petite anglaise

September 15, 2006


Filed under: city of light, working girl — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:34 pm

We take a seat at an outdoor table in front of Le Panier – a quirky little café on the Place St Marthe – and a contented sigh escapes me. What bliss to take some time away from the computer, which dominates my living room, my bedroom, my life. The Place St Marthe is a perfect place for playing “spot the bobo” and basking in the last rays of the summer.

The proprietor sets down a carafe of water, two glasses and a menu, taking a seat by my side. My mouth twitches with suppressed mirth. I have been here before and I know from experience that he is a rather larger than life character, who often pauses to sit by his bemused patrons talking surreal nonsense until he gets bored, moves on in search of new prey. Today he is dressed in white and blue striped cotton pyjama bottoms and a scruffy t-shirt. I wonder idly whether he is going commando and peer discreetly down to see what footwear he has chosen to accessorise this charming ensemble.

“The specials today are blanquette de veau with mascarpone, sauté d’agneau and a mushroom tart,” he says, giving me an odd sidelong glance which I find impossible to read. “Personally I don’t recommend the mushroom tart, it’s not up to much…” I wonder whether this is a skillful reverse advertising strategy. If not, my overwhelming desire to order the tart is simply a reflection of my own perverse nature. In the end though, I decide against it, as I scan down the menu and something else takes my fancy.

My friend – so traumatised by our last near miss that he insisted upon picking me up today on his scooter to avoid a repeat performance – quizzes me about all the surreal things which have been going on of late and then we fall silent for a while, savouring the tender souris d’agneau (I’m very vague about cuts of meat, in French, but I’m reliably informed that no mice were involved in the preparation of this meal) which falls away from the bone and melts in my mouth.

We order dessert, coffee, a beer, whiling away the afternoon until it is time for me to collect Tadpole from school. As I draw close to the throng of waiting mothers around the doorway, I reflect on how privileged I feel, right now. If things had been different, I would still be scurrying to the office every morning, never sure what kind of atmosphere would reign. A stranger would pick up Tadpole from school in the afternoons, and mind her until I got home. I would brave the rush hour métro twice a day.

Instead, I pad through my apartment barefoot, clad in my favourite jeans and power up the computer. I take a break when I feel I’ve earned one, or when my head becomes dull and heavy and words no longer flow. Grabbing a book from the pile, I head for the Parc de Belleville, sit cross-legged in the grass, my hair ruffled by a gentle breeze.

Every day I pass the steps where a plaque reads:

“Sur les marches de cette maison, naquit dans le plus grand dénuement celle dont la voix, plus tard, allait bouleverser le monde”

A song echoes in my head. I regret nothing.


  1. Do you mean Edith Piaf? And was she literally born on the steps outside the house????
    Excuse my ignorance.

    Comment by Sablonneuse — September 15, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  2. To regret nothing is a very rewarding sensation. Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us.

    Comment by BlondebutBright — September 15, 2006 @ 1:51 pm

  3. Oh… Spotting bobos is one of my most favorite games. …Is it bad that I aspire to be a bobo one day?

    Comment by Emily — September 15, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

  4. Sounds absolutely wonderful… Enjoy!

    Comment by Clare — September 15, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

  5. Bonjour Petite!

    Tell me, are you liking the new quartier of Belleville?

    You should write a post about it! There are many french people who read your very entertaining blog too!

    Comment by anne — September 15, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

  6. Sometimes when you seem to be dozing through life, you need something to to awaken you, something to shock you from the slumbers of lifes routine, and force you down a different path, one that you would never have thought of taking, but one that ironically takes you to a better place.
    You are sounding happier now than for a long time, good for you.

    Comment by David — September 15, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

  7. I’m so jealous of your life, i’ve dreamt of living in Paris since I first went when i was 9. Oh to have the heart of Edith Piaf to say that you regret nothing!

    Comment by Louisa — September 15, 2006 @ 2:24 pm

  8. Paris is so lovely, can’t wait to go in November. You’re right , don’t regret things….

    Comment by heather — September 15, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

  9. Aha, thought so! This tells me all I need to know. Cool, very cool. :-)

    Comment by mike — September 15, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

  10. Edith Piaf.
    It is well known that she was in fact born in the “Hôpital Tenon” not too far away from her house.
    Edith piaf was not only a poignant singer but she also liked to make her life greater than it was (even though there is really no need for it).
    She lived in this house as a child and claimed that she was born on the very threshold.
    The “plaque” was put up there according to her claims after she died, it was later revealed that the myth didn’t match with the hospital registers, but, I guess out of respect or mere carelessness from the city hall, it remained.

    Comment by bennett — September 15, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

  11. petite, you’re going to have your readers dying to be dooced and join in your new lifestyle !

    heather: I’m afraid November is not the nicest time of year to visit Paris. The upside is, if you like it in November you’ll absolutely adore it when you come back in May…

    Comment by ontario frog — September 15, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

  12. Hi Petite,
    I saw you on The Richard & Judy Show alongtime ago and I have finally found your Blog. Which I have found to be, a fantastic insight into another fascinating female point of view World, totally Alien to my own. You keep on living Life and valuing what you have. Don’t end up like a Stereophonic Album(You Goto Go There to Come Back).

    Take good care of yourself and enjoy the moment of Freedom.

    Comment by Chris — September 15, 2006 @ 3:48 pm

  13. So, what’s the first project? What’s it about? How is it going? Hopefully no writer’s block for you, EVER!

    I am pleased life is good and hope it continues to be!

    Comment by Karma — September 15, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

  14. I am glad that you are enjoying your new life! Being independent is exhilirating but one most (alas) have some discipline. It sounds like you have it!

    And then, one has to get out every now and then and see the world outside.

    If you get to Toulouse you must go to the “Au Pois Gourmand” restaurant (my post where the owner, although I don’t describe him that much, is similar to the one from your café.

    What you say about no regrets is great and something that I sometimes forget to think.

    Comment by Lost in France — September 15, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  15. there is no point in regret, it distracts you from the now.

    Comment by Lux Lisbon — September 15, 2006 @ 4:50 pm

  16. Regret is a pointless emotion.

    Good for you!

    Comment by stressqueen — September 15, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

  17. Ontario frog – I used to live/work in Paris, so I love to go back as often as I can. Reading this blog always brings back lots of happy memories of my time there.

    Comment by heather — September 15, 2006 @ 5:19 pm

  18. To regret nothing must be sheer bliss, I envy you.

    Comment by John — September 15, 2006 @ 5:46 pm

  19. “On the steps of this house, in the greatest destitution that was born of which the voice, later, was going to upset the world.”

    BabelFish does not, I think, like this construction.
    (No, not the house, the syntax…)

    I rather tend to agree.

    Love the alfresco ambiance, reminds me of Ceret. Ceret can’t compete of course, with only a brief passing acquaintance of a few painters – Picasso, Matisse, Derain and others I can’t remember. Don’t think plaqueworthy people are ever born there and there’s far too much Catalan pride around to allow doorstep deliveries. But the cafes are interesting, and the mountains…

    Comment by Andrew — September 15, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  20. Je viens de découvrir votre bijou de blog et je n’ai qu’une chose à dire : merci ! C’est comme un bon roman, subtil, drôle, je suis accroc …

    Comment by Anne — September 15, 2006 @ 6:51 pm

  21. Good for you!

    Only wish I could come into Paris more often and enjoy the sights and the sounds, instead I could walk the few minutes to the countryside, but it seems the l’été indien est terminé and I would just get wet and muddy.

    Definately mushroom weather today…

    Safely inside mucking about with my images site…

    It’s at times like this I’m glad there is the internet.

    Comment by Braunstonian — September 15, 2006 @ 6:54 pm

  22. Petite,
    You never fail to bring me right back. The smells, sights and sounds.
    Thank you so much for sharing. You are the next best thing to being there.

    Comment by Mad William — September 15, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

  23. je ne regrette rien

    and we are, oh, so jealous: parisian life, working from home, bistrot food and the chestnut trees lining the boulevards

    Comment by Loxias — September 15, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

  24. Wonderful, your joie de vivre is shining through your writing, it’s quite infectious. It’s a great thing to be able to say that you have no regrets, very liberating, I’ve always thought they were a complete waste of time, anyway. I’m glad you’re so happy.

    Comment by Susannah — September 15, 2006 @ 7:23 pm

  25. Sounds to me like you’ve created the ideal “writer’s life” for yourself – well done!. I know how great it is, being able to do what you like with your days, to schedule something or not to schedule it as you choose, and to enjoy being in the world and of the world instead of just ON it as part of the “commuter culture”. I left that life behind 8 years ago. Now I’m going to continue the next phase in Paris – my dream!

    Comment by The Bold Soul — September 15, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

  26. All things happen for a reason and usually for your betterment. I hope that you can continue to live life with no regrets — after all, this life we have is no dress rehearsal.

    Comment by zen g — September 15, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

  27. Sounds great. I’m so jealous.

    I believe a souris d’agneau in English is a (very handy for rhyming slang)lamb shank .

    Comment by kjr — September 15, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

  28. Mike is correct. This post says more than meets the eye, and much that we all wanted to know. It shall all be worth it, in the end. You’ll see. Congratulations,,,,,,you give us normal, boring people hope!

    Comment by beaunejewels — September 15, 2006 @ 8:15 pm

  29. “The computer, which dominates my living room, my bedroom, my life.”

    By the way, do you do regular backups ? Losing your computer (failure, theft, fire, …) would be bad news I guess …

    Comment by Yogi — September 15, 2006 @ 8:41 pm

  30. I agree that congratulations are in order Petite, regardless of how things may have come about you do sound very happy. I am thoroughly enjoying your slowly letting out the details and the wonderful way in which you tell the story. Keep it up…please :)

    Yes, souris d’agneau are lamb shanks. I laughed out loud at the line about the mice though!

    Comment by California Reader — September 15, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

  31. fjl,
    it seems to me that Andrew has a right to “make his sentiments known” too and that you are intellectualising this harmlessly “leger” post as much as any one else… or am I wrong ? Also I don’t think Petite is “drawing parallels about striking destinies”, this is a blog not a Barbara Bradford Taylor novel (& hopefully Petite is not that pretentious…)

    Comment by Kate — September 15, 2006 @ 9:41 pm

  32. I’m always amused at the layers of meaning people can find in things. If it makes me look like I was trying to do something clever, I’ll ride with it. But pretentious? Er, I just tripped over some famous steps and noticed a plaque I’d been walking past for weeks, oblivious. I’m certainly not trying to draw parallels between myself and Piaf..

    Comment by petite — September 15, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

  33. Paris is a tomb

    Comment by Trevor — September 15, 2006 @ 9:59 pm

  34. Re: #36 and #37:

    A HA HA HA!!!
    I LOVE this blog, and the comments just as much. I always get great amusement, because people prefer to be themselves here, all the kit and kabootle. It’s delightful. Thank you petiteanglaise for your gift to us all!

    Comment by eric — September 15, 2006 @ 10:08 pm

  35. @Andrew: I loved Céret with its small town atmosphere and its wonderful little museum where you must take a sketching pad. And, it is so close to Collioure…. My one regret (if I may use that word again in the comments to this post …) is not going up to the cloisters in the Pyrénées nearby ….

    Comment by Lost in France — September 15, 2006 @ 10:17 pm

  36. I like the myth about Piaf being born right on those steps. I’ve never been able to figure out how much of this was true.
    Nice post. The conclusion reminds me of a Dixie Chicks’ song.

    Comment by pardonmyfrench — September 16, 2006 @ 1:05 am

  37. Perhaps a different Piaf song:

    heureuse malgre tout

    Comment by jim — September 16, 2006 @ 1:56 am

  38. Thank you Petite that’s exactly what I thought…

    Comment by Kate — September 16, 2006 @ 7:52 am

  39. PS. I love this blog too, it’s quite addictive ! continue comme ça !

    Comment by Kate — September 16, 2006 @ 8:04 am

  40. Petite, I am glad that I still have your blog to remind me of how I felt about Paris. I am back in Warsaw now, and I love it, but I have such a soft spot for the city of lights.
    I always liked Belleville, but I was very happy in my apartment in the fifth….sigh

    Comment by Anne — September 16, 2006 @ 8:12 am

  41. I hesitate to chide but just how do you think that sort of thing makes the rest of us feel Petite.
    Take my case. I know that hell has little sympathy with the academic bemoaning the September return but please.
    Here I am making maps of my rooms ever changing population. Individualising the general schemes. Grinding my way to next July and then…. then you rip me from my labour with a few smart words to a park on a warm September afternoon in the city of light.
    I beg you. Less of this!

    Comment by meredic — September 16, 2006 @ 11:51 am

  42. I know this feeling. Once I was in Shetland. i was a guest of De montfort university. (Jim, who appears on this blog), working on pollution levels in sea birds etc. We walked across the moors.Jim pointed out a Lark.. we watched it ascend through the mist, on the moors. It disappeared. We walked back to where we were camped. Jim put on Vaughn Williams ‘Lark Ascending” on a small cd player. All the scientists, and students listened to the music, without a word… the violin was exactly as the lark… We had a beer….

    i will never forget this moment. never since have I experienced classical music linked to the reality of the bird… as it was composed.

    Comment by simon — September 16, 2006 @ 1:22 pm

  43. Welcome to freedom! Remember to bookmark this snapshot of your life, when you’re working sixteen hours a day to meet a publisher’s deadline. Freedom is tricky that way. And pardon me for speaking in cliches but it seems a much brighter light has surfaced from your darker days. (pardon the cheese :)

    Comment by Sam — September 16, 2006 @ 2:36 pm

  44. Hey Petite:)

    I must say a lovely read (you make living in France so attractive and refreshing) have the rare writing skills which keep the reader hooked – well, me anyway(and judging by how popular your blog is, many more). Have you left your office job to become a fulltime author? You definitely have the talent, and i must admit i am envious of your office-free work environment(sigh, i’m still waiting for some enlightenment to free myself of the 9-5 shackles).

    imo, to have no regrets is like breathing in fresh air; full of life with nothing to lose! well done.

    Comment by E.A.L — September 16, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  45. The late Jospeh Campbell wrote the following:

    “The greatest sin is that of inadvertance, of not being quite awake.”

    Of course, he was referring to not being awake to the experience of being alive. I think that you have awakened Petite….You are on the pollen path……..

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — September 16, 2006 @ 4:44 pm

  46. Every liberty has its confinements. Having no regret is about ‘being here now’ – fully present to each experience no matter how good or bad …. the knowledge that this too shall pass, and the discovery of savouring each moment so that you have those beautiful memories, maximised to their fullest potential.
    And the ability to share the tone and quality of your experience with incredible depth, without baring your entire soul … so enticing.
    Thank you …..

    Comment by Cat — September 16, 2006 @ 5:01 pm

  47. Simon, that is such a coincidence, I’ve just been in a classical music shop buying Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (I’ve got tickets to see the opera at the theatre in December, so thought I would familiarise myself with it) and what should be playing in the shop but Lark Ascending. I commented to the shopkeeper how beautiful it was, that sounds like a very special memory you have of Shetland.

    Comment by Eleanor — September 16, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

  48. What is it about the last days of summer that makes us feel so energised and yet melancholy at the same time. I think we are loath to give up our carefree summer days and so cling on to the last remnants of the season with fervour before slipping into the darker days of fall and winter.

