Monday, January 29, 2007

Douce France


Douce France, cher pays de mon enfance... (Sweet France, dear country of my childhood...) is a song by famous French singer Charles Trenet. I thought of it when I saw this bike in the sun near the Village Saint-Paul (4th arrondissement) and... when I read this survey in the The Daily Mail (a British newspaper) titled "36 reasons to say goodbye to Britain - and one to say bonjour to fabulous France!" Biased, me?! Come on!

40 comments:

  1. I can imagine biking in Aix or Nice, but Paris?!?!?! Hmmm!! Maybe not in the first 10 arrondissements.

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  2. Well actually Ming I took this photo in the 4th arrondissement.

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  3. I can't tell you how many people are saying in the UK at the moment that, if they could leave, they would. That's a depressing statement for me to say about my country, but as you see from the survey there isn't a lot to keep us here anymore except history, architecture and landscape. Family and friends are the things which seem to keep us all here. Congratulations on racing ahead in the survey.

    The photo is great. I could write quite a few short stories around it, it is screaming out with undiscovered circumstance.

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  4. Funny you say that Lynn I was watching a sort of reality show today on the BBC; a family, with 4 kids, moving from England to France.

    The cameras would follow their "journey" and the show would provide them with money the first month.

    What was funny to hear is that France sounded to them as the promised land whereas we don't think of it that way here. On the contrary we tend to look up to the British economy that did much better than ours over the last years.

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  5. 3 comments today. If I may...

    1- In my view, bicycle relates more to China or Holland than France. Your last week' Solex is a different story. This is sooo French!

    2- Nevertheless, the Mairie de Paris is about to reconsider the Street Furniture juicy contract historically held by JCDecaux. The mayor added an important requirement regarding bike-renting facilities. The next provider will have to make available 6600 bicycles-for-hire accross the City... Paris, a new Beijing-to-be?!...

    3- Second time in a row you are posting a "2 roues". Well, Mister Eric, it's time to face it: you are definitely missing your old motored 2 wheels friend I've always known you with...

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  6. Looks like a right hand drive bike to me, probably visiting ;-)

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  7. Wow! France is in the number 1 position in that survey!
    Why didn't Chile Appear in the list?
    It certainly is a better place to live than other American countries (no offence)...
    I've always had the impression that people don't even know where is Chile in the world map!!!

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  8. there's so much to be appreciated about life in france. there's a cadence which is more gentle and simple in comparison to those cultures who enjoy their fix of a 2-3 job lifestyle. the french resistance to 'mondialization' by retaining their village culture, even in the midst of an international capital such as paris, is quite admirable.

    however, i suppose it's all relative. i saw a piece today on france24 which was about a parisian gentleman of african descent, who was moving back to his ancestral land to enjoy a better quality of life.

    btw eric, this is another masterpiece. the colors, the perspective, the composition and the style are all brilliant. i love any photographs of bicycles, they present such a bucolic image.

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  9. I love the perspective of this photo. The bike calls to the viewer just like a child's bike calls him or her to play.

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  10. And voila...why I love living here. There is certainly a better balance between work and life, but I'm afraid that is all changing.

    It took me a while to find this, but you can listen here to Charles Trenet singing Douce France.

    And why not sing along? Here are the lyrics:

    Il revient à ma mémoire
    Des souvenirs familiers
    Je revois ma blouse noire
    Lorsque j'étais écolier
    Sur le chemin de l'école
    Je chantais à pleine voix
    Des romances sans paroles
    Vieilles chansons d'autrefois

    [Refrain:]
    Douce France
    Cher pays de mon enfance
    Bercée de tendre insouciance
    Je t'ai gardée dans mon cœur!
    Mon village au clocher aux maisons sages
    Où les enfants de mon âge
    Ont partagé mon bonheur
    Oui je t'aime
    Et je te donne ce poème
    Oui je t'aime
    Dans la joie ou la douleur
    Douce France
    Cher pays de mon enfance
    Bercée de tendre insouciance
    Je t'ai gardée dans mon cœur

    J'ai connu des paysages
    Et des soleils merveilleux
    Au cours de lointains voyages
    Tout là-bas sous d'autres cieux
    Mais combien je leur préfère
    Mon ciel bleu mon horizon
    Ma grande route et ma rivière
    Ma prairie et ma maison.

    [au Refrain]

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  11. It's a wonderful photo...it makes me wonder about the owner and I come up with all kind of imaginative tales.

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  12. I am not a Daily Mail reader and so I must thank Eric for the link to the story. And thank Michael for the Charles Trenet clip.

    Although British, I abandoned the island at the end of the sixties. The seventies was my French decade and I spent the eighties and nineties in Germany.

    When I leave the United Arab Emirates, which has been home for five years, it will be to settle in France. No doubt about that.

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  13. Thanks for the link Eric. I'm not a Daily Mail reader either, but my late father used to read it and my mother still thinks it prints the truth! :)

    I wish I could persuade her that I am not the only person who has found a good reason not to live in Britain and that she would consider Spain (we didn't do bad at 11th) or even France.

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  14. Ah the grass is always greener on the other side, Eric, we say here in the UK.

    The reason we think France may be the promised land is not so much fact-based such as in the economy or politics, etc. It is in lifestyle. The open space of the countryside with the chance to buy a good chunk of it without parting with too much cash. The long, languid meals over, again, reasonably priced wine, social interaction. Here, meals are rushed between the stops of a racey lifestyle, at least for most of us, whereas in France, particularly in the countryside, to which we aspire, the pace seems much slower. The food always seems delicious, too and whilst our standards are improving, there's nothing like a good French meal. It's the 'laissez faire' probably which draws us in and perhaps the wish to be back to basics, growing our own in your acres of beautiful landscape which, with its similarities is not too much a culture shock from our own.

