FRENCH MISSION IN COLORADO
Clémence Cireau and Mario Bompart
[Stamp] Denver, May 12, 2014
“Bienvenue au bazar français,” [“Welcome to the French Bazaar] announces the sign above the wrought iron gate with its fleur de lys design. Sabine opens the door with a smile on her face. Her French bulldog (“Yves Saint Laurent’s dog”) greets us as just as warmly. Inside, the rooms do resemble a French bazaar, with an Eiffel tower, French flags, old reproductions of posters from Gay Nineties Paris, and figurines of Louis XIV, Marie-Antoinette and Napoleon sitting enthroned on the shelves. “Don’t go thinking I’m a royalist; I just find these things beautiful, especially the fleur de lys!” A recurring motif – down to the tea service.
“Let’s go sit in the garden. It’s so beautiful out! That’s what I like about Denver; a winter morning can easily turn into a summer afternoon. It’s such a pleasure to live in a varied climate like this.”
Born of Guadeloupian parents in Paris’ XIVth arrondissement, Sabine began her career as an executive secretary in the Paris offices of the publishing company, the Oxford University Press, where she improved her English. Fascinated by the United States and curious to learn more, she left for Colorado in 1993 o work as an au pair. There she took care of the triplets of a very wealthy family in Breckenridge, a small town famous for its ski resort, which hosts many international competitions.
A Parisian Woman in Colorado
I lead an eventful life. My students are always asking me to tell my stories. They get a kick out of learning about the life of the little woman from Paris who wound up in Denver. Marc Lévy could write a novel about it.”
Sabine is self-taught and France is her business. Since 2004, she has taught students from ages three to seventy. “Most of them are Americans. Some of them are just in love with France, and some of them have to learn the language for business.” She also offers in-home lessons. “I invite children over for little snacks that illustrate a theme. We cook, we play, and we talk about history. I’m an ambassador from France. My life revolves around speaking its language and teaching the residents of Colorado about its culture. Americans are also curious about my West Indian origins. I’m happy to say that they know France is not limited to the European continent.”
Nowadays whenever Sabine goes to France, she feels “like a tourist.” “I take advantage of those trips to go out and eat my favorite andouillette aux frites in a little café on the Ile Saint-Louis.”
Sabine says she is lucky to enjoy a special work environment. “The Alliance Française de Denver has more than 2,000 members. I’m in a totally French environment. We have wine tastings, a Christmas dinner, etc. It’s a real family for me!.”
A Better Quality of Life in Denver than in Paris
“My friends don’t understand why I continue to live in Denver. They think there’s nothing to do here. They’re wrong. In Paris I could never have the quality of life I have here in Denver.” She is busy with work only 22 hours a week. “I have free time to go shopping, take care of the house, etc. Just think! I have a big house and a beautiful garden. It’s a luxury! And the people here are laid back. Life is very informal.” With the Rocky Mountains located less than 30 kilometers away, outdoor activities are very popular. “What luck to be able to go skiing or hiking or driving around in an ATV or just taking a walk in one of the city’s many parks.”
READ MORE: http://www.france-amerique.com/