Mi Amiga de Francia

I introduce her as “mi amiga de Francia” (my friend from France), but she is so much more than that. Marie-Laure, who is visiting me here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and I have been friends for forty-four years; and I feel she’s given me the world. Or at least opened doors and windows to it I would not have accessed otherwise.

On a recent walk down the street where I now live, we tried to calculate the many places in the world where we’ve traveled together over the years.

Marie-Laure took this photo of me on the street where I now live
Marie-Laure took this photo of me on the street where I now live

To begin with: We met in the summer of 1972, when I was twenty-seven and she twenty-four,  on the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean, on a tennis court. She and her then-boyfriend had only one racket between them, and I had two. Our lasting friendship grew from that brief loan.

From there, she visited me in NYC many times and once in Taos. I stayed at her small flat in Paris’s 16th Arrondissement nearly a dozen times and then in her house in the Paris suburbs, which she inherited when her mom died. During various summers (she is a retired teacher), we did the wine route down the center of France together, traveled around Scotland together, and visited the South of France, Monaco, and Greece together. She even visited me in Mali, West Africa, when I lived there.

Marie-Laure taught me how to travel: How to pack (lightly), how to keep one’s eyes and mind open to the newness of it all, how to appreciate the world’s diversity and the oneness of the human family.

She is out now, wandering around San Miguel by herself, totally happy to take it all in on her own. So I am free to write this post quietly before she returns. There are a million memories of our travels I could share, but I’ll focus on the NOW now. Here are just a few photos to better acquaint you with mi amiga de Francia:

M-L with a croissant from Cumpanio, the best French bakery in San Miguel
M-L with a croissant from Cumpanio, the best French bakery in San Miguel
She is dazzled by everything here in Mexico -- especially the colors
She is dazzled by everything here in Mexico — especially the colors
In my new apartment she modeled the "froggy" pj's she'd found at the Tianguis (huge Tuesday market), like a happy kid
In my new apartment she modeled the “froggy” pj’s she’d found at the Tianguis (huge Tuesday market), like a happy kid

In a recent blog post I wrote about old and new friendships — gold and silver. This friendship is pure gold, and I’m ineffably grateful for her visit.

14 thoughts on “Mi Amiga de Francia”

  1. I enjoy your blog very much, however, I am a little disturbed by the caption on one of your photos stating Cumpanio is the best French Bakery in San Miguel. Not your favorite, but the best. I, as many will, totally disagree, To me there is no comparison between your choice and mine, Petit Four French Bakery on Calle Mesones. I feel it is unfair to compare businesses solely on one’s personal opinion. To make the statement that one is berrer than the other is unfair unlees qualified by “in my opinion”. Preferring Petit Four is my personal opinion.

    1. So glad you’re enjoying the blog, Toni. And you’re right, I should have specified that Cumpanio is the best French bakery that I’ve found in my new neighborhood — and the favorite of my French friend who is visiting. As the French say, “Chacun ses gouts.”

  2. So happy to read this post, Bonnie, as Michael and I sit in a long line of traffic into the Sand Dunes. M-L is such a great traveler, even bringing new eyes to her hostess. Give her my best, and give each other a hug for me.

  3. Goodness dear Bonnie…Marie-Laurie is not even my friend (yet) but I again moved to tears by your seeing heart and the warmth of your beautiful writing.

  4. The owner of Buena Vida is French and provides product to many bakeries in SMA. It is across from the Bellas Artes
    and also has a booth at the Organic mkt on Saturday….
    Another place to try. I’m so so looking forward to getting home
    on Tuesday night.

  5. loved this entry, Bonnie. Ah, the special treasure of old friendships. It sounds as though you’re nicely settled there and I’m very happy for you. This is a beautiful month in Taos, roses and peonies blooming now as well as honeysuckle. Warm days, finally and I continue my working (sometimes) at the gallery and gardening at home (I’ll never catch up!), but still I continue to weed, my favorite meditation. Cuidate mucho….susanna

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