This is not a typical blog, because it doesn't provide all the interactive whistles and bells of many blogs; although I would welcome comments by email -- just send them to

I am a native Parisian, born in the Momartre area of Paris just below the Sacre Coeur. I was taught at an early age to love the English language, and took many trips to England and the U.S. to learn English.


Who would have thought that virtual French classes could be practical and fun. To my surprise, my Vive La France School classes on Zoom have proven to be equal to my in-person classes. Actually, they seem to be even more fun and a better learning experience. Now a student can see the faces of the whole class at the same time, and hear everyone clearly. And my classes can now have distant students from anywhere in the world. I love it. I'm trying to figure out how I can do both in-person and virtual classes after the pandemic is over.


All of us were shocked and saddened by the horrific Notre Dame fire. But it was amazing how the citizens of the World rushed in with support for our "Lady" of Paris. Shortly after the tragic fire, my husband and I stayed in Paris several blocks from Notre Dame. It was with some hesitation that we ventured down the street leading to the cathedral. My husband went first, and came back with a glorious photo of Notre Dame -- Still elegant in spite of her chaos. You can see this photo at the beginning of my Blog. It will take years before Notre Dame is restored completely, but she is and will always be the crowning symbol of Paris, more than that, a crowning symbol of elegance for the entire civilized world.
When I was about five years old, my mother took me to the beach in the Basque region of France. I had such fond memories of that trip that I convinced my husband to spend a week in St Jean-de-Luz and the surrounding area. But the highlight was a visit to an old hotel where my mother and I stayed many years ago. It overlooks the beach and is a grand example of Art Deco from the 20's. The Basque influence is everywhere in the area. It is different from the frantic lifestyle of the Riviera and Paris.


Nineteen years ago it was announced that a temple would be built in Paris. And finally it was completed this year. The location is actually in Le Chesnay, a suburb of Paris, but everyone calls it the Paris Temple. It is a beautiful building inside and out with an unusual decor accented with a rose flower motif which adds to the gentle and peaceful ambience of an edifice built to honor God. We visited the temple as part of our 2017 French tour, and will make arrangements for others to visit it.
My husband and I traveled to Paris just a week after the infamous ISIS massacre. Many of our friends in America said that they would be afraid to travel to France so soon after the attack. But what we saw in Paris surprised us. We felt as safe as if we were at home in the U.S. People were in the streets and in the shops as though nothing had happened. The French Gendarmes were everywhere and very efficient. The French truly are amazing.

Recently I got reacquainted with my cousin, Pascale, in Paris whom I haven't seen for over 40 years. It happened thanks to Facebook and my daughter in Washington. My cousin, Pascale, and I were good friends when she was a pre-teen, but then we lost touch. Six months ago, Pascale looked for me with my married name on Facebook, but she only found my daughter, then through my daughter she got my email address and contacted me. We've been emailing back and forth ever since. Then the first of December, my husband and I visited her and her family in France. It was wonderful to catch up on our lives. We both hit it off just as if we had never been apart.

Christmas Market
We visited Strasbourg for a couple of days during the Christmas season. And we learned why many call Strasbourg the Christmas capital of Europe. Christmas markets were scattered throughout the old district attended by crowds of people in a festive mood. The old half-timbered houses from the 17th century were a wonderful middle-ages background for the festivities. We sipped hot cider nibbled hot chestnuts as we walked along the chilly streets and among the many market booths. We watched the mechanized 12 Apostles march around the clock of the Cathedral of Strasbourg, and took a boat ride around the city at night. It was a nice break for just the two of us, without any appointments or duties. We highly recommend it once in awhile.

Strasbourg Boatride
My husband was born in Southern Utah, and grew up on a farm. His great grandparents crossed the plains and settled in Beaver. Nothing unusual, but I've discovered that he has more French royalty in his ancestry than I do. Figure that. It's not fair. But it must be in his blood, because he loves France, and wouldn't hesitate to take up residence there for a few years.

Colmar of Alsace
I am amazed by the interest in French classes during hard times. It seems people want to hang on to culture and refinement as sort of a substitute for stability in these precarious times. It is comforting to see my students laugh and joke about the peculiarities of the French language, and to see them grasp the nuances of meaning in French. I remember when I came to America and began using my British English in that setting. There were times when the two "Englishes" were confusing -- like the American phrases, "back up" and "pull over" which have a totally different meaning in both countries. Not like my native French which never confuses anyone <smile>.
C'est la vie!

Abbaye de Font Froide

Well, it finally happened. Fame and fortune arrived at my doorstep. Actually it was really the Deseret News delivered un-ceremoniously to my front porch with an article about me by Cathy Free. In her weekly Free Lunch column, Cathy wrote a colorful article about me and my French Heritage. It does provide some interesting and sometimes humorous information about my past. You might want to read it.


My husband and I attended several D-day commemorations, and drove from beach to beach surrounded as it were by dozens of restored WWII army vehicles -- mostly jeeps. It felt like a throw-back in time as we followed jeeps being driven by men and women in WWII uniforms with U.S. insignia patches and flags. Bands in several locations played swing music from the 40's, and on one occasion we stood on a high out-cropping overlooking Arromanches and listened to the faint echoes of swing music with vocals in French. For some hardly explainable reason this was a comforting experience reflecting on a time when the world was clear in its directions. Yes, there was the horror of war and death, but people clearly knew what they were doing, and the unity of allies and the French underground was inspiring. I've mentioned before my grandfather who helped allied airmen to freedom over the Pyrenees into Spain. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I connect to this era in such a positive way.

