A Friend in France

posted in: Bloggy Friends, France 95 comments

When my husband and I first started talking about going somewhere in January, somewhere further (and not Australia), places like Italy and Spain came up. Then I said, “What do you think about France?” 

“What’s in France?”

“Well, lots of things! (my friend, Jennie, for example, I whispered in my head)

“Is Paris family-friendly?”

“I’m sure it is! (and my friend Jennie lives there)

“We’ll talk about it, but let’s consider other places.”

For a couple of weeks, we (he) researched Europe, while I exchanged Facebook messages with Jennie, asking for ideas for interesting places to visit outside of Paris. Then she said, what about Normandy?

That sealed the deal. My husband’s jaw dropped (he is a World War II buff). And so began our plans to visit France.

You may have noticed that I had my own agenda to push. If I was traveling halfway across the world somewhere, hell yes I am going to make meeting a bloggy friend happen.

It happened. I met my friend in France.

Jennie

And it was lovely and everything I thought and hoped it would be.

Jennie took time out of her day to enable me to take the boys out for a few hours. There was no way I could have managed two kids 4 and under, with two strollers on the unfamiliar-to-me streets of Paris. Without her, I would have been stuck at home with the children while my husband was in London for the day. She came prepared with gifts, snacks and blankets for the boys, and even pulled out a pair of gloves for me when I’d forgotten mine. We walked (a whole lot) and talked. It was all so natural, like we’d known each other forever. In a way, we have. We’ve been reading each other’s blogs for a while. 

The next night, our families met in her gorgeous house. Our husbands talked like old friends. Her children, older than mine, took care of the boys with warmth and kindness. Jennie’s home-cooked food (ratatouille, steak and fries, chocolate fondant) warmed our bellies and hearts. It was the perfect evening.

Jennie's house Children

Ratatouille

In meeting Jennie, it made our connection, already very real, tangible. I could feel her warm hands, see her beautiful smile, hear her gorgeous voice (and I could listen to her speak French all day), and hugging her was the best. 

No matter what happens for the rest of our trip in France, meeting Jennie will remain a highlight.

I’m so glad I met my friend in France.

Alison and Jennie

When was the last time you met a bloggy friend?

Alison
I am a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother to four - two boys, born December 2009, May 2012 and boy/ girl twins born September 2014. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world's biggest sports brands, I traded in launch parties, product launches, and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Aside from this blog, I am a contributing writer at Everyday Family. My writing has also been featured on Mamalode, Families In the Loop, andThe Huffington Post.
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  • February 3, 2014 NJ

    I have yet to meet a blog friend that wasn’t my friend already before we started blogging. I am hoping to get to two different conferences this year and change this!

    I’ve loved reading along while you’re in France, it sounds like you are having a great time!
    NJ recently wrote…An every day hero story.My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      You will love meeting your online friends, NJ! It was just so natural, like we were old friends picking up where we left off. And yes, we’ve had a great time in France.

  • February 3, 2014 Allie

    Allison, that is really cool. And all because of Facebook, our world keeps getting smaller & smaller. Enjoy your trip!
    Allie recently wrote…My New Design!My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Yes, it was totally cool!

  • February 3, 2014 Barbara

    It looks like you’ve been having a wonderful trip.
    Barbara recently wrote…End the MadnessMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Yes, we have! It’s our last night here as I type this. *sniff*

  • February 3, 2014 Shannon

    Your trip, especially this part, sounds wonderful! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!!
    Shannon recently wrote…What I Read – JanuaryMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, we have!

  • February 3, 2014 Jackie

    I have loved seeing all of your pictures while you’re in France and am happy (jealous) that you were able to meet up with Jennie.
    Jackie recently wrote…Just a few random factsMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Jackie! I was so thrilled to meet Jennie.

  • February 3, 2014 thekitchwitch

    That’s so neat that you were able to get together with Jennie! It sounds like a wonderful couple of days!

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      It absolutely was! Jennie definitely my my Paris stay MUCH better.

  • February 3, 2014 Lady Jennie

    I have an ear-splitting grin (and tears).

    All I can say is, this was the highlight of my weekend too. I feel so lucky to have been able to (sort of) host you in my (adopted) country.

    Love you.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…New WineskinsMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      I’m still in amazement that we met, that we were in your home (and messed it up!), ate your food, that our children played together, our husbands talked, and that we hugged. Love you!!

  • February 3, 2014 tracy

    Oh tears – I just love you both so much!
    tracy recently wrote…Reading And LovingMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      We love you too!

  • February 3, 2014 Kim

    This is so wonderful! I love seeing the photos of you and Jennie together – and that your families met and got to spend the evening together is just so awesome!
    Kim recently wrote…What a Wonderful WorldMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Oh that was the best evening EVER!

