Continuing my new obsession with all things Paris I recently finished re-reading Almost French by Sarah Turnbull. In a nutshell the book is the memoir of an Australian journalist who meets a French man while travelling in Europe and ends up moving to Paris to live with him and continue their relationship together.
I had read the book when it first came out a few years ago and I remember enjoying it then even though I had never been to Paris (or even overseas at all) at that time. I have always loved to read stories by people who have picked up their whole life and moved to another country for adventures - it is a not so secret dream of mine to do the same one day and has been since I was young. My friends had photos of pop stars and actors on their walls and I had photos of my far away dream destinations such as New York and Rome.
So, Almost French was a book I was always going to be drawn to - although I think I enjoyed reading it even more the second time after having now been to Paris (however briefly!) myself.
The author is taking a year off from her job with a television station in Australia to travel around Europe and think about where she would like to head next in her career - and life in general. Then she meets Frederic and her plans are pretty much decided for her - the initial spark they feel for each other turns into something more and Sarah moves to Paris to live with him and start a life there. The unique "Aussieness" of the author is a positive in this book for me - I felt I could connect with her stories about home and how different Paris was to her hometown of Sydney in so many ways - and how that impacted on her transition to living and working in the French capital - but also about how she was able to fall in love with her new home:
I used to marvel at Sydney Harbour too, whenever I saw it. Sparkling blue carves the city with coves and inlets; it's a wonder of nature. But somehow in Paris the feeling of being awe-struck is even stronger. Perhaps because it is still relatively new to me or perhaps because it somehow seems preposterous that such beauty could be created by people. The city is a testament to civilisation. Of course, I know from the last year that living in a gorgeous environment isn't enough to make you happy. But breathtaking beauty of any kind is moving. It makes tourists of us all. It anchors your heart to a place. Just like Sydney Harbour, the wonderful sights of Paris inspire emotion, yes, even love.
Sarah talks about the different aspects of her life that she now has to re-learn in the French way, working, dinner parties, pets, fashion and families and relationships to name a few. I really enjoyed this book as an insight into one Australian woman's experience of Paris and the life she created there.