Friday, March 11, 2011

Oui Oui!!

As far back as I can remember, I've loved anything French.  I have no clue why - perhaps it's genetic (my Dad's mom was French Canadian and still spoke French when her family came to visit - actually, according to my dad, it was more like they "yelled" French at each other).  But there has always been something about this beautiful language and the culture surrrounding it that has appealed to me.  I also took six years of French in high school and college, and graduated from college only about 6 credits shy of a French minor. 

I've been to Europe but I've never been to France, alas. Most of my exposure to French-related ephemera has been in the North American realm - Canada, my absolute favorite place on Earth.  My first trip to Canada was in August of 1991 - my boyfriend (later first husby) Dan and I went to Sault Ste. Marie for a weekend.  I was 22.  Because I'm me and I adore the grocery store, what better place to get acquainted with a new place than visiting one? 

I hit the MOTHERLODE!!  I was inundated with French EVERYTHING!  (now, I realize that anyone reading this who lives in France may argue that it's not "real" French, but it's French to me.  Quebecois French is just as real as any other French.  So from here on out I won't be distinguishing Quebecois from Parisian French).  I was in my own personal nirvana.  And everything is just a little bit different there - it's not Nabisco, it's Christie (but with the same corner triangle logo).  And it's not The Laughing Cow brand cheese, it's "La Vache qui Rit" (I LOVE that!).  It's the differences that make travel fun, not the similarities!  One of the packages I kept for the longest time (but got mistakenly thrown out in one of my moves - wahhh!) was an Oreo package.  It was bilingual, of course, but the Oreos had all different summery colo(u)red cream filling. I've never seen these in the States!  And they tasted slightly different too. 

From there on in, I was more consumed with it than ever!  And because I know how to read it, it felt a tiny bit like I was in their "club" (lord knows I can't interpret anyone speaking it, though!).  I've been to Canada ten times since then but have yet to make it to Quebec.  That's on the ol' bucket list, for sure.

But onto the ephemera!  I love it all.  Old, new, French, Canadian, Belgian, Senegalese French - it doesn't matter.  As long as there's French on it, it's good enough for me.  Here is just a smattering of the French items in my collection - these are some of my favorites.  That "Pate de Foie pur porc" one is marvelous - the colors are so brilliant but muted at the same time (thanks, old printing presses!).  I love the "Petit Exquis" notepad just because it's adorable.  And the Pere Magloire receipt is awesome - I don't know how I feel about apple brandy, but it's French AND a receipt AND vintage, so it's a jackpot find.  :D

And like always, I LOVE using French stuff in my artwork!  I'll bet I've used French stuff more than any other theme besides grocery store items.  I hope to make some larger collages with it soon!


  1. I agree. French just seems so romantic, maybe it is just us uncultured Americans lol. One of the ATC themes I like to collect is French takes me a little longer to read it but it keeps me practicing!

  2. Great idea - we can quiz ourselves while we collage! :D Thanks for the great comment! :D