Living Dangerously in Provence

“The bull has escaped!”

I looked up to see a thousand pounds of anger barreling down the street at me. Everyone scattered, frantically jumping over the metal barriers to safety. The bull thundered past, followed by closely by French cowboys on horseback. It was a terrifying moment, the kind you remember all your life.

Read the rest of the story at Perfectly Provence.

You Speak French and You Don’t Even Know It!

“Let’s get a table in the front part of the restaurant. We can watch television and look at the menu while we wait for my cousin.”

Table, part, restaurant, television, menu, and cousin — those are all French words, even spelled the same way as in French. And if you order salad and onion soup, that’s three more (salade, oignon, soupe). You’re speaking French!

As much as half of the English language comes from French. Even Queen Elizabeth’s royal coat of arms is in French! Read all about it at Frenchly.

The Art of Being French–Living Like a Local

The French Waiting Room Protocol

France is a country with a lot of social rules. You say “bonjourwhen you enter a store. You have salad at the end of a meal rather than the beginning. You kiss your friends rather than hugging them. And then, there’s French waiting room protocol; it’s very serious business in France.

Learn all about it at My French Life.

Top 100 French Blogs and Websites for Francophiles

I’m thrilled to announce that this website, Life in Provence, has been named by Feedspot as one of the Top 100 French Blogs and Websites for Francophiles. Many thanks to all of you who read and share my stories.

The Top 100 list includes plenty of terrific sites and I encourage you to check it out. Here are a few of my favorites.


Perfectly Provence. If you want news and stories about Provence, don’t miss this one! Food, travel, sights to see, recipes, current happenings–it’s all here.

My French Life – Ma Vie Francaise. Lots of interesting stories about French culture, lifestyle, language, history and more. Check out the French book club, an online group that reads and discusses a different French book each month.

Frenchly. News, art, style, culture and all things French, including plenty of funny stories.

The Good Life France. This is one of the best websites out there for things to do and see in France. Plus it’s entertaining as Janine Marsh tells us about life in her little corner of France, along with her dozens of ducks, geese, chickens, cats and dogs.

The Provence Post. Another great site about Provence, with lots of information for those planning to travel to this beautiful area.

France Travel Tips. Janice Chung has been to France dozens of times, tracking down fascinating but lesser-known places to see. Here she shares her tips with us.

Oui in France. Diane moved to France with her French husband and shares stories of life as an American expat in France.

French Word-A-Day. Follow the adventures of an American expat in France and learn French while you do!

The French Village Diaries. Entertaining stories about life in a small French town, plus frequent reviews of books set in France.

A French Collection. Funny stories of a family that somehow splits its time between France and Australia.


French Baby Names: Chloé oui, Nutella non

Americans can call their children practically anything they want. Beyoncé’s daughter is named Blue Ivy. Frank Zappa’s kids are Moon Unit and Dweezil. And unusual names are not just for the offspring of celebrities—people have actually named their kids Cheese, Fairy, and Jag.

This is not the case in France, where courts can reject a name if it is not in the best interest of the child. So can a French couple call their child Manhattan? How about Mini Cooper? Or Nutella? Non, non, and non. French courts have rejected those names and more.

Read all about the long history of French baby-naming laws at Frenchly.

Secrets of St-Rémy: Shady Canal Walks

The area around St-Rémy-de-Provence is wonderful for hiking. The Alpilles Mountains are crisscrossed with well-marked trails that offer fabulous views.

But let’s face it, who wants to schlep through the mountains on a hot summer day? Isn’t there a better way to stretch your legs and still see beautiful countryside?

Yes—a canal walk.

St-Rémy is surrounded by agriculture—vineyards, olive groves, and fields growing fruits and vegetables of all kinds. A vast network of canals, built around the main Canal des Alpines, supports it all. This canal and its offshoots are like a bunch of little rivers with pleasant, shady walking paths alongside them.

My favorite starting point is from Domaine Milan, a winery just outside of town. From there you can follow the path to the right and go for miles, with wonderful views of vineyards and the Alpilles beyond.

If you instead go left from Domaine Milan, you will quickly come to a place where the canal branches into two. Follow the left fork and you’ll amble towards town, passing bassins full of croaking frogs and the occasional peep into someone’s back yard.

If you instead take the fork to the right, you’ll pass a little waterfall as the canal drops down to a lower level. Tourists like to stop here to take pictures of it.

If you continue along this branch of the canal, you’ll soon cross over the main road—what looks like an overpass from below is actually an elevated canal!

Continue for a mile or so you will be rewarded with beautiful views down onto St.-Rémy itself.

The network of canals extends far beyond St-Rémy, towards Eygalières in the east, St.-Ètienne-du-Grès in the west and towns like Maillane in the north. Check Google Maps to trace their path and find a spot to begin your walk. It’s an unbeatable way to get some cool exercise on a hot day.

Ask the French: Sex, Food and Conspiracy Theories

Which politician would you like to have a beer with? It’s a typical survey question. And as you would expect, a recent French poll named president Emmanuel Macron the winner.

Less typical was when French pollsters asked, Which politician would you like to have a summer fling with? French women responded with enthusiasm. (If they asked that same question here, American women would take one look at our politicians and immediately book a flight to France.)

The French love their polls and they cover every subject imaginable. Sure, there are the usual questions about political parties, potential legislation, and the state of the economy. But then there are the fun ones…

Read all about it at Frenchly.

Gluten-Free in France

France is famous for its breads, like crusty baguettes, flaky croissants, and rich pain au chocolat. The best! But what if you live a gluten-free life? Can you still visit la belle France?

Bien sûr! France has plenty of gluten-free (GF) options, whether you are dining out or cooking in. Here are some pointers to get you started.

Read about how to live GF in France at Frenchly.  Bon appétit !