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Happy May Day and bon weekend from France

Jam jar filled with Lily of the Valley flowers and wound with pink ribbon


I hope that you and yours are well.

1 May, is the Fete du Muguet in France. Muguet means lily of the valley. And for almost 500 years, it’s been a tradition to give these delicate, pretty flowers to those you love, friends and family. It all began in 1561 when King Charles IX was given a sprig on 1st May. He thought it such a lovely idea he gave the flowers to all the ladies of the court for May Day the next year. And the habit became part of French history…

Much as I love Lily of the Valley I don’t have any in my garden. It’s highly poisonous and my chickens, despite my best efforts to enclose them, are like feathered Houdinis. They have big pens, plenty of toys to keep them stimulated, the maid (me) turns up with food on time, cleans up after them and generally spoils them. I even play them music sometimes, they love Lady Gaga! But still the grass is greener.

Not all of them are naughty but nothing stops Mae West and Zsa Zsa Garbor scaling the fence and helping themselves to whatever takes their fancy. Baby lettuces? Oh yes. Rose petals, magnolia blooms and any vegetables are irresistible to this pair. So I don’t take chances with the Lily of the Valley flowers.

Wherever you are, I wish you a very happy May day from my little pigsty in the middle of nowhere, northern France.


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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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Dream tour: Tour the heart of Gascony. Discover the secrets of Armagnac. And join a unique celebration of the creation of this famous eau de vie. This is a seriously wonderful tour…

Virtual Visit of the week: In May 1883, Claude Monet spotted his dream house from a train passing through the village of Giverny in Normandy. He persuaded the owner to rent it to him. Visit Monet’s house via this virtual tour, and you’re sure to fall in love with it too… You’ll find more facts and photos of Monet’s house here…

Recipe of the week: Travel with your taste buds round France via a French cheeseboard!

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