Bonjour tout le monde
Within hours of telling you how mild and sunny it is here in the “north pole” of France (that’s what the southerners call it!) and sharing my lovely photos from the Valleys where I live, we had a huge hailstone storm with lumps of ice bigger than ripe fresh peas!
Out in the garden my chickens, ducks and geese ran for cover – in the coops, under the coops, under the shelter and under each other! The dogs started howling at this strange and unusual phenomenon and hid in their little house in the garden until I let them in.
The cats meanwhile leaped onto window sills. That doesn’t sound dramatic I know but I have FIVE cats and there was one on each window sill in the front of the house (they don’t like to share) and it looked like Zombie Cat world as they rubbed their muddy, wet paws up and down the glass to get attention. The squeak from wet fur on glass was horrendous!
We’ve got a great line up of stories and guides for you this week (I know I say that every week but it’s really true!).
We’d love you to share us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and pass our French newsletter on to friends (share and email buttons at the bottom) – we are here to entertain, inspire and help and with your support we’d like to do that for lots more people!
A bientôt, Janine
Member of the British Guild of Travel Writers
Editor – Rédacteur en Chef
Top 5 Features this week
1. Paris for free: how to see the City of Light without spending a Euro! Walking tours, art, music, from above, fabulous site – fabulous insider tips from Parisians, see it like they do!
2. Cultural Exchange in France: We love this idea! If you live in France and need a hand with the garden, building project – anything, you can link up with people who want to volunteer help in return for living life the way you do. It’s a great way to travel and enjoy France on a tight budget and really immerse yourself in the culture, and get some much needed help if you’re a host!
2. Musée d’Orsay – inspired by the fabulous, enormous clock at this brilliant museum, we take a look at an iconic Paris venue which started life as a train station…
3. Terrific tarte tatin: it’s not easy to make but oh so worth it says Paola, resident Queen of French Cuisine and shares her perfect recipe…
4. Magical Collioure weaves its spell: Kirsten MacKintosh tells the tale of a local in this very beautiful seaside town in Languedoc-Roussillon – a fabulous story that makes you feel as though you are there with her…
5. Hachi Parmentier: French meat and potato pie! Shepherd’s pie, cottage pie – similar yes but oh so French with a soupcon of red wine!
Send us your “postcard from France “– a photo of food, landscape, people, art – anything French and we’ll enter you in our competition to win a great book by Bobbi French, gorgeously illustrated by her photographer husband.
Here’s our first entry from Bev Doliber in Spain – a beautiful photo from the Chateau de Marqueyssac Gardens (and photo above).
1. Travelling from the UK to France? Take advantage of P&O’s great offer of a free crate of wine AND low fares until the end of February 2014 for day tripper in cars!
2. Le Mans Motor Museum: Susan Keefe visits the famous racing track and diverts to the museum to discover rare vehicles and winning cars!
3. Non French restaurants in Paris: We know, it’s the law to eat French cuisine in Paris but… what if you hanker for something different? Josie Sampson travels round the world in 7 restaurants in Paris
In my French Life:
1. My French faux pas: never tell a Frenchman “je suis chaud”. My embarrassing mistake and how you can avoid making it too!
2. How not to impress your boss: Inspired by Msr Hollande’s visit to Rome, I reminisce about my visit many moons ago as a young reporter and almost got fired!