Sunday, October 18, 2015

My French Home

When I was getting ready to leave for France I would often get asked the same question, "what are you going to do all day while Florian is at work?"  Even after three weeks in France I smile as I think back on this question: "I'm going to set up our apartment." I would reply.  Now, to the average person the amount of work it takes to set up a small French apartment should be minimal, but then again they've never met my husband.

Although we have been together for four years, and married for four months now, Florian still lives what I like to refer to as "the bachelor life." Now, anyone who has lived with me, worked with me, or even knows me can testify to the fact that I am a bit of a neat freak.  I love to clean and organize and everything has a rightful spot.  So, naturally, I was a bit shocked when I showed up in France and saw the state of our apartment: no trash can, food sitting on the floor, a towel used in place of a bathroom rug, etc.

Our "Glassware"

After spending the first few days in bed shamelessly nursing my jet lag I decided to start carefully going through the apartment, room by room, closet by closet, drawer by drawer.  Now even after spending years studying the French culture nothing prepared me for this unique cultural experience. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor one afternoon shaking my head and wondering: how is it that the guy has not a single set of matching glassware but has a spice collection that rivals my mom's?  And more importantly how is it that he has four different types of Olive Oil and three different types of vinaigrette, but never thought of buying an oven?!  Not to mention the two year old packets of yeast we just HAD to keep because "you never know when we are going to bake a brioche."

Our "Kitchen Cabinet"

It's been quite the project and I have to admit that Florian has been a real trooper.  By time I was done going through the apartment we had a car full of stuff to drop off at the donation center.  It's been a great learning experience for both of us.  Learning how to comprise and live together.  After countless trips to IKEA and LeRoy Merlin (the Home Depot of France) our place is finally starting to come together- the perfect mix of the French and American cultures.

Our "Trash Can"

We are not quite done decorating, but every small touch makes me feel more at home.  I now have "Le Petit Marseillais" soap in my bathroom, "Le Jacquard Francais" linens in my kitchen, and a mini "cave a vin" in my coat closet.  But, don't worry, I also have Ketchup in my fridge, weak american coffee in my kitchen cabinet, and a cookbook full of American recipes on my bookshelf.  Sometimes I can't help but laugh when I look around and see where life has led me.  Even though this has been a great project for me and something that has brought Florian and I even closer together I am trying to remember that a true home actually has very little to do with the physical space and everything to do with the people.  I get to wake up every morning next to the man that I love, and nothing could make me feel more at home than that.


  1. Omg Claire I love this!!! When you said "neat freak" I immediately thought of the little frillies on all our assignments!!! Lol my French professor asked me why I take them off every time and I just had to smile. We are all thinking of you and wishing you the absolute best in the world!!! --Nicholas Miller.

  2. What's so wrong with that trash can? ;) Can't wait to visit your appart some day and see all you've done to it!

    1. The bag is in a wine crate so it's like art, right? ;)