SHE says (in 2004)…

ReneeSince childhood, I have had a dream to live in France. I loved the sound of the language, and as I grew and learned more; the painting, the music and of course the food and wine, filled my understanding of the country.I became a good cook and followed the paths of Julia Child, Waverly Root and other writer s of French cuisine. I began to paint and admired the French Impressionists and Post Impressionists. I copied Cezanne’s paintings for practice.When I was able, I traveled to France as often as I could. I studied the language in High School and then from time to time on my own prior to traveling there. I spent a month in a house in Province in St. Remy, close to the place where Van Gogh spent his last years. I now study with a French woman who lives, as do I, in the California wine country.I’m now 71 and after the engagement from afar, my husband and I have decided to live in France for a period. It is a commitment based on the possibility that we may want to spend a part of every year in France and the other part at our home in Sonoma County, Californial.I am retired from my professional work but now have the time to go after the things I’ve always wanted to do. I can paint, sing,travel, cook, and spend the time it takes to learn another language. I have made friends in many parts of the world and the U.S. and I expect to see them during my stay in Paris. Everyone wants to get to Paris.The acme of my French language engagement is my enrolling in the Institut de Francais in Villefranche-sur-mer. I will be there for a month October 27 to November 23. My husband will meet me at the end of the month and we will drive together to Paris, stopping off along the way to visit good friends in Provence and Burgundy.My wish is to arrive in Paris, fluent and confident, prepared to spend the winter and early Spring months walking the streets, admiring the buildings, visiting museums we have visited before but now with time to go back.I will go to churches and listen to music, as I have done each time I’ve visited. I have already reserved tickets for the opera starting in November and extending through May. Opera is one of our loves.I have plans for people to visit me throughout the stay. I look forward to better knowing the food and regional cuisine’s as I shop and cook from the remarkable markets around me in the 6th arrondisement.I have one desire: to know France from the inside.P.S. After one week at Institut de Francais I am humbled. I hope to leave here with a better understanding of the language and how deeply it is connected to the culture. This project will take much more than one month. Bien sur!