The pull I have towards France, the French. I have a house song stuck in my head, where a raspy sultry woman says between pregnant pauses “French, do, it, better”.
And there’s truth to be heard in that. I’ve traveled rough and I’ve traveled dirty, in RV’s without showers, and hostels with showers I’d prefer not to use. But that isn’t the French Riviera. The Côte d'Azur is a place of plenty. As in, you need plenty of money to play. But play you will. F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed here and wrote, whilst he drank, and too between drinks, Le Corbusier spent his later years just down the cliff from where I stayed. They knew it was upper echelon, there’s no mistaking the shocking beauty of the Alps meeting an ocean dressed as it has been dyed royal blue, an unmistakable “French” blue.
So I spent the month of July soaking in what it is to be French, not someone who’s French but something that’s French. What does it take to represent a country, within a collection of artworks? Too much, I decide. I can only hope to represent my time in such a country. The time on the Riviera, then in the French Alps, and finally in the country's Capital. Everyone has their own image of Paris or France at large. This collection will be mine. And it will start with taste.
The Cypress trees are the perfect analogy for the land in which they grow so numerously. Slender, conical, tall, and dense; they are perfect, as if Van Gogh created them himself, as if someone toiled for hours to prune each leaf so that it stayed in place, but that’s them naturally. That is the south of France in July; confusing me whether it’s been pruned and swept in preparation for observation, or, it's naturally occurring as so.
The bougainvillea litter the streets, orange, pink, and purple. Here, cicadas are the soundtrack, between roaring cars changing gears as they precariously race the curves of the roads. But I still don’t lose my concentration whilst I drink the sun and listen for the tearing and crumbling of the baguette we pass around. It used to be a matter of dipping the edge into a small plate of olive oil. But we have found the best French Butter known to man (or at least us) and we serve it in beautiful silverware and spread it obnoxiously thick, quickly, whilst it’s still cool.