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Bon weekend from Annecy

Annecy market on a sunny day, beret-wearing man on bike crosses a cobbled bridge

I hope that you and yours are well.

I’ve been in Annecy and the Annecy Mountains for the last week or so and I have to tell you – it is gorgeous. I’ve been to amazing restaurants, stayed in fabulous hotels, climbed mountains bathed in late summer sunshine, talked to cows with bells ringing, been to markets, castles and museums and even a spa. And I had a wine tasting lesson with the top sommelier in France – Charly of the Abbaye de Talloires, on the edge of Lac Annecy.

Charly is full of charm and joie de vivre. His wine cellar is wonderful, like a library but instead of books, wine. He is the Master Sommelier of the Union de la Sommellerie Française and probably knows more about wine than anyone else in France. He introduced me to wines of Savoie on this occasion, explaining the terroir (a French word that’s impossible to translate into English – climate, soil, knowhow and more) of the rich wine growing locations.

“Take a big sniff” he said as he poured me a generous tasting glass. “Another big sniff… swirl… sniff…” then he urged “take a big gulp of wine… not a sip”. He swooshed it around his mouth with gusto. Then he did something I’ve never seen. He placed a hand firmly over the glass and shook it like a cocktail shaker. “It oxygenates the wine quickly” he explained “of course I would never do this in the restaurant, but when I want to explore a wine and get some air into it – I do this… yes even at home”. Do you know, it really did make the wine smell different. I kind of like the idea that if you’re reading this and trying it, like me, Charly may have started a global wine shaking trend!

I’ll be writing lots about Annecy and the Annecy Mountain villages to share with you soon. In the meantime I’m busy putting the finishing touches to the next magazine (which is free to subscribe to via the current issue here).

Next week I’ll be in Normandy – I’m going to Rouen and Giverny and Monet’s Garden. I know – I pinch myself sometimes (though not too hard) at how lucky I am to see these wonderful places. If you want to come with me – nip on to Instagram and/or Facebook to follow along, I’ll post lots of pics and a video on Instagram from the garden while I’m there. I’ll be back in 2 weeks’ time when normal service of the weekly newsletter will resume!

Bon weekend and bisous from France.

Wishing you and yours well, particularly in the American west where terrible wildfires are causing tragedy and destruction.

ps: photo is Annecy market on Tuesday morning. I got up early to take photos as the sun rose over the mountains around the lake and was about to leave when this beret wearing cyclist came by just at the right moment… Join me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for daily photos and fun from France…

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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