  • February 3, 2014 Chai a cup of life

    Thats lovely you got to meet up with a blog friend! And france, wow! I have not met another blogger yet, hopefully one day :-)

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Yes, France! I hope you meet a bloggy friend soon :)

  • February 3, 2014 Kerstin

    Yay for meeting bloggy friends!
    I have never met one IRL, but I have a few on my list ;)
    So glad you got to meet Jennie!
    Kerstin recently wrote…Thank You, CanadaMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      I think your list is very similar to mine :)

  • February 4, 2014 Tamara

    I adore you and Jennie (and uh…your blogs) so this made me so happy to read.
    Well I think you know the last time I met a bloggy friend – Ilene! And Michelle! And Stephanie of “So I’ve Been Thinking.” I know this will be a year that changes that.
    Your vacation sounds magical. And isn’t it so nice to meet a bloggy friend in real life and just fill your head with 3D images, instead of pieces of what you think it might be? It’s often better in real life. (unless they’re totally crazy train, but not Ilene, Michelle or Jennie! And the two of us, of course)
    Tamara recently wrote…On Planes & Monorail Trains.My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Yes, I love that it was so… 3D! It was just so nice to put a voice to the face, and Jennie was everything (and more) than I had hoped and expected she would be. It was just terrific.

  • February 4, 2014 Nicole

    I’m so glad you were able to meet a bloggy friend on your travels! I went to Charlotte on a business trip and met up with Ashley and Lisa (The Dose Girls!!) for lunch. We only had a short time together, but it was awesome. I can’t wait to meet more bloggy buddies in the future. Book those tickets to the U.S., Alison! We’ll take care of you for as long as you want to stay!
    Nicole recently wrote…Business Travel Bingo (Guest Post)My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Ooh, they are lovely girls, Ashley and Lisa, lucky you!

  • February 4, 2014 Kir

    Oh just LOVE! Seeing you both together, smiles completing each other makes my heart thump and puts a lump in my throat, happy tears stinging my eyes.

    Friends and France, what could be better??? :)
    xo
    Kir recently wrote…The Crush (Trifecta)My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      If you were there, it would be definitely better! xo

  • February 4, 2014 Susi

    So happy for you and Jennie. It’s wonderful when you get to meet boggy friends that you’ve been in touch with online for quite some time! Enjoy the rest of your trip!!!
    Susi recently wrote…Friday fun on a beautiful SaturdayMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Yes, it was absolutely magical! And we have, thank you!

  • February 4, 2014 Allie

    This is fantastic! I could feel your excitement jumping off the page – and who could blame you? I have yet to meet any blogging friends but all of that will change this year! I’m planning meet ups in NYC at my half-marathon and then again at FitBlogin (my first conference for blogging!) in June. I’m beyond excited! Of course, when you make your way to the states, I will travel to wherever you are. Our boys would have a blast together.
    Allie recently wrote…The Rundown: Weekend RestMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      I’m excited for you! And I would LOVE to hang out with you (and my boys with yours).

  • How I loved reading this! It is so awesome you got to meet Jennie!
    Enjoy Normandy! It is spectacular!
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…A rerun: Nigella’s awesome breakfast pancakesMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      It IS spectacular, LOVE it.

  • February 4, 2014 My Inner Chick

    –OMGOSHHhh,

    my heart just did a somersault.

    I am SO excited that you girls met….& IN FRANCE of all places.

    MAGICAL.

    You are both beautiful. OOOO–LA-LAaaaa. xxx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Broken WingsMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      It has truly been magical, Kim!

  • February 4, 2014 Ashlee

    I love hearing about bloggers meeting other bloggers! I have yet to meet a blogging friend, but hope to eventually. I actually will meet one blogger I love in March. Ironically, I found another blogger in Tennessee and she just happens to be an amazing photographer so she’s doing my son’s 2 year shoot!
    Ashlee recently wrote…Project365: January 2014My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      That’s awesome, Ashlee!

  • February 4, 2014 Lisa

    So much fun!! And in Paris too! I have only met one of the bloggers I consider a friend, but I am going to meet several at BlogU in June. I cannot wait to put real faces and voices withe personalities I already know so well! :-)
    Lisa recently wrote…Football – with DaughtersMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      That’s awesome, Lisa, I’m excited for you!

  • February 4, 2014 Christy

    Sounds like this time spent together was just what you needed! It makes traveling so much better when you have a friend or family there to give you those things you’ve forgotten. I hope to meet some bloggy friends myself in the near future!
    Christy recently wrote…Travel Retrospective: Montreal HighlightsMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      It was definitely a more special experience with Jennie there!

  • February 4, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    That’s so wonderful! Enjoy your time Alison :) -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…Words to Live ByMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Thanks, Iva, we’ve been enjoying ourselves tremendously!

