Isabelle, my roommate, was a beautiful woman from Marseilles with large green eyes and an elegant figure, who had grown up and developed intellectually during the long years of the Mitterrand government. I had met her by chance at one of the summer concerts organized on the grounds of the Pompidou Center, and had been seduced by her easy laughter, her childlike enthusiasm, her relentless curiosity and… her singular interest in all things foreign. In a Paris swamped with Arab immigrants and ultra-conservative xenophobes, it was hard for a foreigner to find acceptance among the locals. You could familiarize yourself with all the main streets of Paris, speak French without an accent, identify every dish of French cuisine, but… only French citizenship could give you style, class and grace. For the French, heritage defined the status of the individual. Paris, that axis of the fusion of many cultures, in reality professed an implicit rejection of the barbarians from the world outside. Isabelle’s openness to me was therefore an oasis.