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View of Bonnieux lower village, Provence on an autumn day


I hope you and yours are well. Welcome to the weekly newsletter from the Good Life France – the best English language website about France in the world according to many! Don’t miss out – subscribe for more fun each week!

Autumn is officially here, arriving bang on time. It was almost as if someone had thought ‘flipping heck, it’s autumn tomorrow, I nearly forgot’ and flipped a switch. The day before, we were wearing T-Shirts and paddling in the English Channel along the glorious Opal Coast, and the next morning we were wearing coats on our early dog walk and thinking about getting our scarves and gloves out.

This time of the year pumpkins are the stars of the vegetable stalls at the markets and everyone is busy digging out jam and chutney recipes to preserve the harvest fruit and vegetables. One of my favourites is beer jam which is perfect with goats cheese! I’ll post a recipe next week as this week I am on the final stage of writing my new book and it’s so nearly there but I need a few more hours in the day!

We’re not the only ones preparing for winter. Wild pigs, deer and birds are out and about in large numbers, and there are prickly hedgehogs feasting at the back door each night, preparing for hibernation. My ducks, geese, and chickens love autumn for the apples, I share some with them each morning and freeze the rest to make tarte tatin for a taste of summer throughout the winter. The dogs love to run in the cooler weather in the fields which just days ago were filled with the last of the wheat crops, they race down the lines of stubbly sprigs left behind, searching for grouse and pheasant, herons and even storks which have in recent years been arriving in the Seven Valleys in ever greater numbers. The dogs never actually catch anything but they are convinced that one day it will happen.

Some mornings start with a pale blonde sun struggling to break through a fog so low I feel sure I could take an empty jar, scoop it up, twist the lid on tight and keep a souvenir of autumn on my desk. The rays of the sun are like blurry pastel coloured fingers touching the bronze edged leaves of the trees on top of Mont Cauldron. The air is crisp and fresh (see it on Instagram). On days like this it’s hard to believe that there is anywhere more beautiful than the Seven Valleys and I pinch myself and thank my lucky stars that 17 years ago, I drove through this village I’d never heard of on a whim whilst on a trip to buy wine and instead bought a ramshackle hovel that’s now my home.

I wish you a happy autumn from my little pigsty,


Photo: Bonnieux, Provence, Helen Leather (see her photo essay of the Four Seasons of Provence)

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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

Don’t miss the weekly newsletter which every week brings you inspiration from France

Read the whole newsletter here or take a sneaky peak at some of what’s in it:

Inspiration of the week: St Valery-sur-Somme, the little town in Picardy from where William the Conqueror sailed in September 1066 to invade England…

Weekly recipe: Tarte Tatin by Michelin star chef Daniel Galmiche

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