  • February 4, 2014 Christine

    I’m so glad that you all had a chance to meet and that you had a chance to go on such a wonderful vacation. I have to admit, I have been a little jealous of your photos.
    Christine recently wrote…Sidewalk Re-startsMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Don’t be jealous! :)

  • February 4, 2014 sarah reinhart

    this warms my heart like you don’t even know. so wonderful!

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Sarah! xo

  • February 4, 2014 Galit Breen

    Swoon. Just plain swoon. xo
    Galit Breen recently wrote…Your what-if minutesMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Hee! I DID swoon when I finally hugged Jennie.

  • February 4, 2014 Natalie

    That is so awesome! I am so glad you two got to meet! :)

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      I am so glad too!

  • February 4, 2014 Sarah

    That sounds like a dream come true! When I studied abroad in Spain, I got to travel to visit several of my new European friends in their home cities of Rome and Paris. It’s such a cool experience to visit with a local, isn’t it?

    I met my blog friend Shana recently who after reading each other’s blogs for a few months, we discovered that she lives about 30 minutes away from my hometown (where my parents still live), so we got together last time I was home visiting my parents.
    Sarah recently wrote…February Goals, and January Goals in ReviewMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      That’s awesome , Sarah! Glad you met a bloggy friend. :)

  • February 4, 2014 Patty

    I have never met a bloggy friend outside of Manila, but I remember meeting Martine and Tina for the first time, back when I was new at World Moms Blog. It felt wonderful to hug them! I hope to be able to meet more of my blog buddies here and all around the Philippines, and abroad too. Someday. Wishing and hoping. :)
    Patty recently wrote…28 Grateful Days: Feeling the Birthday VibeMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      That’s awesome, glad you met them!

  • February 5, 2014 Rorybore

    How wonderful for you!!
    I met one person through blogging — we actually shared a hotel room having never met each other before,at a blog convention in Toronto. And it was AWESOME! She’s amazing, and wonderful and so so caring of others. I looks like she has stopped blogging now, but I will never ever forget her.
    I met quite a few people at that convention, some I will always remember. Some I was willing to forget (really? with the competitiveness? ease up, gee)
    Glad you met a friend in France!
    Rorybore recently wrote…Tuesday Coffee Chat: Gimme Five for LifeMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      I know who you met, and I know that she’s awesome! (she started another blog last year I believe)

  • February 5, 2014 Rebeccafaith

    I am a big fan of your blog and a lot of your posts resonate with me. However, this one in particular is a favorite. I love that you went to Normandy (!!!) and met up with this awesome fellow blogger and friend! She seems amazing (uh, extra gloves? HELLO!) and a home cooked meal? Enjoy your vacation and thanks for sharing such a special moment and memory between you too! Women, mothers, and people connecting from all over the world. It’s a beautiful thing.
    Rebeccafaith recently wrote…Go Dylan Go!My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, Jennie is amazingly caring, and I love that about her. And thank you so much! It IS a beautiful thing.

  • February 5, 2014 julie gardner

    Can you hear me smiling all the way over here in California?
    That’s how big it is, how much I love that you two got to meet in person.

    (I may also be the tiniest bit green with envy but we’ll let that go.)

    I’m so glad your trip was a success and I have no doubt that you’d be just as wonderful a hostess if Jennie and her family came to you.

    So. When’s your next trip to southern California? :-)

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      I can hear you smiling! :)
      My brother and his family, plus several cousins and their children live in California, so look out for me!

  • February 5, 2014 Andrea

    I love that you met Jennie in France. It sounds like a dream.

    I’m only mildly jealous. Because those pictures make me smile. :)
    Andrea recently wrote…As ChargedMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      It was such a dream come true!

  • February 5, 2014 Elaine A.

    Goosebumps and chills and happy, fluttery stuff all in my tummy over this awesome meet-up! I wish I could have been there too! I really hope I get to hug you in person some day Alison. Guess I will just have to settle for rubbing up against Jennie at BlogHer this year for now… xoxo

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      I want so much to meet you, Elaine! We’ll make it happen!

  • February 5, 2014 Chrisor

    It makes me so happy that you had such a wonderful experience meeting a bloggy friend! Jennie sounds like the perfect hostess and very welcoming. I’ve never been to France but have always wanted to. I can’t think of a better way to see it than through the eyes of a local. This sounds like a trip you’ll never forget. I feel lucky just to see the pictures! :-) Thanks for sharing, Alison.
    Chrisor recently wrote…My Hubby Wins Husband Of The YearMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      It’s definitely been a memorable trip for us!

  • February 5, 2014 Maureen

    That’s so wonderful, Alison! I always love beautiful meet up stories like this where friendships expands across the bloggy world. Love all your pictures too :)
    Maureen recently wrote…Going RawMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much, Maureen!

