Here is a link to the French to English translations I have compiled for your reading aid.
With hills greener than the pears that grew there and vines growing up the stone walls of the once brightly painted buildings, now faded and antiqued, Rose was sure Domfront emerged from a Monet painting. As she walked down the stone streets past rows and columns of windows, she remembered how much she adored her home. She just wished her family lived here with her. It had been about a month since they had last visited, and that time she had tried to convince Vi to come work with her but her parents had adamantly refused. Rose had been working for her aunts since forever because her parents needed the money, which is why she didn’t understand the need for the extra money Vi would bring in. Trying to shake off the troubled feeling that her family brought on, she stopped outside la pâtisserie to to take in the smells.
Every Friday morning was le marché, and Rose was always sent out to do the shopping while her aunts handled the store. Fridays brought in a lot of tourists because of le marché. It also meant la pâtisserie had extra special treats. After double checking the remaining items on her list and the money allotted by Fleur, she decided to make a quick trip inside. “Bonjour, Remy! Comment ça va?”
“Ça va, Rose!” The short pâtissier popped up from behind the counter, wearing his usual giant grin.
“What specialties did you come up with pour ce marché?”
“Well I have the usual cakes and pastries, but I also have this.” He pulled out a tray of chocolate coated éclairs. “Try one!”
She laughed at his enthusiasm and took a bite of one. “Oh, Strawberries!”
He nodded enthusiastically. “They’re all full of surprises! All different fruits, and a few even have peanut butter.”
“That’s a fun idea! Did it bring in customers?”
“Actually it was Marie’s idea, and yes, today’s been good considering the summer traveling season being over. How about your aunts?”
“I haven’t been back yet. I’ve taken my time with my rounds today. No one’s coming to visit today so I have all day free. I barely get out of that shop so I’m enjoying the fresh air, and the delicious éclairs.” She laughed at how pleased he was with his pastries. “S’il te plaît, I would like to take some back for my aunts.”
Remy rang her up as they chatted some more about his pastry creations. As she left clutching the bag of éclairs, she turned back to face le pâtissier and added, “You and your wife are the best there is, Remy!” Then she pushed open the door with her back and turned right into a young man, causing her to drop the bags she was carrying of everything she had bought earlier. “Excusez-moi! Watch where you’re going!”
“Zut! Je suis désolé! Let me help you with those.” He tried to help her gather the groceries back into the bags.
“Just give them to me.” She took her bag out of his hands and turned to leave.
“Attendez!” He chased after her. “Let me help you. Those are some big bags. Where are you headed?” He took one of the grocery bags out of her hands despite her protests and continued to follow her.
“What are you doing?”
“Helping. Now, where am I taking these?”
“You wouldn’t know if I told you. You don’t live here.”
“How did you know that?”
“This is a tiny town. We’re all very close, and not just because of the contiguous architecture.”
Irritated she continued. “I know everyone in this town. I’ve never seen you before, so correct me if I’m wrong but you’ve never been to Domfront before.”
“You’re exactly right. I needed to get away and a friend told me about this little town, so I came.”
“I don’t really care. Why are you still here? You already apologized for running into me.”
“Am I not allowed to be nice?”
“Nice people don’t exist outside of Domfront.”
“Have you ever been outside of Domfront?”
“Then how would you know that?”
“Because that’s what my parents always say.”
“Have your parents ever left Domfront?”
“My parents don’t live in Domfront.” Her expression changed from mild annoyance to completely guarded. “I live with my mom’s three aunts.”
“Hey, I’m sorry.” He reached out and grabbed her arm to stop her quick pace and look her directly in the eyes. “Really, I’m sorry.”
“I know.” She pulled her arm free, took back her grocery bag, and trudged off leaving him standing there, completely bewildered. As she headed home, she started to feel guilty for how she treated him. It was just strange to meet a new person. After growing up knowing everyone, she wasn’t used to making new friends because the tourists were never that friendly. It wasn’t until she got back to La Robe Rose that she realized she hadn’t even asked his name, which made her feel more guilty for her rude treatment.
“Bonjour, chère! How was your day off?” Mystie welcomed her as she walked into the shop.
“Bien, Tante Mysite.” She placed the bags on the store counter. “The weather is so lovely outside. I love autumn.”
Fleur and Faline entered the shop floor from the back and kissed their niece’s cheeks. “Did you get everything on the list?” Faline asked.
“Oui, and I stopped by la pâtisserie for des éclairs aussi.” She handed over the change. “I’m going to put everything away and head back out for a little bit, c’est bien?”
“Oui, c’est bien. Just be home by 22 heures.”
“Toujours, Tante Faline.” She smiled as she grabbed the bags and headed to the back room and upstairs to their apartment. After quickly putting everything away, she grabbed her bag and headed back out. Ten minutes later, Rose was reminded of another reason why she loved this town. It was perfect for those who enjoyed spending their evenings curled up with a good book, which was exactly what she had planned for the rest of her day. After a quick stop for a non alcoholic Domfront Perry, she was settled down under a pear tree on the Château de Domfront grounds with Les Misérables. As she read, she felt contentment swell inside her. Life was good.
“Do you hear the people sing?”
Rose was wrenched from the world of her book by that familiar voice. Looking up she saw the same young man who had irritated her so much earlier. “Are you following me?”
“I asked you first.” He sat down next to her and peeked over to see the book.
“Just so you know, I don’t appreciate the musical as much as the book. I’d much rather read it than 'hear the people sing' it.”
“Alright then, merci. No, I am not following you. I just find it ironic that I ran into you again.”
“Well I appreciate the fact that you were considerate enough not to take that literally this time.”
He laughed. “It’s nice to see you have a sense of humor.”
The guilt of her poor treatment earlier came back. “Je suis désolée. I was rude earlier. You just surprised me. It’s very rare for tourists to act like you do, and I’m just not used to it.”
“Should I take that as a compliment? I’m unique but weird. I didn’t realize being friendly was so uncommon. Well, I accept your apology. And now to continue being friendly, I will let you get back to Jean Valjean. Don’t let me interrupt.”
“You already did interrupt.”
He laughed as he sauntered away, leaving Rose confused but more at ease. He was very strange. She had certainly never met anyone like...she still hadn’t gotten his name.
She stood and called after him. “Hey! I didn’t catch your name.”
“Phillippe. And you are?”
“It’s very nice to meet you, Rose.” He bowed grandly before turning and heading off again.
Rose laughed to herself as she settle back down to continue reading, but it was hard to get Phillippe off her mind. He was definitely unique, not that it mattered because she’d probably never see him again.