Monday, May 24, 2010

On Location: In Vietnam, Recreating French Roots

In Valerie Gregori McKenzie's childhood home in Toulouse, France, the exotic was never far. Family lore was rooted in colonial Algiers, where three generations of Gregoris had lived until Algeria’s war for independence forced their return to France in 1961.

“I was raised in a family where the past took place in a dream country that didn’t exist anymore,” she said. “As an adult, I wanted to find it, and recreate it for my children.”

After stints in Paris, Los Angeles, and Nevis (of which she’s also a citizen), in 1992, Ms. Gregori McKenzie, 46, settled here in Vietnam, later establishing Song, an environment-friendly line of casual wear and home linens.

But it took 11 years before she found a home where she could recreate her family’s roots. And surprisingly, it was a dimly lit, termite-infested, 40-year-old property on the Saigon River in An Phu, an affluent enclave of expatriates about a 20-minute drive from the city center.  more at the NewYorkTimes>>

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