Wednesday, 8 February 2017

La Boulangerie

It was 1952 and I was an exchange student to a pen pal in France, Michel who with his twin brother Claude had come to stay in our house in England for four weeks so they could experience Great Britain.

As arranged I returned with them to France to stay a month with their parents and their two younger sisters Joelle and Silvie so I too could learn what it was like living with a French family in France.

It was different to say the least but as it was school holidays I had every day to explore the town of Meaux a few miles outside Paris and to ride our bikes all around the countryside seeing chateaux and quaint villages and even rowing across the River Marne to have fun on the island midstream where we could swim in the river and play volleyball with their friends.

On Sundays of course they went to church at the cathedral in Meaux and I went along too more of a spectator being an Anglican rather than a participant in the service as the boys like the majority of French citizens were Catholic.

On weekdays we would run errands for their mother and often we would have to stop by "La boulangerie" (baker) to collect the baguettes and patisseries their mother had ordered.

Even today so many years later I still eat that now common crusty French bread reliving the memory of me first discovering a wider world than I had ever known before.

Image found at


  1. A beautiful memory. I loved my time in Paris and remembering the bike rides around the town was spectacular. It's snowing here today and I am preparing to make bread in my bread machine.

  2. Great memory! We had an exchange student live with our family for a year. It's quite an experience, and one I recommend.

  3. What a wonderful experience that must have been! I think every young person needs to experience life outside the area where they've grown up, it's an education far greater than what is learned in books, and it gives us a life-long appreciation for diversity!

  4. How cool is this here internet here?
    I'll tell you how cool... after reading your Six, I took 'the google' to Meaux and walked up and down the streets (knowing that, in the 65 years since your time there, there may be been some changes... lol). But, I thought, half-ancient city (by American standards) and a river... how different could it be!
    I think I spotted the island you mentioned (in the middle of the river Marne)

  5. Lovely memories, and i can imagine that eating some of that crusty bread would bring them back clearly.

  6. What a lovely memory, and a wonderful experience!

  7. I love when food is tied to home and memories - and how surely we can be transported there via eating it again.

  8. I lived a French village for a few years and I can still remember waking up to the smell of bread wafting from the boulangerie around the corner. I so enjoyed your memories too.
    Keith's Ramblings