C’est Une Maison Bleue

As a child, I listened to Maxime Le Forestier’s song “San Francisco” over and over again, searching for clues. Surely, he was singing about my family’s neighborhood! His descriptions of houses leaning up against hills, of a city cloaked and swimming in fog, the light, the crazies and long hairs playing guitar were exactly what I saw looking out my bedroom window. I knew exactly what he was talking about, but in my kid brain, I figured I must be wrong. How could someone know so intimately the landscape of my American home, yet praise it in our secret language, French? It confused me in the same way that “Rendezvous,” the name of a local bar on Divisadero Street, confused me. Was the bar French? How do you pronounce “Rendezvous” in English? Wren-dez-vowss?

Imagine my excitement when I finally learned that Maxime Le Forestier was indeed singing about my neighborhood! And that his “maison bleue accrochée à ma mémoire” is just down the hill from the house I grew up in, the one my parents still live in. Those Victorian houses are hooked into my memory too, curlicuing their way from past to present, forever climbing the hill up to Liberty.

I was reminded of Maxime Le Forestier because he played last week in Boulogne-Billancourt. If you’re a fan of French chansons, I recommend signing up for his newsletter to get all of the latest info.

C’est une maison verte…