“Go to Annecy; there you will find a good and charitable lady…” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Confessions
Sometimes I wonder if I do this in purpose. Just to make my life tiny bit more difficult. If I pick up these travel guides to a new destination from one of the most unlikely library shelves. 800 pages of the Mediterranean history to visit French Riviera, Thomas Aquinas to understand Dublin better (via Joyce, naturally). This time: philosophy. Or, autobiography. Depends on how you look at it. Best just to say philosophical autobiography, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions is exactly that: a life’s story tangled with philosophical quests.
But how to sell a philosophical journey to nowadays’ glossy travel magazines, how to make a blog post alluring for all adventure seekers out there when you have words “philosophy”, “autobiography” and “18th century” screaming from the headline?
So I give up. I make Annency about romance as I walk its rainy streets, alone and with wet shoes.
I give up to the romance of Rousseau. Rousseau met the love of his life here; Madame de Warens, a little bit older, wiser and sophisticated creature Rousseau called his “mama”. Other loves came and went, other pretty faces and laughing eyes passed, but it was Madame de Warens who stayed in the philosopher’s heart, yet not life, till the end.
This is a little photo (Instagram) essay on Annecy and, let’s be poetical, on the romance of rain and sunshine.
“Always surrounded by walls, I had nothing before my eyes except the roofs of houses or the dull grey of the streets. How vividly I felt the charm of novelty, which strengthened my inclination to tender emotions! I looked upon this enchanting landscape as another of my dear patroness’s kindness…I saw her everywhere, in the midst of the flowers and verdure; her charms and those of spring melted together insensibly before my eyes. My heart, until then restricted, expanded in this unconfined space, and my thoughts found freer vent amongst the fruit gardens.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions