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I came across this sweatshirt online a few days ago, and I WANT IT. (And would probably get it, if it weren’t £95.) I am an avid lover of all things French.

sweatshirt

I starting studying the language in seventh grade, and continued all the way through senior year of college. It helped to have a grandma whose first language was French, and who had a 6-inch-thick bilingual dictionary that she’d haul out when I did particularly complicated homework assignments. (She also provided me with boxfuls of postcards and photos that would get pasted on many a poster board presentation over the course of my middle and high school career.)

I racked up quite a collection of knick-knacks – the “Paris, je t’aime” t-shirt, the necklace holder shaped like the Eiffel Tower, children’s books written in French. I even babysat for a French family in town and loved practicing my vocabulary with the bilingual babes (“Tony Chestnut” en français, anyone?). I was SO excited to participate in a two-week exchange program with a sister classroom in France, but by the time I reached junior year of high school, it was 2002 and all school-sponsored foreign travel was cancelled.

In college, I studied abroad in Paris for six months, and my love affair was cemented. It didn’t matter that I was a poor student — baguettes cost 10 cents and wine was the cheapest drink around. I did a lot of walking, of sitting and sipping café au lait, and of visiting all the landmarks with the myriad friends and family members who came to visit. Just thinking of it now makes me so nostalgic. When I make it back (we’re hoping for a trip in June) I wonder how things will have changed — and more to the point, how noticeable it will be that I have changed. I’ve now lived in New York for almost five years. I’m graduated, married and working full time, making me older, more mature, and with more of an appreciation for the free time I took for granted throughout college.

Will I still see things with a sense of wonder? Will I think Paris is the absolute most romantic and enlightened place I’ve ever been? Will I maybe even like it more, with my altered perspective, my larger bank account, and the love of my life by my side?

What I know is that I’m still a francophile at heart. I can’t wait to eat a few nutella crepes and take in a Paris sunset from the peaks of Montmartre.

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go? Have you been to Paris?

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