Souvenirs de Paris
soov-neer duh paa-REE. Click below to hear this.*
Memories of Paris
It’s ambiguous, really. Un souvenir is a memory, which is why the trinkets we stuff into the corners of our suitcases are so powerful. They conjure our magic memories of a place, even if the objects themselves are cheap, garish, mass-produced, and imported from some other faraway place.
It’s the de that is tricky. It can mean both of and from. So what do we mean when we scrawl Souvenirs de Paris on the back of a postcard? (Does anyone even send postcards anymore, other than ma soeur aînée?) It could mean Here is a reminder of Paris for you. Or it could mean I am in Paris, and I am remembering you.
But if you write a book called Souvenirs d’enfance, that’s not the cigar box full of treasures, though they may warrant a mention. It’s an autobiography: Memories of My Childhood. The tiny bronze Eiffel Tower plays no role here. It is you, using your best words to recreate the overwhelming sheer joy of being in a place and at a time.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: