Daylesford resident sharing stories of life in France through poetry

HAPPY: Danielle Lacroix has recorded her interesting life story in bi-lingual poetry books, which she wrote and illustrated herself. Photo: Dylan Burns
HAPPY: Danielle Lacroix has recorded her interesting life story in bi-lingual poetry books, which she wrote and illustrated herself. Photo: Dylan Burns

Danielle Lacroix grew up in the vibrant streets of Paris, which influenced her to write and illustrate a book of poetry.

Ms Lacroix went to boarding school in Neuilly and due to her living in central Paris, visited many historical and cultural sites from a young age.

She visited her family’s barges and ran through the old lanes in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where her family can be traced back more than 800 years.

She often visited her uncle, who lived in Auvers-sur-Oise, where she recalls enjoying playing in an old staircase at a friend’s house.

The staircase, situated in a cafe that now doubles as a museum, leads to the room where renowned painter Vincent van Gogh lived. 

“I could often go in the bedroom where painted Van Gogh spent his last months,” Ms Lacroix said.

Later in life, Ms Lacroix studied the operatic singing technique taught by Jacques Pottier, from the Opera of Paris, as well as acting, with Luc Ritz, at the Paris Conservatoire.

At age 45, she migrated to Australia. She studied at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, where she completed a Masters Degree and a Thesis.

She has also regularly appeared on French radio station 3EA and has taught French at a number of schools.

“Teaching French can be difficult because kids here are not taught grammar…English is taught differently,” she said.

“But I love teaching, transmitting, giving.” 

After moving to Daylesford, Ms Lacroix established the Conservatoire d’Opera for the University of the Third Age. She is currently in the process of opening a similar enterprise in Ballarat.

“Anyone can sing. If you can speak, you can sing,” she laughed. 

Her other passion is writing. She plans to write a second and then a third poetry book.

“My poems come from Paris. They come from inside. I feel nearly sick, and then I have to write.”

She hopes schools will take on her books of French poetry, which have the English translation alongside it, as teaching aids so more children can learn French.