    I also think September is embedded in our minds as the month that heralds the dreaded start of the new school or college year and even if we have left those days behind long ago we never completely detach ourselves from the apprehension we felt at this time.

    But I completely agree regrets have no place in the heart of someone with an open mind who feels at ease with himself and the world.

    Comment by Mark — September 16, 2006 @ 9:34 pm

  49. Just wanted to say that I am really enjoying your writing and its extremely refreshing. I found your blog through the Radio4 program “Meet the bloggers”.
    I notice that you were reading “On Beauty” by Zadie Smith. I am currently reading that novel at the moment and was wondering what you thought of it?

    Comment by Laura — September 16, 2006 @ 10:41 pm

  50. I know this comment is not as meaningful as the other ones, but I was wondering, what WAS the cafe proprietors chosen footwear?

    Comment by Whisper — September 16, 2006 @ 11:00 pm

  51. I’d love to be in any cafe in Paris right now. Glad I found your blog. It’s super cute!

    Comment by Jessica — September 17, 2006 @ 1:28 am

  52. ;)

    Comment by Roderick — September 17, 2006 @ 1:57 am

  53. Simon,

    De Montfort Uni as in Leicester campus?

    Comment by Braunstonian — September 17, 2006 @ 2:22 am

  54. Comment 54. Eleanor. yes it is a beautiful work. To enjoy it after slushing through the moors in the windsweep isles was incredible. (I will not bore you with the circumstances, its not my place here). But that feeling Petite had:- Quote “I regret nothing”. Is SO true. It was a better moment then than singing opera, or recording etc etc… And one I will treasure. Its almost as if moments like this occur by “accident”…. . I have friends i will treasure for a long time as a result. :o)

    Petite, you are not pretentious. Others probably have not experienced it thats all…

    Comment by simon — September 17, 2006 @ 2:28 am

  55. Mark’s posted comment (#55) concerning the September mood Petite Anglaise describes so well is in my opinion spot on. We never escape that ‘back to school’ feeling, however far behind us school or college may be. I think the French articulate this best of all with the concept of the ‘rentrée’.

    Comment by Malcolm Thomson — September 17, 2006 @ 7:38 am

  56. Gotta love the French. Piaf is not just a raspy voice with fine lyrics and a interesting life-story, no no, she apparently had ‘une voix qui allait bouleverser le monde’. Not France, not French-speaking Europe, le monde. Have to agree with Trevor, Paris never did it for me.
    There is a line in Heart of Darkness that describes Brussels as a whited sepulchre. Always thought that description fitted the city of lights equally well.

    Comment by denke — September 17, 2006 @ 11:12 am

  57. There is definitely something magical about this time of year, the quality of light is so exquisite and life enhancing…all this nostalgia brings to mind a line from Shakespeare…”And summers lease hath all too short a date.”

    But, let’s not forget, autumn brings it’s own special moments too. In fact, I’m looking forward to it already.

    Comment by Susannah — September 17, 2006 @ 11:14 am

  58. fjl,
    Montand has disappeared. Except for “La Folie des Grandeurs”, you won’t see or hear him in the french medias. The main reason of this “banishment” is the killing by himself, after Simone’s death, of what he (they) represented in people’s mind: an awaken dream.
    But he was The Voice, and he could be as well a great dramatic actor (Z), or hilarious (Le Diable par la queue). An real entertainer, politically commited.
    I don’t forget those pictures where you can see him and Simone having lunch with Marilyn and Miller in a summit meeting. You can feel a certain tension.
    By the way, that’s a really nice post, Petite, enjoy, enjoy.

    Comment by 4 roses — September 17, 2006 @ 11:17 am

  59. Petite. I liked the tripping over plaque thing, then you get analysed for it. My brother in law is an addiction councellor, aka (recovering alcaholic). I smoke and enjoy the odd drunken evening. After once again being analysed by him for an hour about my underlying addiction problems, angrily I suggest he is addicted to telling people what is wrong with them. “Picked at a scab, have I, and drawn blood” says he with a smug smile. I realise I will never win, and reach for the packet of Marlborough and the port bottle. I hate bullies.

