Do as the French Do!

Do as the French Do!

Often when the subject of traveling in France comes up, the reaction is the same… the French are at times difficult people to love. The reality is that the French people sometimes have an opposition to outside influence due to their desire to preserve their culture. They are also a very opinionated people and not afraid of expressing themselves (as more people should be).  As a result there are some French whose initial reaction is to almost reject outsiders. So what does a visitor do to appease the French beast? Firstly and most important do as the French do! Don’t behave American with fanny pack, shorts and tennis shoes, staring at a map…instant sore thumb. Rather embrace the culture, break in those chic boots you bought and get lost! Wander the city, have unique experiences. Second pratiquez votre français! Even if all you can do is simple conversation it is better than nothing. You might be wondering why do I have to learn the language for vacation? Well the fact is that to the French their language is one of the most sacred parts of their culture. For them it is a sign of respect of their culture if you make an effort to speak to them. Now it is true that some people will just be rude regardless but with those people, just smile and move on. C’est la Vie! Third and finally learn French jokes… find out something about the place you are visiting. What is trending right now? What is currently going on? What is funny to them? Yes a little bit of research will go...
I Dreamed I was a Ballerina!

I Dreamed I was a Ballerina!

While reading a co-blogger’s site, Messy Nessy (definitely recommended), I stumbled upon an article about le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris. It featured 1930’s photographs from LIFE magazine of the prima ballirenas of the Paris Ballet Opera in the attics of the opera house. As I looked at the photographs I thought about how ballirenas in there white tutus prancing across the stage, elegant and graceful have found their way into every aspect of French culture. From art… Degas, to literature…le Fantôme de l’Opéra, to film…La Mort du Cygnet (The Death of the Swan). But how and why… time to do some good old RESEARCH! Turns out the Paris Opera Ballet is the oldest national ballet company in the world, yep they were the originals, and apparently many European and international ballet companies can trace their origins back to it… so they are kind of a big deal in the world of ballet. This whole thing started with Louis XIV King of France (1643-1715) aka the Sun King. Yes good old Louis with his lavish tastes also desired to be entertained lavishly. In fact the very first ballet academy (the Académie Royale de Danse, 1661) was created simply because Luis XIV felt that it was needed “to improve the quality of dance instruction for court entertainments”. With the help of Molière and some other impotant French people,the first stage performances that included ballet were born. Today le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, has blossomed into one of the premier ballet companies. The Ballet currently stages some 180 performances per season in Paris, the French regions and abroad.   Of their...