Share Your Story contest: David Winner of Week 10!
Since my first trip to France immediately after high school graduation, I was hooked by everything - the beauty, the culture, the language, and yes, the friendliness, even in Paris! I had the good fortune of meeting a French family who welcomed me and helped me discover what it’s like to be in France, then later when I spent my junior college year there I learned what it’s like to actually live the French experience. Many wonderful experiences have ensued. Here is one of them.
One year I was in Paris in April (yes, April In Paris IS beautiful!) and found myself one Sunday morning cheering for the tens of thousands of runners participating in the Paris Marathon. There was a group of us from Chicago as well as a few other U.S. cities congregated on the Avenue du Président Kennedy, a fortuitous name for an American gathering spot.
Mixed among the hundreds of French spectators, we gleefully shouted out cheers of encouragement in French and English as the runners came by. Many of the runners responded with shouts, waves and even some high-fives. The mood was festive and energized.
Being the type to plan ahead, I had a fairly large American flag with me. I was proudly waving it back and forth so the runners could see it from afar. Part way through the morning, to my horror I realized that the flag was blowing in the face of the Frenchman standing next to me every time the wind would kick up a bit. I immediately apologized to him, saying, "Monsieur, I´m very sorry if my flag is bothering you." His reply, not missing a beat and with a smile on his face, was, "Not at all Monsieur. The American flag could never bother me." Tears nearly came to my eyes as a stranger and I bonded on the streets of Paris in such a friendly and patriotic way.
Vive l´amitié franco-américaine!
David (Chicago, Illinois)
Avenue du President Kennedy, passerelle de Passy.
Check out the banner! "Go, Go Chicago"
• Tourism in France: go to rendezvousenfrance.com