In France, life is always all about relationships. We have special relationships with our butcher our baker and some of us even with our candlestick maker. I frequent a charming shop in the town near ours where I find the most exquisite heathery colored candles in a variety of unexpected hues.
Most women have those types of connections with their hair stylist, colorist (possibly), doctor, and maybe manicurist for some. My list of “friends who help” (FWH) includes all of the above plus, in no particular order: my pharmacist, medical pedicurist, dermatologist, dressmaker/seamstress, dry cleaner, vegetable man, cheese couple, wine shop owner, pastry shop, florist, chocolatier (also in the town near ours),special frozen food emporium — Picard — and one of my all time favorites, Françoise, who owns the perfumerie in Neuilly where My-Reason-For-Living-In-France and I keep our fragrance wardrobes au courant. When I say au courant, I don’t mean to imply we change our signature perfumes for the latest creations. We never do. MRFLIF stays with Chanel Monsieur and I alternate — depending upon my mood — between Parfum Hermes and Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir. In my case I also have all the attendant products to go with each.
|Joelle and Jean-Jacques|
Oh yes, I almost forgot. I also have a relationship with the husband and wife who own the librairie, i.e. book, newspaper, magazine store. They order my English language magazines and any other out of the ordinary requests I might have. For their French customers they have a reputation for fine recommendations on the latest books.
|Our obscenely delicious Christmas dessert from Tendre Caprice where we have an extremely warm relationship with Clarisse whose husband is always backstage inventing new wonders.|
Why am I mentioning this you might wonder, particularly on the day before the last day of the year? It’s simple really, I was thinking recently about the reasons I love living in France and these FWH were at the top of my list. They make life rich, interesting, immensely personal and warm. We have a coterie of people who know what we like, know what we might like, take the time to please, take the time to chat, all in all they comfort us in the knowledge that maybe, just maybe the world is not spinning out of control in our simple day to day lives, that it’s not all about shopping malls, fast food, Internet shopping, impersonal service.
Ca fait chaud au coeur. It warms the heart.