one day I will leave Paris …

One day I will leave Paris, and when I do there are places I will miss terribly.

The problem with being an expatriate is that eight times out of ten your fellow expat friends eventually return home. This happened to many of my friends. Angela returned to Glasgow. Alice moved on to Geneva. Sherry moved back to London. Ffion moved back to northern Wales. Maya moved back to London (and then died.) My ex-fiancé moved up to Lille. It’s almost as if Paris was a parenthesis for them, an interlude in which to learn the language, meet interesting people and have wildly exciting adventures before pulling out and settling down to a ‘real’ life back home or in another city.

But what’s a ‘real’ life? Is my life less real because I stayed? And why am I still here? This is indeed food for thought which prompted me to write my memoir, due out in a few months. It was necessary for me to trace the trajectory of my life in order to understand why I’m still living in Paris when it was not at all my intention to do so. I come from a beautiful country (Canada) where I had lived a beautiful life. It was a given, and was indeed my plan, to one day go home.

But things happened after the deaths of my parents in the 1990s – drastic, unexpected and unforgivable things on the part of one single malevolent person: a family member (with the complicity of her husband and corrupt lawyers.) The end result is that I no longer wanted to return home.

They say many things about writing memoir: it’s like an exorcism; an excavation site; an “autopsy of the living and the dead.” That last simile is a quote from Kate Braverman, intrepid American poet-novelist who recently died.

It’s been an interesting ride, this memoir-writing. It unearths all sorts of things.

One day I will leave Paris, and when I do there are places I will miss terribly. Here are some favorite shopping and lunch places that I know for sure I will miss –

6 thoughts on “one day I will leave Paris …

    • Yes, I do have an interesting story to tell, Cordy. My story is FAR from the classic “girl-moves-to-Paris-and-meets-a-Frenchman-and-lives-happily-ever-after.” Not at all like that. Thanks for commenting, have a great weekend.

  1. Dear Juliet,

    I’ve looked forward to and enjoyed your posts for a long time. I would love to read your book when it’s published. Thank you for “taking me with you” through France (and beyond) via your vivid, excellent writing. I have studied French, am a self-professed Francophile but have not yet travelled there.

    Merci beaucoup! Christine

  2. Hi from Northern Wales! So glad I found your blog after all these years – just what I need as a pick-me-up while we’re socially distancing at the moment. Keep in touch !

    • Ffion! My goodness, so nice to hear from you. You see, I haven’t forgotten you because I mentioned you in my blog post. How’s Dominic (Dominique) and the kids??? And how are YOU? Are you still living in that town with the unpronounceable name? I guess I don’t have to tell you what’s new with me, because you can read about it on my blog!! Please send me an email with photos of your family. I hope all is well, COVID-wise. Great to hear from you after all these years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s