Life in Provence is Different

A neighbor who feeds baguettes to the local donkeys? Another who wants you to taste his pig-snout salad? Folks who think Americans all wear cowboy hats and six-shooters?

Yes, life in Provence is different than California. I’m thrilled that a chapter of my new book Are We French Yet? has been featured in France Today. It tells these stories and more. You can read all about it here!

Congratulations to our Winner!

Congratulations to Marjorie from California, the winner of our “write a book review” contest! She wins the lovely Provence gift basket pictured below, which is on its way to her now. Marjorie’s name was chosen randomly from among the several dozen readers who entered.

A big thanks to all of you who have written reviews of Are We French Yet? I so very much appreciate your time and effort. And to those of you who are thinking about writing a review…there’s no gift basket but I’ll appreciate you just as much!

Bises,

Keith

Win a Basket of French Goodies–The Deadline is Almost Here!

Here’s a friendly reminder of my book review contest: I’m offering a prize for those of you who write reviews of my new book. The rules are simple: just leave an Amazon review of Are We French Yet? and you are eligible to win! That’s it! Send me a link to the review* and your name will go into a drawing. The winner will get the basket pictured above, stuffed with French goodies like olive oil, tapenade, Provence herbs and more!

The deadline is January 31, 2019 so you’d better hurry! The drawing will be in early February. Sorry, the contest is only open to US residents.

* Please email me at author@keithvansickle.com

Enter soon for a chance to win!

Win a Basket of French Goodies!

I have two bits of good news for you today. The first is that my new book, Are We French Yet? is now available in paperback. It’s the perfect Christmas gift for the France-lover in your life! You can find it here at Amazon.

The second good news is that I’m offering a prize for those of you who write reviews of Are We French Yet? Authors love reviews and the more the merrier. So I’d like to offer you an incentive to post a review on Amazon.

The rules are simple: just leave an Amazon review of Are We French Yet? and you are eligible to win! That’s it! Send me* a link to the review and your name will go into a drawing. The winner will get the basket pictured above, stuffed with French goodies like olive oil, tapenade, Provence herbs and more!

The deadline is January 31, 2019 and the drawing will be in early February. Sorry, the contest is only open to US residents.

* Please email me at author@keithvansickle.com

Enter soon for a chance to win!

My New Book Has Just Been Published!

I’m very excited to let you know that Are We French Yet? Keith & Val’s Adventures in Provence is now available! It’s the sequel to One Sip at a Timeand I’m thrilled to tell you about it.

Like One Sip at a Time, it’s the story of two part-time expats trying to create a life in France. And it takes a deeper (but still funny!) look at French people and their history, literature, politics, business, sports, and—of course—food and wine.

The Kindle version is available now and the paperback will be out in a few days. Here’s the link on Amazon.

I hope you like it!

Bises,

Keith

 

Can Two Americans Really Become French?

Val and Keith turned their lives upside down when they quit their jobs and began a part-time life in Provence. But they wondered: Can we fit in? And maybe become French ourselves?

Follow their adventures as they slowly unlock the mysteries of France…

– Is it true that French people are like coconuts?

– Can you learn to argue like a French person?

– What books have changed French lives?

– Most important of all, how do you keep your soup from exploding?

There’s more to becoming French than just learning the language. If you want the inside scoop on la belle France, you won’t want to miss this delightful book!

Book Review: The First Noël by Patricia Sands

Few writers capture the sights, sounds, smells and flavors of Provence as well as Patricia Sands. Best known for her best-selling Love in Provence series of books, Sands revisits some of her favorite characters in a new Christmas novella, The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes. Looking for a stocking stuffer for the Provence-lover in your life? Look no further!

You can read my review of Sands’ delightful new book at Perfectly Provence.

Legends of Provence: The Tarasque Monster of Tarascon

I recently picked up a book called Legendes de Provence by Eugene Bressy. It’s a series of short stories about the legends of Provence: famous heroes, spiritual leaders and the occasional monster. Over the next few months I’ll dive into some of these stories and let you decide whether you believe them or not.

I’ll start with the most famous legend of them all, that of the fearsome Tarasque, who terrorized Provence until he met a plucky young lady named…Well, I’ll let you read all about it at Perfectly Provence.

Book Review: (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living

I’ve just finished a gem of a book and would like to share it with you. It’s (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living by Mark Greenside and it is funny as heck. I like to read a book before going to sleep but my wife wouldn’t let me with this one because I kept laughing so hard I was shaking the bed.

Mark is an American who spends every summer in a house he bought in a tiny village in Brittany. Somehow, despite living part-time in France for decades, he has not managed to learn the language. This leads to inevitable mishaps, all of which he describes in a hilarious style. As he puts it, “If you’re lucky, some of the things that happened to me will happen to you. If you’re luckier, they won’t.”

We learn what happens when you accidentally end up in the middle of a combination pig roast / talent show with a busload of elderly French tourists. And what it is like to try and fail (yet again) to prepare a meal that satisfies your French neighbors. There are funny stories about shopping, banking, driving (including a car accident that turns out surprisingly well) and more. Mark has an engaging style that allows him to tell these and other stories with humor and humility.

As someone who lives part-time in France myself, I think that Mark has done an especially good job at describing the cultural differences between France and the United States. And I was touched when he talked about his French friends, people with whom he can barely have a conversation, yet who have become “people I care about and who care about me.”

If you are looking for a book about France that is thoughtful, heartfelt and really, really funny, this is one you won’t want to miss. Highly recommended.

Synopsis

Every year upon arriving in Plobien, the small Breton town where he spends his summers, American writer Mark Greenside picks back up where he left off with his faux pas–filled Francophile life. Mellowed and humbled, but not daunted (OK, slightly daunted), he faces imminent concerns: What does he cook for a French person? Who has the right-of-way when entering or exiting a roundabout? Where does he pay for a parking ticket? And most dauntingly of all, when can he touch the tomatoes?

Despite the two decades that have passed since Greenside’s snap decision to buy a house in Brittany and begin a bi-continental life, the quirks of French living still manage to confound him. Continuing the journey begun in his 2009 memoir about beginning life in France, (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living details Greenside’s daily adventures in his adopted French home, where the simplest tasks are never straightforward but always end in a great story. Through some hits and lots of misses, he learns the rules of engagement, how he gets what he needs―which is not necessarily what he thinks he wants―and how to be grateful and thankful when (especially when) he fails, which is more often than he can believe.

Introducing the English-speaking world to the region of Brittany in the tradition of Peter Mayle’s homage to Provence, Mark Greenside’s first book, I’ll Never Be French, continues to be among the bestselling books about the region today. Experienced Francophiles and armchair travelers alike will delight in this new chapter exploring the practical and philosophical questions of French life, vividly brought to life by Greenside’s humor and affection for his community.

(Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living  is available at Amazon.