Chartres, Cloclo and Connections

Ugh, last week’s good weather was such a tease seeing as rain, gray and gloom has been the forecast since Saturday.  

We took a day trip to Chartres Saturday early morning to late afternoon. The trip was decent, the tour of Chartres Cathedral by far the highlight. The church is largely still intact since its building between 1193 and 1250, the parts of the Romanesque fa├žade clear among the high Gothic architecture. 

There wasn’t much to see in the rest of town, though we did visit a lovely place for lunch. (Salmon and potato pizza-- as delicious as it sounds and would absolutely consider a return trip just for the pizza.) 
Sunday was a relaxed day. I had met Kathryn for lunch; it seemed to be the weekend of a salmon trend and so I dragged Kathryn (jokes, she followed willingly) on a hunt to find lunch crepes. (A salmon and cheese crepe? Divine!) We went to the Musee de l'Art Moderne Paris following lunch. It never ceases to amaze me how many art museums Paris offers—how often I visit art museums but have yet to run out of new options.

I met up with a friend for tea later that afternoon (a costly form of social hour in Paris seeing as tea is typically around five euros. You know, it would just be cheaper to meet up for pain au chocolats as the delicacy typically ranges around one euro. Although meeting a friend for a patisserie doesn't quite have the same ring to it as an afternoon tea date.) My friend (who I was put in contact with through a mutual friend at AU) is a wonderful 19- year- old girl who picked up and moved to Paris to follow her dream of opening up a restaurant one day back home.

Like, picked up and moved to Paris. Um, sick.

She enrolled in culinary school, found herself a small studio apartment and has since built up a life for herself here. All without much ability to speak or understand French. Her determination and drive amazes me, a unique spark of independence and sense of purpose for someone so young.

A few friends and I got together that evening to see “Cloclo,” a film about Claude Francois—the famous French singer who inspired Sinatra's “My Way.” He’s sort of the Michael Jackson of France’s times in regards to his impact within the music world; Of no comparison in terms of looks, however.

The movie marks the 40 years since Claude Francois’s death-- a death that resulted from electrocution while showering (SO SAD and totally could have been avoided had he thought twice to fix a light bulb with wet hands). It's still a factor of great tragedy for my mother (and the trillions of fans) who spent her (their) youth obsessed over Cloclo (as his fans fondly refer to him). I grew up listening to his songs and watching the music videos. But, as a girl growing up in the states, Claude Francois was a name I kept in the house given none of my friends could relate.

Here, Claude is a known name, a missed figure and a legend within French culture.

I knew all the music in the movie, which was strange because I’m not a part of this culture, yet it also has no place in my own American culture.There’s something odd about having a connection to somewhere that seems so foreign. It’s strange that I could have been a French girl had I grown up here. I could have been a British girl had we stayed in London. But 16 years in America (following our move from the South of France) and I’m an American girl, one with British roots and a French connection, yet one that feels more American above any other nationality.

Oh, it's all a recipe for identity crisis.

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