D-day re-enactors & Catherine

My husband, Don, had an enlightening experience on the Metro in Paris. He sat in front of a group of standing teenagers, obviously cocky and full of themselves. As he watched them an amazing feeling of understanding came to him and he realized that they really feel fragile and insecure and are reaching out to each other to find a feeling of belonging. As they talked loudly and laughed, Don slyly photographed them, was discovered, and then he smiled showing them the photograph and winked. They connected to him immediately and smiled timidly, and for a short moment he was one with them -- they knew it and he knew it. Then the metro stopped and they were gone leaving Don with a feeling of warmth for them that surprised him. As a wise old Arab in Jerusalem once told Don, "Children, the same everywhere." And aren't we all just children trying to find our way?



Paris -- the City of Lights never changes, yet there is something different about it in recent years. Paris seems more "down-to-earth" and busier than before. Perhaps it seems that way because we are older and more easily tired. The drizzling rain doesn't promote the "Paris in Love" kind of feeling, either. This time, my husband arrived two days before me in the middle the early morning rush. He managed to catch the RER from the airport to Gare de Lyon with the help of a Frenchman from San Francisco who was friendly and was going in the same direction, so they talked about France and America and rode the RER to Chatelet. He got off and my husband stayed on for Gare de Lyon.
      Even though he had a satellite map of the station and the street where the B&B was located near Gare de Lyon, he still managed to get "turned around" and wandered in the wrong direction for about an hour. Oh, well, such is life.


One of my husband's Impressionist photos was accepted in the LDS International Art Competition
. There were over a thousand entries and we were happy that his photo was one of the 197 that was accepted. His photo is entitled, "Light of Moroni" and it represents an angel's visit to a humble farm boy in New York. This photo was also part of his special exhibit at the Springville Museum of Art commemorating Joseph Smith's 200th anniversary in 2005.

Light of Moroni

We had an unusual Halloween surprise this year. After a night of unbearable pain the day before Halloween, which my husband thought was acid-reflux; I drove him to InstaCare in Sugarhouse to get some relief. However, within minutes he was aboard an ambulance with sirens screaming headed for the University Hospital with a full-blown diagnosed heart-attack. The University Hospital staff wasted no time, and that evening he had an artery stent in place and was joking with the hospital staff.
     "Trick or Treat" in that setting had a whole new meaning. Fortunately, his heart sustained only minor injury – which was a miracle given the circumstances – and he was reassured that there will be full recovery. In fact, the doctor said that he will probably be healthier than before, because he will be forced to change his life-style – more exercise, fat-free food, etc.
     This has been and will be a life changing experience for all of my family, as we change our diet, physical activities and attitude about life. But Don seems to be doing very well, and is almost his usual self again with, of course, a much different outlook on the fragility and mortality of life. We thank God for His obvious help and for the prayers, visits and kindness of all our friends and family during a trying experience. Needless to say, it was the scariest Halloween in our memories.


Gilbert Ramognino

My husband and I joined AFEES, the WWII Airforces Escape & Evasion Society, to see if we could fine information about the clandestine activities of Gilbert Ramognino, my grandfather, and his experiences during WWII, including his taking 8 allied fliers over the Pyrenees into Spain
during the Nazi occupation of France. We attended the AFEES annual reunion in May and made several contacts with veterans who had been smuggled out of France during the war. One of them, Bruce Bollinger, later went to the National Archives in Maryland and discovered the original escape and evasion report made by my grandfather. Wow! Reading the report sent chills up and down our spines as we reviewed Gilbert's personal account of the harrowing events during their escape over the rugged mountains of the Pyrenees and how he hid the airmen in the snow, and kept curious French towns people from talking to them while they were at the train station with the Gestapo and police everywhere. We were transported back in time, and were filled with respect and awe for those brave French men and women who risked their lives to help the Allies during the war.

Gilbert and his children

Here is a milestone in our lives -- our 43rd wedding anniversary. I guess that doesn't mean much to the casual blog reader, but anyone who stays married for that long has accomplished a minor miracle. You might think I am proud of the feat -- well I am, but I also realize that staying married for that long is a trial of faith. My husband and I have been self employed for almost all of those years, and have been in each other's company for 24 hours a day most of the time. Try that sometime for over a month or two and you'll begin to see why we are amazed at ourselves. Oh, it helps to be "madly" in love, but that wears thin without a real measure of endurance and dedication. We congratulate ourselves <smile>.

Photo of me when we met

So here I am boarding a flight for France once more. But this time I am meeting my husband in Italy to attend a family reunion in Sassello, the little mountain village where my great grandfather Nicolas Ramognino was born. Sassello is also the home of my ancestors before some of them became French. My husband and worked for over a year to organize this family reunion, but we were soon all laughing and talking in three different languages as we stood together on the lawn of the only hotel in the village. There were over 30 relatives from all over Italy and France, and most of them had never met one another. There were tears and smiles as we got to know each other.