In Ellen Count’s GallicFever, a native New Yorker turned Paris ex-pat, takes you with her as she pursues full time her passion for France. Her French “honeymoon” may be over but the love affair continues under more . . . realistic . . . conditions. The occasional headache can be a GallicFever side effect — what challenges does a New York-born francofolle face and how does she cope? What about E.W. Count, the published crime writer — did she leave all that mystery behind in New York? Follow GallicFever and find out!

About Ellen

Ellen Count, GallicFever editor

As I grew up with my dedicated, committed French teacher mother, I unconsciously copied her passion for Paris, and for France beyond the Seine. Maman and I, alone together, were as close as only antagonists can be — but whatever my regrets, catching her Gallic obsession never was among them.

Nancy, in the Lorraine region -- probably home to my dad's forebears

Nancy, in the Lorraine region, probably home to my dad’s forebears

Maman, by the way, despite looking the Parisienne part (below, right) was born in the U.S.A., and couldn’t claim a drop of French blood. Still, hadn’t her Degas Milliner, Marquet Pariscape, Dufy Racehorses presided (in reproduction, of course) over my entire childhood? All summer, Maman traveled. She sent me cartes postales and brought home Faience pottery, Courvoisier cognac and tiny chocolate bottles filled with French liqueurs.

But, ironically, it was thanks to forbears on my father’s side that France was, literally, in my bones. (Never mind that Daddy didn’t live with us, rarely gave his ancestry a thought, and insisted he couldn’t learn a foreign word, French or otherwise.) Maman took care to train my ear for the purest Parisian accent. RaCHmaninoff, she made me pronounce, starting at age six.

The composer’s name might be Russian, but that r is a must for the French tongue. Sans the tricky r, you can’t correctly say, c’est vrai.ThenandNow3-resize

I was in my thirties by the time I could afford to travel to France for a couple of weeks a year. When, moonlighting from my day job as a fashion copywriter, I suddenly published a story on a French subject in the Times (above), Maman did seem pleased, if not so surprised. I surprised myself and everyone else by taking a long detour into writing about New York City police detectives. With one crime book, then two, finally published — surely I’d return to la belle France. The time came when I did. By then, I could fly to Paris as often as twice a year, even for three weeks. Even for a month . . . .ruth-caption

In 2012-2013, six months in Paris turned out to be, as a friend had predicted, life changing. Home in New York now, I’m unsettled. Not really at home. Nothing helps the malaise but my French rounds: French film. French news. French boots. French arts. French mascara. French lessons. French crafts. French beret. Repeat at least one of the above, daily. Sooner or later, somehow the circuit will bring my French bones back around. Back where they belong.

26 thoughts on “Home

  1. So glad to hear you are where your heart is. I would live to get back to Paris but with $6,000 in dental work facing me (don’t ask) and just recovering from emergency surgery (for a ruptured lumbar disc where a piece of it broke off and lodged in my spine) I am afraid I my return will not be soon. Love your new blog and will read it religiously. Still in love with Margaret and Charleston. The dogs are great and my recovery is going very well. Kiss Paris for me. Much love

  2. Bienvenue chez toi, Ellen! And thanks mom! She was damned right to contaminate you with this Gallic virus… Bises, voisine

  3. hi ellen
    i am not the first because i was at the beach !
    but i love it , is so funny because i am from france and eventually paris that i don’t particularly like as you know and i love new york and feel home and myself there ! i am still wondering how an open minded new yorker can enjoy the boring parisians !!!!!!
    but it seems that you do so it is perfect !

  4. Dear Ellen.
    Thank you of let us to know a part of your story and how you have learnt French.
    Your French is fantastic without mistake and I really would like to speak English like you speak French.
    I will enjoyed to follow you on your blog.
    Take care and be safe.

  5. The first time I looked at Gallic Fever I was struck by how professional it looked and how interesting I found the content. It’s always niice when someone you know reports they’re doing something for which they have a passion and finding that their decision to do it was the right thing. When I read the article on the French apartment and saw the beautiful picture of the park, I was seriously tempted to catch a plane to Paris. I admit to being envious that you’re managed to “live the dream”, something that many of us haven’t yet figured out how to fit into our schedules and finances.

  6. avec toi Ellen, on comprend mieux pourquoi l’amitié franco-américiane perdure depuis tant d’années! Tu es la meilleure ambassadrice que je connaisse: la modestie, l’ampathie se mêlent à parts égales avec ton charme! Tu m’as conquis j’t’adore ( sauf en tchador ahah).

    • Merci, Linda — a pleasure to know such a thoughtful expat! You have an idea, now, why I spend so many Sunday afternoons at Le Memorial de la Shoah. I’ve heard testimonies there by “troisieme age” (senior) Jewish men and women, who, as children, survived the Nazi occupation of French cities. The Memorial offers a forum where these survivors describe the courage of both Jews and non-Jews (sometimes both, in combined Resistance actions) who hid Jewish chidren — saving them from deportation to the Nazi death camps.

  7. Ellen, I am so happy that you are doing what and where that is so important to you. You inspire us all.
    I share your passion. I was a teenage underage runaway and I wound up as a Paris street kid in the troisieme 3rd arr. near Rue Vieille Du Temple, writing stories. This was long before I became a police officer in New York.
    Alors, Je connais ton idee.
    France became my second home and French my second language. Brava for you to do this wonderful thing. Please keep me informed since I am seeing the world via Asia now and enjoy the contact.

    Frank Hickey

    • Alors, Monsieur Hickey (almost rhymes with flic), I knew you had a French streak…. Are you in Asian francophonie? I’ll think of you next time I order a bo bun in Montmartre. Safe travels!

  8. ‘Allo Ellen, lovely to hear from you. Please do include me on your list for the blogs. Toujours Paris, ma cherie.
    Ruth Cousineau

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