I think I was French in a past life

When my mom and I were in Paris I must have been gushing.  The buildings are so beautiful here.  Everyone is so attractive.  I love those shoes.  I love that girl’s bike.  I love the food.  And the CHEESE.  I LOVE FRANCE.  At which point my mom finally asks,

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Me: I haven’t really thought about it much.  Why?

Mom: I think you were French in a past life.

And that statement has changed my life ever since.  I’ve come to think that… maybe she’s right…  And it’s not just the amazing cheese.  When I was little I was obssessed with everything French.  I was determined to learn French and bought a few French dictionaries.  I had books of French castles that I would try to draw.  I checked out French movies from the library.  I chose a French name: Yvonne.  All of these dreams, however, died slow deaths as I got older.  I became practical.  I took Spanish classes.

Another thing I find unusual is that despite several years of Spanish study and two years in Spanish speaking countries, I have only fallen for one Spanish boy (he was Costa Rican and, in fact, had lived in France for a few years).  I find this incredibly strange considering the high level of average attractiveness and flirting skills of Spanish men.  However, out of the five French men that I have actually had conversations with I am convinced I could have happily married two of them.  This cannot be a coincidence.

Nor did I ever feel quite at home in Spain or Argentina.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love both Madrid and La Plata dearly.  The places and the people are close to my heart.  But I never felt that either place could be my long term home.  There was just something missing.  I thought maybe I just wasn’t expat material.  And now I wonder, maybe I would feel differently in France?  Maybe France is my destiny.

I am only semi-serious about the whole reincarnation thing.  But it certainly does make me wonder about why we are attracted to specific places or things.  And there is no reason to not let the imagination bend the rules a little bit.  While I won’t be going to France in the near future (they have pretty sturdy visa requirements and I have little money), I have mentally set aside a year or two in France in my unplanned future.

The day I met France. I arrived at Nimes on an overnight bus and watched the sunrise at the colosseum.
The day I met France. I arrived at Nimes on an overnight bus and watched the sunrise at the colosseum.
Christmas lights in Avignon.
Christmas lights in Avignon.
Nice, I am froughtfully in love with you.
Nice, I am fraughtfully in love with you.
Streets of Paris.  Arrondissement 9.
Streets of Paris. Arrondissement 9.
View of Paris from the Pompidou Museum.
View of Paris from the Pompidou Museum.
Students got into all the musuems for free and there were even some classes going on inside.
Students got into all the musuems for free and there were even some classes going on inside.
The cote d'azur in summer.
The cote d’azur in summer.


  1. I found this post because today I was thinking seriously about the reincarnation stuff, I am very in love with France, I never have gone there, but sometimes I have seen pics that I even didn’t know they were from France and I felt sad, like if I miss those places, like if I need to be there, and too many coincidences are making me think about reincarnation, but it make me more sad to see that it’s very hard to get a long time visa to live in France as you said

    1. Yeah, it’s too bad about the long-term visa. But you should definitely take advantage of the three-month tourist visa and go see France!

  2. Anne,
    First of all, I love your writing.
    Secondly, I think you would also love Italy. Every single thing you just mentioned is in Italy too. But I hear ya, I love France. And I say that having only driven through a sliver of the country and picked up a hitch-hiker who finished picking grapes for the season and was moving on to Switzerland. Oh, and her name was Dora. Like the Explorer. Haha. But France is magical… And so is French. And so are the French.

    Okay. You get it.

  3. Dear Anne,
    Bonjour! Thank you for your lovely & candid writing. After watching The Diving Bell & the Butterfly this morning & having that old familiar de ja vous (spelling?:) throughout I decided to speak the words “I was French in my past life” into my phone. Your eloquent post with stunning photos was the first thing that popped up. I am glad to know that some others feel the same way. And perhaps not so surprisingly, my Mom told me the same thing as yours told you & added she believes “somewhere along the way I lived as a rich woman in France.” She has declared that multiple times & i know she is sincere. Interesting words from my Saint Louis, Missouri born & raised Mother. Aside from her Bohemian-style “Honeymoon” (year-long Western excursion to the West with stops everywhere along the way, resulting in San Fran, though she said Montana was the most breath-taking state) she has never been out of the United States, nor have I. And I too, chose the more practical path to Habla Espanol in college, rather than following my hearts desire.
    I just wanted to wish you well & say “me too, I understand.”

    Marie Claire

  4. Hi Marie Claire, thanks for commenting! It is always nice to find kindred spirits. I hope you get to visit France one day. And in fact, upon the mention of Montana in your post, I really hope I get to go there one day, too.
    Happy travels,

    1. Brilliant, you responded before I could even get my “clarification comment” out! How wonderful to hear from you, Anne. I am sure that both of us will make it (back;) to France. If it is a part of our past, & lives on in our imaginations & spirits, then there is certainly more than a strong chance it will be part of our future & destiny. After some deliberation I have wrapped my mind around past lives…still debating the concept of destiny however. I apologize if my thoughts are incoherent, I have a little Bichon Frise rescue who is barking out my window at the neighbors. He is a charming litte powder puff which I have named “Francois les Faux Pas.” He responds to Frankie just as well though.

