We’ll Always Have Paris: Trying and Failing to Be French by Emma Beddington

By Emma Beddington

As a bored, moody teen, Emma Beddington stumbled on a replica of French ELLE within the library of her austere Yorkshire institution. As she became the pages, choked with philosophy, intercourse and lipstick, she discovered that her existence had one objective and one goal basically: she had to be French.

Instead of skulking in her bed room hearing The Smiths or trudging to Betty's Tea Room to shop for fondant fancies, she will be loose and solitary, sitting outdoor the Café de Flore with a Scottie puppy at her ft, a Moleskine at the desk and a Gauloise trembling on her decrease lip.

And so she set approximately changing into French: she did a French alternate, albeit in Casablanca; she studied French heritage at college, and spent the vacations in France along with her French boyfriend. finally, after a relations tragedy, she came upon herself dwelling in Paris, with a similar French boyfriend and half-French childrens. Her dream had come precise, yet how might fact fit up? progressively Emma discovered that she may have discovered Paris, yet what she relatively had to locate used to be home.

Written with huge, immense wit and heat, this can be a memoir for a person who has ever worn a Breton T-shirt and questioned, in spite of the fact that fleetingly, in the event that they might cross for une vraie Parisienne.

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Sample text

Aurélie’s mother wears thigh-high fringed suede boots and her eyes are heavily kohl ringed. Her father is tiny, neat and bronzed, almost always silent, one of those Giscard d’Estaing style French men who wear navy blue suits and striped shirts with brown brogues, and who carry man bags, which they do not consider for a second might impugn their masculinity. Aurélie and I, thrown together by the Catholic Herald, share not only a room, but, to my prudish horror, a bed. We put one of those bolster pillows down the middle so as not to roll onto one another in the night, but it is still odd to sleep so close to someone you have known for a matter of hours.

Sometimes I rake my nails through the skin on my arms and legs until they bleed, sometimes I bang my head against a wall. Sometimes I just storm off and sleep in the bath or stomp through the streets of Oxford muttering to myself (obviously, this passes entirely unnoticed, most of the other people in Oxford city centre are also muttering to themselves). I’m seething: I can’t reconcile these two incompatible lives and it makes me furious at myself. I have, I suppose, a sort of breakdown. At the end of my first year, when exam stress combines with our continuing relationship meltdown, my hair starts to fall out – wisps, then tufts, then handfuls.

At home with my mum and stepfather we watch Au Bout de Souffle and I ignore the plot entirely to fantasize about walking through Paris with a pixie cut and Capri pants and kissing the cop-killing rogue Jean-Paul Belmondo’s lubricious, Jagger-esque lips. Because not only do I want to be French, my sexual orientation is now firmly French. I lust after Belmondo, and Alain Delon, after Daniel Auteuil, Vincent Lindon and Valseuses era Depardieu (though I draw the line at Jean Rochefort). Soon, France is my worst crush ever, worse than the man from House and Sons Electricians on Monkgate, worse than Gary Speed of Leeds United, worse than Dafydd, the double bass player who lives down our street.

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