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Happy New Year from the middle of nowhere in France…

Rue Grande, Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, a cobbled street lined with ancient buildings at dusk


I hope that you and yours are well and that you had a good Christmas…

In France we wish Happy New Year for a least six weeks after the new year starts – and I truly wish you a happy (happier) 2021.

Usually New Year’s Eve in my village is marked by a party at the town hall when everyone comes together perhaps for a short while to wish each other well, perhaps for longer, to eat, play cards, dance. People make a ton of noise at midnight and stay awake until the early hours of the next day to welcome the new year. Sadly there was no getting together this year and everyone is planning on making the next New Year’s Eve special, with a goal to party like it’s not 2020!

I went for a long walk with the dogs as dusk fell. Unusually, shutters on many of the houses were open and a warm glow fell from windows creating sparkles on the light dusting of snow that covered everything. It was almost as if the villagers were sending a message to anyone passing by – hope lives here.

Wisps of smoke danced away from chimneys, disappearing over the tops of trees whose leafless branches are bowed with giant balls of mistletoe, (you can see it here, earlier in the day on Instagram). A pure white stork stood alone in a field in the distance until a deer ran out of the woods nearby and startled it into flying over a hill. A giant hare ran across our path, the dogs were so surprised they stood stock-still and the hare went safely on its way, not bothered by three ageing but still keen mutts.

It was a silent night lit by a full moon, glowing through clouds. Claudette my octogenarian neighbour, who quotes Victor Hugo at the drop of a hat, passed us on her way to her daughter’s house. Wearing her winter coat and a thick woollen shawl over the top she stopped to say bonne année from a distance. “Winter is on my head” she smiled, “but eternal spring is in my heart”. She knows that I tell you these things she says, and now she is very liberal with the quotes! I honestly think she is one of the wisest people I know.

It was a perfect quote to end the year.

Happy new year from a little pigsty in the middle of nowhere, rural France,

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PS: Photo is of the glorious Grand Rue, Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy one of the most popular photos shared on my social media pages in 2020!

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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