I’m thrilled to let you know that the audio-book version of Are We French Yet? has just been published. The reader is Doug Schuetz, a talented voice actor who just happens to be my old college roommate! We’ve stayed in touch over the years, mostly holiday cards and such, and this was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect, share memories, and have fun during the recording.
Doug and I live on opposite coasts so he would record a few chapters, send them to me for review, and then make any corrections. His only stipulation when he agreed to the project was that I not “go all Martin Scorsese” and try to tell him how to do his job. As Doug put it, “You’re a terrific author but not an actor or a director—I’m the professional. Let’s each do what we’re good at.” He said it in a lighthearted manner but I got the point.
And I love the result! He made my funny stories even funnier by the way he read them. A few times while listening, I would call Val into the room and tell her, “You’ve just got to hear this!”
The audio-book is available from Amazon here and would make a great Christmas gift for the France-lover in your life. And to get things rolling, I have six copies to give away. Just let me know in the comment below that you’d like one , by next Wednesday the 11th, and I’ll pick the winners from those who enter.
The New York Review of Books called it, “The runaway best seller of nineteenth-century France, possibly the greatest best seller of all time.”
The Washington Post described it as, “Aristocrats with secrets, a prostitute with a heart of gold, criminals nicknamed the Schoolmaster and the She-Wolf, an evil lawyer, thwarted love, blackmail and conspiracy—this is a sprawling novel that packs in everything and then adds more.”
What is it? Les Mystères de Paris / The Mysteries of Paris, the book that inspired Victor Hugo to write Les Misérables. Almost as interesting as the book is the author himself, a man born to privilege (his godmother was Empress Josephine) who became one of the leading Socialists of his day.
The book is ripping good fun in either French or English. Read all about it at My French Life!
Val and I live part of the year in St-Rémy and we’ve tried to become as local as we can. An important part of that is getting to know our region’s history.
One way we’ve done this is through local associations, which are groups organized around a common interest. Associations are popular in France and every town and village has at least a few. They might be cultural, charitable, athletic—you name it. A friend of ours is in a walking group and she joins fellow members for “randonnées” in the countryside every weekend.
We’ve made it a point to go to lectures put on by our town’s historical society. Want to know about the women of the French Resistance? How about what the Pont d’Avignon looked like before it collapsed? Or maybe the REAL story of Mary Magdalene in Provence?
Read all about it at Perfectly Provence!
Ancient ships that have survived until today are few and far between. Maybe the best known is the Gokstad Viking ship in Oslo, dating back to the ninth century. But far older is the Roman barge at the Museum of Ancient Arles, in Provence. This 2,000-year-old vessel is the highlight of a museum that is a must-see for any lover of Roman history.
With a mint-condition bust of Julius Caesar (check those wrinkles!), beautiful mosaics, jewelry and much more, you’ll want to visit this museum on your next trip to Provence.
Read all about it at France Today!
Google knows a lot about us, A LOT. We ask it billions of questions and it keeps track of every one of them, constantly tallying what we really want to know. For example, a few of the top questions that Americans asked last year were, “Where is my refund?” (tax day), “Can dogs eat apples?” (yes), and “Is Europe a country?” (time to go back to school!)
Google uses its vast database to aid us when we pose a question, using auto-fill to complete what it thinks we are going to ask. So when we type “Why is”, Google might complete our question with “the sky blue?”—another of last year’s most popular queries.
This means we can use auto-fill to find out what people really think about a subject. As an American who lives part-time in Provence, I was curious what my fellow citizens ask about this magnificent corner of the world.
Find out what I learned at Perfectly Provence!
France is known for great literature. Think of all those famous authors–Hugo, Balzac, Proust, Camus, Flaubert, and more. Ok, maybe we haven’t read a lot of them but Les Mis was terrific, wasn’t it?
Out of all the books written by French authors, which one is the best? Maybe Madame Bovary? The Stranger? In Search of Lost Time? Or maybe the beloved Little Prince?
I decided to find out. You might be surprised by what I learned.
Read all about it in My French Life!
I was asked recently by Taste of France Magazine to name my favorite restaurants in Provence. “Well, that’s easy,” I thought, until they told me to limit my list to five. But there are so many wonderful places to eat! Even in my village of St-Rémy I can easily come up with more than five.
But rules are rules so my wife Val and I put our heads together and came up with our list. It’s a mix of styles and prices and you might want to check it out for your next visit to beautiful Provence.
You can read all about it at Taste of France.
France might have the best bread in the world – baguettes, croissants, brioches, and much more. And don’t forget the pastries! Is there anything better than a rich French éclair?
But what if you can’t eat any of it? An estimated 7% of the population has a gluten intolerance of one sort or another. Can those unfortunate people eat safely in France? How do they navigate food stores and restaurants?
I faced this dilemma a few years ago when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, the most severe form of gluten intolerance. Given that my wife Val and I live part of the year in Provence, this was shocking news indeed—what would I eat? The good news is that we figured it out and now I eat very well! Let me share some of what we’ve learned.
Read my top tips for avoiding gluten in The Good Life France!
My wife Val and I live part of the year in Provence and we love all the great local wines. They come in any color you like—red, white, and pink—and range from inexpensive quaffers to bottles you’d be proud to serve to anyone.
Over time we’ve visited many of the local wineries and some of them we go back to year after year. I’ve put together a list of our favorites, all of which have nice tasting rooms and (usually) English-speaking staff. If you are looking for some tasty bottles and a fun experience, check out my recommendations at Perfectly Provence.
Patricia Sands is at it again! The author of the popular Love in Provence series has just published a novella, A Season of Surprises at the Villa des Violettes.
Readers are treated to a new chapter in the lives of our favorite Love in Provence characters—newlyweds Kat and Philippe, their wise neighbor Simone, Kat’s wacky friend Molly, and all the rest of the gang. Kat is opening a bed and breakfast at the Villa and preparations are frantic as the first customers are about to arrive. But then something goes terribly wrong…
Read all about it at Perfectly Provence!