When I was 19, I spent the first of what would become three summers studying in France. I was a complete and utter Francophile, hooked from the initial visit at the age of sixteen. When I went away to college, I was determined to study abroad, and I wanted to take full advantage of every opportunity I could find.
That first summer was after my freshman year of college at Pepperdine University. I was the youngest of the group; my roommate was a six-foot-tall blonde whose family came from Germany; she would call home and switch between German and English. We were fast friends from the moment we met, one of those rare finds.
The first month was spent in Paris, exploring the city, and studying harder than I ever had before. We had great adventures exploring Pere Lachaise and wandering up and down the river Seine.
But the second month was spent on the Cote d’Azur, in the last little French town before the Italian border, Menton. Menton is a sleepy little town, populated primarily by elderly people, and we were a pretty wild bunch as we rolled into town. Their one claim to fame is a lemon festival every year, a form of the Tournament of Roses where everything is made by citrus, I believe.
I remember the first day we arrived. We threw our stuff into our rooms and took off for the beach as quickly as we could, running into the bluest water I had ever seen. When we weren’t studying, we were baking in the sun all afternoon, swimming out to the plongeoirs where young Italians were also baking.
Anyways, one of my classmates had a particular obsession for ABBA. I had not had much exposure to their music, but she would turn on her laptop, and blare “Dancing Queen” and it was easy to get addicted to it. All of the girls would be laughing and dancing about in our rooms at the Hotel Chambord (yes, we stayed in a hotel as there was nowhere else to stay! With breakfast in bed every morning, to boot!) and then we’d get a call from the front desk, with complaints from other hotel guests that we were too loud.
Our group. I’m in the center, in black with the hot pink wrap.
Today I took Jude to the movies (his first time) to go see Mamma Mia! and I was reminded of that delicious summer on the coast in France. The colors, the music — it was all so beautiful, and the memory of that summer is beautiful to me.
It’s also been a big deal in design blog-land about all of the gorgeous fabrics in Mamma Mia. Check out this post over at Elements of Style about the colorful Josef Frank prints. Seeing it all on the screen makes me want this PB duvet cover even more!