• Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Really French? An Interview with Anne, ex-pat in France, working @LeFrenchBook


Eiffel Tower Unconventional Librarian

I’m beyond thrilled to present my new bestie Anne from Le French Book.com!  I have goaded persuaded Anne to tell us a bit about herself and how she found herself living in France.  And also? If berets are still en vogue.


Here’s what Anne had to say:

Just the other day, Pam asked readers of this blog if you love all things Paris and ever dreamed about living in France and eating baguettes and brie all day long. Well, let me tell you, if you are going to do that, get ready to enjoy the red wine too. And you had better hope you have the metabolism of a French woman, or to borrow a description from Lee Child’s The Affair, a metabolism like a nuclear reactor.

Do I sound like I’ve been there? I moved to France in 1985 with just those ideas of baguettes and brie in mind, and I never have been able to leave. A lot of people have these time-honored images of this country. I remember a picture from way way back in the day in what may have been a Time-Life book (or similar series) on France. It had a slightly hunched man, beret on his head, baguette under his arm, riding a bike down a tree-lined road in the middle of the countryside.

In the town where I now live in southwestern France, there is one of those roads, lined with tall plane trees all evenly spaced. But, those images need a little updating. Bikes are relegated to the bike lane, and every morning that road is back-to-back traffic (yes, with lots of Renaults and Peugeots). And berets are really passé here.

Over the years, I have learned that there is, in fact, much more to French culture to love.

  • For example, the French respect a certain amount of tradition, but also are very innovative. They had the interactive, real-time interconnected Minitel before any of the Internet was widely available.
  • They take a lot of vacation, but also rank among the most production nations (http://www.businessinsider.com/are-the-french-the-most-productive-people-in-the-world-2009-8).
  • You can spend three hours eating a single meal here, and still be talking about food at the end.
  • Ultimately, the French have a very unique sense of creativity that combines with pleasure seeking and a rather heightened concern for social justice.

And it is all of this that I wanted to share with people. So, I founded Le French Book (http://www.lefrenchbook.com). My idea was that people could get another view of France and experience it in another way through its entertaining, commercial fiction. We focus on translating the country’s crime fiction and thrillers into English. We also recently put out a really fun collection of short stories as well. They are still available for free in either a weekly or daily newsletter (http://www.52serialshorts.com). Our motto is “If we love it, we’ll translate it.”

I would love to hear back from readers about whether a book or a story has changed the way you perceive another place.

How wonderful is that?? This will be very helpful when I move to France to work at Shakespeare & Company bookstore.  I better brush up on my French.

How sad that the beret is passe?? Sad panda.

Baguettes are still en vogue though, so YAY!