Do The French Take Too Much Vacation?

You’re probably familiar with the stereotype: the French are always on vacation. And it’s true that they get a lot of time off — not including public holidays, the French enjoy an average of 30 business days off per year, compared to only 16 in the United States.

Taking several weeks off in the summer is a French tradition. In fact, the summer season is so busy that it’s hard for everyone to vacation at the same time, so some go in July and some in August. There are even nicknames for them: the July vacationers are juilletistes (from the word juillet, for July) and the August vacationers are aoûtiens (août means August).

What’s not clear is if all that time off hurts the French economy. Should those français and française quit sipping wine and get back to work?

Read all about it at Frenchly!

Fresh and Local in St-Rémy

Val and I love trying new restaurants in St-Rémy, and one of our recent discoveries is A la Table de Nicolas. The chef is a Master Restauranteur, always a mark of quality, and the food is fresh and delicious–mostly organic and sourced from local farmers. And they even do takeout, a rarity in France.

If you are in Provence and want some great and reasonably-pricing dining, this is a place you’ll want to check out!

Read all about it in Perfectly Provence.

How to Become a Parisian in One Hour

One of the hottest shows in Paris in Olivier Giraud’s How to Become a Parisian in One Hour. Over half a million people have seen it…and even the Parisians love it!

If you can’t make it to Paris, Giraud has written a funny book that covers the same material. Ready to try your hand at some French reading? The French version is an easy place to start (there are lots of pictures!)

Read all about the book and the show (including a video clip!) at My French Life.

A Great Website for You

Caroline Longstaffe is a British lady who lives in California and owns a house in Provence. Talk about an international life! A few years ago she and her husband fell in love with the village of Lourmarin, one of the prettiest in France, and bought a place there.

Caroline has a website, Shutters and Sunflowers, where she writes about all things Provence. I love her wonderful photos–they make you want to be there so badly! If you haven’t seen her website before, I encourage you to check it out. I’ve included a couple of her photos here.

Caroline recently reviewed my book so I’ll include a link to that as well. As someone who, like me, splits her time between California and Provence she has a special appreciation for what each has to offer.

Here’s her website and here’s the link to her book review. Happy reading!

An Oasis of Serenity in the Heart of Provence

It’s an oasis of serenity in the heart of Provence. The Auberge la Fenière lies at the foot of a forest-covered hillside, just beyond the charming village of Lourmarin. It’s a hotel and restaurant that have been welcoming guests for decades, with beautiful old buildings made of golden stone. Next to them is a broad, inviting lawn bordered by olive and cherry trees and a large herb garden. You can feel yourself relax the moment you walk in.

The main attraction of the auberge is undoubtedly its restaurant, the proud holder of a Michelin star since 1995. It draws food lovers from all over the world for its refined and creative cuisine. And, remarkably, there’s not a speck of gluten to be found anywhere, even in its many homemade breads.

Why no gluten? Let’s find out—it’s a fascinating story.

Read all about it in France Today!

A Guide to the Chateaux of the Alpilles

If you’ve spent time around the Alpilles, the small mountain range near St-Rémy-de-Provence, you’ve probably spotted a medieval chateau or two. Some are hard to miss, like the one above the fortified city of Les Baux. Others are little more than piles of rubble.

The Alpilles were once dense with chateaux of all shapes and sizes. But why so many? And what happened to them? Here’s some history, plus a guide to the chateaux that you can still visit today.

Read all about it at Perfectly Provence!

What Did the Pont d’Avignon Originally Look Like?

Sur le Pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse, l’on y danse
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse tous en rond

Many of us learned that song as kids, about the famous Pont d’Avignon in Provence. For those of us lucky enough to see the real bridge in all its glory, we are often surprised because it’s rather short—only about 100 yards long and ending partway across the Rhone River.

Much of the original Pont d’Avignon tumbled into the Rhone centuries ago, a victim of inadequate construction and poor maintenance. Today it’s hard to imagine what it looked like when it was nearly a mile long and spanned the entire river. Was it straight or curved? Was it fortified? Did it have a drawbridge in the middle?

Luckily, a group of scientists and historians has discovered what the bridge looked like and has created a full 3D model of it. There’s even a video that shows what it was like to cross from one side to the other and back!

Read all about it at The Good Life France!

Book Review: (not quite) Mastering the Art of French Living

It’s summer: time for long, lazy days and maybe a book or two. Looking for something good to read? Then check out this hilarious true story of an American who buys a house in a tiny village in Brittany and begins living there part of the year.

As a part-time expat myself, I find that author Mark Greenside does an exceptional job of describing the many fish-out-of-water moments of life abroad. He also writes movingly about how his experiences in a new land have changed him. This is a book not to be missed!

Check out my review in My French Life.

Going to the Market in St-Rémy

One of the best things about Provence is being able to go to the outdoor markets, and there’s a market every day in one village or another near where we stay in St-Rémy. You get to taste samples, buy delicious produce, rub elbows with the locals–it’s great! And we are lucky because the best market of all is our own, held every Wednesday morning. One of our favorite things to do is to get up early and wander over to see what’s available.

What’s it like to go to our market? Follow me and find out!

Read all about it in Perfectly Provence.

Those Crazy French Political Parties

In most countries, it’s hard for a political party to get on the ballot, but not so in France. In fact, a whopping 34 different parties were on the ballot in the recent election for the European Parliament. And not all of them are what you would call mainstream.

Do you love pirates? Does the “universal language” of Esperanto set your heart aflutter? Do you think it’s time to dispense with this democracy nonsense and bring back the King? Then France has a political party for you!

Read all about it in Frenchly!