      I do hope you can make it to Montana, Anne! My parents said it is beyond gorgeous & that the sky seems to open up there. I suppose it’s no wonder they call it Big Sky Country.

      Also, in reference to your time abroad in Spain & such, I recently read an international poll that declared Spanish speaking men make the best lovers (not sure that is something that can be qualified due to the fact that love-making is one of the most intimate & interpersonal experiences). However, it is my strong impression that there is perhaps some truth in that statement. I, on the other hand, like yourself, maintain a strong affection & attraction to Frenchmen. Though, I’ve only been out with one & that was certainly no love connection (he was drunk & vulgar, but again that is just one individual & he was a college student at the time…can’t hold that against him & certainly not against his country of origin;)

      I have a strong feeling that I have loved & been loved by a man in France & it was beyond breathtaking, a true love to the last the ages or perhaps multiple loves, that is probably more realistic. It just didn’t happen in this life, well the multiple loves part: Yes…just the being French & in deep love with a Frenchman/men didn’t happen in this life;) Sounds strange, I know…but my affinity for France is very real. Sometimes if I am flustered or in a hurry I find myself speaking French words & as mentioned in a previous post, I only took Spanish. It is surreal when this happens! With each rare occurence I intuitively know that I have just spoken French, & in a perfect accent as well. Which I can never seem to do…even when I try!

      Also, when I am at the St.Louis art museum I instinctively drift right towards all the French works of art. Even my friend, who is getting his doctorate at Washington University in art history, pointed out that every piece I was drawn to, every face (as we were looking at the still-life’s & portraits) was French. And I am not referring to the more obvious & typical works of the great French Impressionist works of such masters as Renoir & Monet, but pieces by people the average American , certainly including myself had never heard of. Speaking of French Impressionists, the StL Art Museum is hosting a grand show of French Impressionism with all the greats & I believe it goes until July. Not sure where you live, but if you are in the states or anywhere near Missouri it certainly will be worth a viewing.

      Well, as I’ve said too much (as Gemini-Sun & Virgo-Moon’s often do:) I will bid you adieu, Anne. Thank you again for your swift reply to my previous post.
      ~Marie Claire

      1. Hi Marie Claire,
        I did so well responding to your first post in a timely manner–and I did terrible with this one, I’m sorry! First I wanted to say that your dog’s name: Francois les Faux Pas is absolutely brilliant and I enjoyed the image of him barking at the neighbors. When I imagined it in my mind I saw you in France, even though I know you are in St. Louis.

        Second, I do, in fact, live in Missouri right now. Kansas City. I’ve done some traveling around here–Columbia and Rocheport, St. Louis, Hermann–and really Missouri is quite charming. Especially in the spring.

        Lastly, I appreciated learning that you are Gemini-Sun and Virgo-Moon. It inspired me to look up my own.

        Let me know if you ever start a blog. I would love reading it.


  5. ps~ after reading my comment I noticed that I forgot to clarify that aside from her Hippie-Honeymoon, Mom has barely ever traveled, New Orleans & Chicago on a court reporting job (before my time:) … I realized it sounded as if I was saying her trip to the West was somehow “out of the U.S.” Just meaning to say that none of my immediate family has ever needed a passport for any of our travels… yet! 😉
    Marie Claire

  6. Well, I tell that when I for the first time landed at the airport of Lima, Peru, I felt like being home. My eyes got most tears. The feeling was incredible – back home.

    I love French and Spanish. Also, I learnt Portuguese while blogging. Now I make my posts in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. None of those languages are not my mother tongue. I think that in my next life, I will travel to space. How so? I have about 1500 space stories (books) in my home and all them are written in French.

    Have a good day!

  7. I visited france last year, and the moment I entered paris i got a strange tug at heart that kind of felt like ‘i am home’. Nothing about the city, its people felt odd or new to me. I really felt really familiar with the city like i have lived here. My parents were shocked to see how at ease i was in a new city i was visiting for the first time. But somewhere deep in me i felt this was not the first time i have been here. I have been part of this city for so long. I am a frequent traveller and paris was my 12th city I was visiting and this was the second time i felt that ways for a city. First time i got this feeling was when i visited Angkur Wat in Cambodia. I literally knew my way around the temples and my guide just thought i was an over smart tourist.

    Imagine the goosebumps I got while I read your article that made me feel like this is an article out of my heart.

    1. Thanks for reading my blog. I love this! I love tapping into our intuitions like that instead of rely on fact and logic all the time.

  8. I understand. I took French for six years as a young girl, but was encouraged to take Spanish because “it was the language of the future.” This has proven true, and I have spent most of my life either learning, teaching, or translating Spanish. But I never forgot French, never ceased loving French, have spent my free time returning to study French on-line, and when I finally went to France, I felt as connected to the place as I have to any other place in the world. Spain was beautiful, but France was my heart. Anyone else feel this way?

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