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Spring flowers and fgreen hills surround the turreted Chateau of Saumur, Loire Valley


and welcome to the March 14, 2020 newsletter from France. Now I would normally say I hope you had a good week, and of course I still hope that, but I know that many are worried about the COVID-19 situation, and many who have flights to and holidays booked in France are worried about whether to cancel. I spent two days at a conference in London this week meeting with some 40 tourist office professionals from France discussing the questions we all want answers to. And I met with the president of Tenerife who talked about how COVID-19 was dealt with in his country. There were no answers to our questions about when, where, how, what. No predictions about what might happen. Just hope that this issue will resolve swiftly. Update: As of 15 March 2020, restaurants, museums, entertainment areas and non-essential shops have been closed “until further notice.”

Since we can do nothing but wait, I’m going to carry on being my normal calm self. I’ll keep posting lovely photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and I’ll keep writing about France and aim to inspire and entertain and hope normal service returns to the world soon…

The Queen

So… as I said, I was in London this week. I was working in an office next to Westminster Abbey when to my surprise the Royal family arrived to say hello. Not really! They were there for a service at the Abbey – I waved to them from my window and I wish I could tell you they waved back but they didn’t… though I thought Meghan did throw a little hand waft in my direction!

The Chef

In the evening I had dinner with the renowned French chef Raymond Blanc. He talked about how great gastronomie begins at home and about a new foodie circuit in France called the Vallée de la Gastronomie. It will be launched later this year and will focus on artisan producers and I’ll be telling you more soon but it’s a brilliant concept and I can’t wait to try it. In fact Chef Blanc talked until he almost ran out of things to say – but not quite, he is French after all.

The amorous cockerel

After that it was back to France where I was quickly reminded what my real life is all about – clearing up dog vomit (Bruno the lab eats pretty much anything from socks to bird balls, we have to be very vigilant but occasionally he thwarts us), grooming cats, cleaning chicken coops and trying to stop the ducks from fighting – they have spring fever.

George Clooney the cockerel got all googly-eyed over my neighbour Marie-Claude’s chickens and managed, ninja-like, to scale a high fence and break through the hedges to reach them. Jean-Claude, her son-in-law, came to tell us and get us to come and catch the nimble footed Romeo. But first Marie-Claude invited us in for coffee. She makes a big pot of full-bodied, fresh coffee first thing in the morning and then pops the pot in the fridge. When she wants to make a cup, she pours what she needs into a saucepan and boils it on her wood oven and then fills tiny cups with the aromatic concoction. As it was a chilly morning she added a generous glug of dark rum and a sugar cube. We practically ran around the garden after that and easily caught the amorous bird who is back in the lonely hearts pen.

Wishing you a bon weekend wherever you are,
Bisous from France,
Newsletter 14 March 2020

Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print and audio, free on Kindle Unlimited (UK) and on Kindle Unlimited Australia.

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