    Comment by Bostonian — September 17, 2006 @ 11:26 am

  60. ‘rien de rien’ I don’t feel that regret is all that useless – tends to stop you from making the same mistake twice – only bad if you are unable to forgive yourself once the lesson’s learnt.

    Comment by j — September 17, 2006 @ 11:29 am

  61. Making the same mistake twice can be fun,j.

    Seize the day.

    Comment by Graham — September 17, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

  62. denke, Piaf ‘s voice is a knife blade. Life itself, and made for the heart (the body). But she sang in another world, and I understand it might be strange or unpleasant for today’s ears, when streets singers have disappeared and TV singers speak to the brain (she used to be famous all over the world).

    Comment by 4 roses — September 17, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

  63. Eleanor, I know Purcell’s D.& A. well. In fact I requested on Classic FM for the Witches’ Chorus to be played for my ex-wife on the anniversary of our divorce. Runcible, or what?

    Comment by Jim — September 17, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

  64. Your OP left me yearning for the life that allows working barefoot and lunching leisurely as research. The comments are even more interesting, and I’m not sure I understand anyone’s need to disparage what another chooses to post online. Frankly, the comment that started the little bit of brouhaha, zoomed right over my head. I do agree with j that regrets are important in that they help us improve, but mostly would like to thank Simon for recalling The Lark Ascending for me. I doubt that anyone could forget their first time hearing that beauty.

    Comment by Sophmom — September 17, 2006 @ 5:37 pm

  65. Every time I drive past the house where I was brought up the song “Days” by the Kinks runs through my head.

    Comment by Ellen — September 17, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

  66. Comment 60. Braunstonian.. Yes thats the De Monfort campus. :o)
    Comment 69. Jim, that was quite runcible for sure!

    Comment by simon — September 18, 2006 @ 12:04 am

  67. Ah, how lovely!

    Wonderful to know things are going well for you. I’m feeling similarly blessed, just in time for my return to work in six weeks’ time!

    Comment by Clare — September 18, 2006 @ 12:30 am

  68. Oh to be in Paris with a Pastis in my hand watching the world go by.

    Comment by Tom — September 18, 2006 @ 1:22 am

  69. Thank you for this post, PA. I recently walked past the same house this summer on the way to dinner with friends at Le Baratin in the 20eme. Your evoking Piaf’s commemorative/historical plaque brought back lovely memories of a delightful dinner with friends, and also makes your posts that much more tangible to me. Cheers on the turn of events that is projecting you into writing full-time. I wonder if in the cathartic writing process, you are opening up more to us, your readers, and to yourself as well? Certainly it’s a bonus for Tadpole and your mother-daughter relationship. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Sara in Melun — September 18, 2006 @ 7:25 am

  70. Comment 70. Soph. Yes it is a beautiful work. The link to the “feeling” I had, seeing the bird for real, the link to the violin, how i ended up in Shetland… “i regret nothing” sums it up. :o)

    Comment by simon — September 18, 2006 @ 8:27 am

  71. Comment 71. Great song. :)

    Comment by Braunstonian — September 18, 2006 @ 11:25 am

  72. Comment 60.


    Ahhh… happy memories. I was at the Southfields College DMU campus on Mill Lane 1988-90. Of course it’s all changed now since I was there, I only get back to Leicester once a year if that…

    John (Essonne).

    Comment by Braunstonian — September 18, 2006 @ 11:27 am

  73. You thought you’d got away unscathed with that ‘going commando’ remark, didn’t you?

    Comment by Parkin Pig — September 18, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

  74. Well, I got nothing to say but that I like the French Alps.. and the Mont Ventoux.

    Comment by RadioMoskou — September 18, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

  75. Regretting nothing takes a lot of guts and laughter at oneself. Something that I’m trying to learn how to do. Thanks again for bringing together Paris bloggers IRL this spring, its a cherished memory that makes me feel a bit closer to your splendid writer’s life!

