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A Christmas tale from France

Brightly coloured Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette, 2021


I hope that you and yours are well.

I’m sending you this newsletter from Metz in Moselle, in the northeast of France. I’m here for the Christmas market and to explore the area. And of course, I’ll be telling you more in an upcoming issue of The Good Life France Magazine and website but if you love Christmas markets and cultural cities – put Metz on your bucket list (and follow my journey on Instagram here).

A tale of Christmas in France

Meanwhile back at home, I’ve been thinking about our Christmas team outing – basically that’s me and Mark, my other half. We usually go out for dinner at a local restaurant and we always jokingly suggest that we return to a restaurant we went to several years ago in a seaside town called Berck, not too far from where we live. It was a spur of the moment decision influenced by the fact that it was the only place open for miles – even so it was empty, which should have been a warning sign.

It was dark inside, rickety old wooden tables paired with wobbly chairs, bottles and glasses were piled higgledy-piggledy on shelves behind the dark wood bar. An elderly barman lunged into view from the swing door at the back after several minutes of us calling ‘bonjour… anyone?’.

‘Bonjour’ he yelled loudly as if he was talking to someone outside the restaurant – with the door closed. ‘Sit, sit. Do you want an aperitif?’ And with this he poured himself a glass of absinthe which he downed swiftly after sniffing energetically with a rather large, very red nose.

I have to say, when he delivered our plates of inedible cassoulet, we considered trying a drop of absinthe ourselves thinking that a touch of self-induced madness might get us through the terror of eating there.

We’ll probably stick to our local auberge where everyone knows our name, and they’re always glad to see us…

Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life

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Read the whole newsletter here or take a sneaky peak at some of what’s in it:

Recipe: Beret-wearing French gingerbread men! 

Weekly spotlight: Paris at Christmas from your armchair

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