  • February 5, 2014 Bev

    Oh, that is so wonderful that you were able to meet a fellow blogger in person AND that your families got along so well! I was very excited to meet Jennifer of Another Jennifer at BlogHer last summer, and I’m hoping this year to meet up with some other New England-area bloggers in person!
    Bev recently wrote…And I thought being pregnant at craft shows was challengingMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      I’m excited for you, Bev!

  • February 5, 2014 Keely

    ALL THE ENVY. I have it. (So happy you guys got to hug- it feels like I got to hug you both, too!)
    Keely recently wrote…Internet Stalking: Magazine Edition.My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      We hugged for everyone!

  • February 5, 2014 Vikki

    I love everything about this.
    Vikki recently wrote…At the TheaterMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Vikki. I love Jennie!

  • February 6, 2014 jamie

    My husband and I have talked about taking the children to England and France. I’ve never been and these photographs make me want to go even more. How fun that you could meet up with a blogger bud.
    jamie recently wrote…“I’ll Take Yellow For 500, Alex.”My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      You must visit England and France!

  • February 7, 2014 erin margolin

    I’m still over the moon that you two got to really hang, families & all!
    I have met a lot of bloggy friends at conferences, though not all that way. But that is part of what makes going to conferences so bittersweet. Shhh, don’t tell my husband!

    xoxo
    erin margolin recently wrote…Top 10 Things Every Parent Should Keep in the CarMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Our families meeting truly made this meet-up extra magical!

  • February 7, 2014 Char

    Pretty sweet! What more can I say… enjoy France, Normandy and most of all… your friendship!!
    Char recently wrote…Through the Lens Thursday #6: FlowerMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Yes, we most certainly have, thank you!

  • February 8, 2014 Emily

    I love this story. One of my best friends lives in France, and although we have only spent time together at 16, and very briefly at 22, I know we’ll always have a special connection. Also, meeting my first blogger friend was very powerful to me. Someone who’s been reading and commenting on my words, who’s ups and downs I’d been following… in the flesh! Can’t wait to see her again.
    Emily recently wrote…Grows Feature: {Puerto, Handmade by Jane}My Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Jennie being my first bloggy friend meet up definitely will go into the books as an extra special thing in my life. Unforgettable.

  • February 9, 2014 Julia

    I haven’t met any bloggy friends yet, but there is still hope. I love when you meet someone in person and you just click.
    Julia recently wrote…Of Tents and Stories and 3 Year Old BoysMy Profile

    • February 9, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, totally!

  • February 9, 2014 Nina

    Wow, this is so awesome! First, for the fact that you went to France. It’s definitely one of my top to-visit places, namely because I love eating their food lol. And for actually connecting with a blogger in real life! I have yet to actually do this, I guess because I never initiated although I would love to actually meet others.
    Nina recently wrote…Why You Should Always Apologize to Your KidsMy Profile

    • February 10, 2014 Alison

      Funnily, we didn’t really have food food in France, lol. I guess it just wasn’t a priority – although I did have a really good sole meuniere on our last day. But overall, we had a brilliant time!

  • February 12, 2014 Julie

    This is such a fantastic story! I have a friend in England that I would LOVE to meet someday.
    Julie recently wrote…Which Yogurt is the Best Greek Yogurt?My Profile

    • February 12, 2014 Alison

      I hope you do, Julie!

  • February 12, 2014 Alexa

    Somehow I missed this post! I am SO jealous! What a wonderful trip, and I’m glad it worked out for you two to get together! Now I want to go visit Jennie in Paris! ;-)
    Alexa recently wrote…Newborn Health Action PlanMy Profile

    • February 12, 2014 Alison

      It was wonderful! You should absolutely go back to Paris AND meet Jennie!

  • February 13, 2014 Adrienne

    I couldn’t wait to come by and read through some of the posts from your trip. I pretty much suck at making my rounds these days but kept thinking about you while you were on your trip. This post made cry! So beautiful! Friends are amazing and blog friends are even more amazing and blog friends you meet in real life are even more amazing than that! I haven’t gotten to meet anyone IRL life yet, but I’m hoping to change that this year. I love that your families got to spend time together. Magical!
    Adrienne recently wrote…It’s not always about homeschool!My Profile

    • February 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for thinking of me! I hope you get to meet some of your bloggy friends soon. It’s such an awesome experience.

  • February 24, 2014 Phoebe

    I’m adoring spending time on your blog! Newest follower on Bloglovin! I’m hoping to travel more in my future (and by more I mean at all). I definitely hope those adventures include France! Lovely blog :)
    have an amazing day!

    feel free to stop by anytime! takenbythelapels.wordpress.com
    Phoebe recently wrote…A Beautiful Day For a Drive.My Profile

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