I wanted to go to Italy. When I went to Europe for the first time in high school, I went with a group of classmates. I was the youngest on the trip, travelling without any of my friends – but at fifteen, I was already independent and willful enough not to care. I was determined to see Europe. There were four route options, each one ending in a different country. We were tasked with choosing one as a group. So it turned out there was a snag in my plan to travel as the only tenth grader; if I didn’t want to go where everyone else did, my vote, while counted, would hold no sway.
I wanted to go to Italy. The twenty eleventh grade girls also going on the trip wanted to go to the south of France, on a trip that ended, of all places, in Geneva, Switzerland. It should surprise no one that we went to Geneva, winding our way through Nice, Nimes, Cannes and Monaco along the way. It was March. The Mediterranean coast was sunny, and certainly warmer than home, but it was hardly beach weather. I remember whiling away long afternoons wandering through tourist towns, looking at street after street of closed shop windows. It’s fair to say I didn’t fall in love with the south of France. I was happy to be anywhere that wasn’t home but… I still wished we had gone to Italy.
My love of Italy runs deep, it’s true – we’ll be back there this fall, in Florence and Verona. But the south of France has a lot to offer, too, from improbably placed villages on rocky cliffs to pebbled beaches and Roman ruins. I still remember the first time I saw the terracotta rooftops of a town from above – it was my favourite moment of the second half of the trip. I think of it often, in the summer, when the sun is out and days at my desk seem even longer.
It would be crazy to go to the south of France in the summer, of course. That’s when practically the entire population of the country goes there – just getting a square inch of sand on the beach becomes nearly impossible. So I stay at my desk. But on the weekends, I pull out one of my many straw bags, put on a white dress and pretend, just briefly, that I’m back on the Mediterranean coast. Because it doesn’t matter what season it is, the French just get styling right every time.
Lately, reaching for dresses when I have pants in my closet feels increasingly counterintuitive. I just bought yet another pair of black trousers. But sometimes, it’s fun to pretend, just for a little while…
#sezane #venidress #celine #mango