Paris, je t’aime - Monocolumn | Monocle


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10 December 2013

With Christmas fast approaching it must be time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. There are some that I make every year but never end up following through – like going to the bloody gym, for example. But there is one thing it’s about time I got around to and that’s to learn the most beautiful language in the world: French.

I’ve never lived in France; I've had the occasional Paris weekend but that's it. Even though I feel a deep connection with the country and its language I have never had the chance to study it properly other than one indifferent year at a college back in Brazil. I just love the way it sounds. I also enjoy French culture and believe in the whole “Vavavoom” concept wholeheartedly, even though friends have warned me that it is nothing more than a cliché.

I don’t know where I got this enthusiasm from. Maybe from my mother’s family, who emigrated from Bordeaux to the tropics some time ago. My mother even taught me how to sing La Marseillaise when I was a kid. But no more pretending I’m reading the Liberation newspaper in a lovely Parisian café – now I’m fully committed to actually understanding all the words written in it.

I’ve booked my classes already so there’s no escape. I will finally be able to speak and read the language that has fascinated me for so many years. I will be able to watch François Ozon films without subtitles and mimic the lovely tracks from 1960s chanteuse singers that are still a favourite staple at my dinner parties. I might even belt out the bubblegum pop of Brigitte Bardot.

It's possible that I'm deluding myself when it comes to my other New Year's resolutions – come on, one day I will have to accept that the gym and I will never get on and that I will never be able to cook a delicious meal – but I think I will do well in my French classes. Some people even think my accent is French, even though I can guarantee you that I have a very singalong Brazilian timbre. Maybe it’s because I say “Non?” quite a lot at the end of my sentences (it’s unconscious, I promise).

So, come 2014 I will immerse myself in this fascinating language and use it as much as I can. As for the gym thing... well, I can always jog along the Seine. For now, bonne année à tous.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a researcher for Monocle 24.


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