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  15. Plus obviously, the pull of high standards in medical attention and education. I once researched the educational systems in detail, both at university when i studied french history, culture & language and in personal life. My children were, at the time, in private education in UK and i came to the conclusion that the levels achieved were equal between your state education and our private system. The private system here costs around £15,000 per annum per child so you can see another attraction for those wanting a better lifestyle and prospects for their children. Becoming bilingual for them is an added bonus.

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  16. Nice combination of image, song, survey to end up in this wonderful post. The option of the angle and the curvy sidewalk are great.

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  17. The passion does not stop at Europe's borders either. Here in Australia we observe the lifestyle France offers; the Language, Tourism, Technology, Architecture, the list is endless. I promise that ADELAIDE DAILY PHOTO, will post from Paris, Millau, Colmar and elsewhere later this year and bring Australia to France, and France to Australia. Viva la Passion !

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  18. Eric and his surveys...! You love a survey don´t you? Good, so do we! So many things to comment... the picture is so lovely, for me it could be a painting or the cover of a very nice book! And about the survey, we did not need a poll to know that France is, among other things, THE most romantic country and that it offers a great way of life. Or do you think the french are known for having that savoir faire et savoir vivre for nothing?!!
    And Edulabbe, I agree, for what I´ve seen, many people can´t point where many countries of south america are on the map, but I´m sure Chile should be among the first numbers in this poll (although I´ve never been there I´ve heard wonderful things about the country).

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  19. I wouldn't mind a little getaway to douch France at the moment. And biking around sounds like a pleasant way spend the time--assuming the weather agrees.

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  20. Know what's funny? I've kinda (a little)convinced hubby that moving to France might be a good idea! Wow! I can't believe he's even changed his mind about France even a little, but all the wonderful information I've gotten from PDP has been a BIG help in getting him a little bit more unbiased!!!

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  21. Lynn, I agree this is a great photo. The subtle hue of the street and building with the daubs of Impressionistic color on the bike cargo carrier. And the camera on the pavement (was he laying down again like the street-cleaning water shot last year?) Really fun. I can smell the pavement and feel the sun. Looking forward to April 26 when I get off the train in Paris.

    (However, the angle of the bike seat...Owwwch!)

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  22. awesome perspective of a beautiful setting-gives this photo a real feeling of intimacy.

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  23. MOVING TO FRANCE SOOSH? FRANCE??? WOW! Well you can't just expect to casually drop that into the conversation and not get blasted with questions. You'll LOVE it! And, you'll be nearer to me! Yay.
    Ok - 1. When. 2. Where 3. Permanently or short term? 4. Paris or country? 5. When do your French lessons start? 6. When and where shall we have our first meeting when you arrive? I suggest that funny little cafe with the posters which Eric wrote about some days ago, asap! 7. Is it definite and how far have you got with the prep.
    Yay.

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  24. Yes Jeff i noticed that angle too and was skirting the issue lol. Yes i love these ground level shots. Let's hope there were no dogs' deposits around.

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  25. I often sing this song "Douce France" when driving on peaceful roads going through the countryside.
    My father also used to do that; i guess my kids will do the same in few years.

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  26. Yay Soosha! Moving to France! They'll love you here I'm sure!

    Sorry Haxo, can't find a download of you singing, so we'll have to get you to record something and post it here.

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  27. If anyone wants reasons to move to France, read the article, go visit, or ask people what we like about it. Of course, I've only seen Paris, on vacation, so what the hell do I know about living there? If I win the lottery, my Paris experience will be perfect. As l'homme Parisian next to us at le Cafe de Marie (?) at Place St. Sulpice: "you Americans work long and hard, you make more money, and you earn it. Your standard of living is better. But our quality of life is better." Voila.

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  28. Interesting...

    Lynnn LOL: "Let's hope there were no dogs' deposits around. " See not everything in France is nice!

    And Edulabbe, I agree "Why didn't Chile Appear in the list?" We should send a letter to the publisher. I heard Chile is really nice.

    And Micheal I knew you'd come up with the lyrics of the song!! Thank you.

    I'm off to bed, for once I am going to get some sleep. Tomorrow is another Microsoft day with, maybe a nice photo surprise... (No, I'm not talking about Bill Gates!!)

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  29. Vive la France: I'd be there in a minute, if I could!

    105 days and counting...

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  30. LOL lynn! I said: " I've kinda (a little)convinced hubby that moving to France might be a good idea!"

    It certainly wont be anytime soon as Jeff is trying to build his business, but when he becomes successful (and I know he will!) then perhaps we can move it over to France. At least now he's not opposed to the idea!

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  31. Ohhh :( so not next week then? Oh well. I'm sure he will be successful though so roll on that day!

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  32. Focusing on the photo, I love it 'cause the first sight out of focus (obviously) gives depth to the whole image. Great Eric. As always.

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  33. No, not next week. More like a couple of years. But still, when it happens we're totally hanging out!!! Since we'll have money I'll be able to pop over to your place whenever I want!

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  34. Fantastic shot, Eric! I know just the spot where you took it in Village Saint-Paul! That is a delightful little corner of the 4 ème, next to la Seine and across from Île-Saint-Louis!

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  36. Hi Eric
    Nice photo, I had not seen the survey in the Daily Mail, I read it maybe twice per week. The survey does not suprise me at all. I love France and have stayed in Paris maybe 10 times, also the Vendee and Normandy. The weather here the last 2 weeks has been dismal and cold.

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