Bonjour tout le monde!
The cold nights are drawing in and we’ve even had an early snow fall on the first weekend of November here in Pas-de-Calais! One of our readers says that storks were seen flying off on their migration to warmer climes early this year – apparently a sign of an early or a harsh winter.
The cold weather doesn’t stop The Good Life France team getting out and about though and we’ve had a busy old time lately:
Arras is a fantastic place to visit, full of history and culture, terrific shops, bars and restaurants and it definitely on our list of top French weekend destinations.
We visited Nausicaa in Boulogne-sur-Mer – the largest aquarium in Europe. It makes for a great half day out – especially if it’s raining or cold out – there are sea lions, caimans, penguins, giant tortoises, sharks – as well as of course hundreds of thousands of fish!
One of the questions we’re constantly asked is about good second hand/antique/brocante places to shop close to Calais port – we found two very good places – an Emmaus shop in Bolougne-sur-Mer and an absolute treasure trove of a brocante store not far away at Sempy – both of them have lots of bargains – furniture, knick knacks, lighting, china and more.
We feature Monique Mariage – she runs French Wedding Style blog. We asked her – if money was no object what would your dream wedding in France be like – naturally, its uber glamorous, uber chic and set in Paris!
We also met Dotty Anglaise, a couple of feisty British expat ladies who live with their French husbands in Toulouse and are crazy for dotty products – they’ve combined great British style with great French flair to create Dotty Anglaise!
We also talked to expat Sue Sharp, a well-known quilter, who runs residential quilting courses and gites in a beautiful rural setting in the north of France.
Finally, we met a French man with an obsession, a very beautiful one at that – Venetian Carnival. He has turned his passion into Rêveries Vénitiennes, an organisation which is passionate about spreading the word and style of Venetian Carnival throughout France.
On the music front, our partner radio Paris Chanson chose two great French icons of music – Francoise Hardy, legendary singer of the French yéyéperiod and Jean Ferrat whose folk style poetry set to music has one him millions of fans.
Here at The Good Life France we love Christmas and we’ve been working on lots of features to bring you details of the best Christmas markets in France:
We have the Top Ten Christmas of France and the Top Christmas markets of the north – many of them perfect for a day trip or weekend and a great opportunity to buy special gifts, gourmet produce and indulge yourself at the same time!
Arras has a lovely Christmas village which you can read about here. We’re also looking forward to a Christmas market with a difference chez Hannah – held in a grand house in Montreuil-sur-Mer, a group of artisans from all over the world gather to sell their unique handmade gifts.
We’ll be bringing lots more Christmas market features in the next few weeks and you can check them out in our Christmas in France section.
Talking of Christmas, it’s time to start thinking of ordering British Christmas treats in time for Christmas! We’ll certainly be ordering a British Christmas pudding – we love French cakes as anyone who looks at our Facebook page knows but for us Brits it just isn’t the same without a serving of figgy pudding!
British Corner Shop – the online supermarket for expats, now have their full Christmas Collection live on their website and their collection has everything you might need to recreate a traditional British Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, from the stuffing for the turkey, to the brandy sauce and Christmas pudding for dessert. To guarantee you’ll receive your goodies in France in time for Christmas, make sure you place your order on or before the 11th December (there’s a link box on all our pages to make it easy for you!).
With best wishes,