    I’d like to think that this entry is a blink to my blog…

    Comment by Kajsa — September 18, 2006 @ 2:51 pm

  76. Sorry – but what’s a bobo?

    Comment by Pauline — September 18, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

  77. Pauline: Follow the link to wikipedia or check it in french.

    Comment by Sam — September 18, 2006 @ 5:16 pm

  78. Bonjour paresse! :)

    Comment by xlewis — September 18, 2006 @ 6:30 pm

  79. “I regret nothing”,
    yes, including making a child to a man and love this man during ten years (I agree, i feel the same, I regret nothing, never, always) so sometimes it will be more difficult to resume your state of mind with three words. I think also that nobody’s judging you except some …
    Nous sommes les artisans de nos propres tourments. En amour je ne sais pas vraiment s’il y a des “bons” et des “mauvais” choix

    Comment by P — September 18, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

  80. Sounds wonderfull!
    I wish I was there, one day…

    I think things will work out fine. They always work out for the best in the end. We just dont see it that way until we get there.

    Bonne Journee

    Comment by Melissa — September 18, 2006 @ 7:39 pm

  81. Simon,
    Of course Petite is not pretentious, the whole point is she is not, as I pointed out. It is quite funny though, the whole “légereté” of this post was quickly weighted down by sandbags of Thinking !

    Comment by Kate — September 18, 2006 @ 7:40 pm

  82. Ellen, I saw Ray Davies at the Colston Hall last year, he’s amazing.

    Comment by some weirdo — September 18, 2006 @ 9:11 pm

  83. Petite, lovely state of mind to be in, when you find yourself accepting the shite that has come your way as almost a gift. I’m with you. Life is great. Keep writing, Lisa

    Comment by Lisa — September 18, 2006 @ 10:57 pm

  84. Allow me to translate the French:

    “When the going gets tough, the French get surrendering.”

    Comment by Sir Pantsalot — September 19, 2006 @ 7:40 am

  85. Phew –

    Have just managed to read all your archives petite and have finally caught up.

    Love people watching in Paris. Incredibly envious of your new found freedom. Won’t be so envious when it starts raining and snowing – I always found France in the winter worse than London!

    Take care.

    Comment by Imogen — September 19, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

  86. @Lisa: at least you didn’t say “Life is Good”, an expression that sprung up in the States after my departure and that I last saw on a tee-shirt at the airport there.

    @Sir Pansalot: How soon we forget Napoleon, before Waterloo.

    Comment by Lost in France — September 19, 2006 @ 7:34 pm

  87. Why do I find that Winters are generally milder in the Paris area than back in the UK?

    Comment by Braunstonian — September 20, 2006 @ 1:08 am

  88. Tomorrow I’m off to the Pyrenees-Orientales on a ticket purchased for the price of a blackjack in my Suffolk village store.
    There’s a wonderful account of Ceret life, ‘le village’ as the locals call it, in Helen Stevenson’s ‘Instructions for Visitors: Life and Love in a French Town’. So revelatory is it that almost no local will admit to knowing what and who is in it.
    Poetically and incisively written, it repays the reader twice over.

    Comment by Andrew — September 21, 2006 @ 4:01 am

  89. FJL asked me to remove her comments from this post. I reluctantly complied, and I’m sorry if it makes a nonsense of many other comments which were in response to fjl’s.

    In future, I would ask commenters to think carefully before they post a comment as I don’t want to have to make a habit of this.

    Comment by petite — September 22, 2006 @ 9:01 am

  90. Thanks Petite. x Sometimes there is a misunderstanding of meaning, and it’s no one’s fault.

    Comment by fjl — September 22, 2006 @ 4:28 pm

  91. Regrettably I am now all the more curious to know what FJL said that she so badly needed redacted…how perverse I am.

    Comment by Emma — September 22, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

  92. Emma, I think you are about as perverse as me, approximately speaking.

    Comment by Sarah — September 23, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

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