Lewis for Blue Shorts please. A real gent, very erudite English, and would sweep a girl off her feet. Am I on track, Petite?

    Comment by Flighty — July 6, 2005 @ 3:04 pm

  33. The film, the score… works of art. Beautiful.

    Petite… a work of art. Beautiful.

    My compliments to the artists.

    Comment by Ronica — July 6, 2005 @ 9:33 pm

  34. Speechless and in awe

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — July 7, 2005 @ 10:24 am

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