Most days I work very hard, I write from dawn until dusk as a journalist – researching my facts and figures, learning more about my beautiful adopted country of France and writing about it, as well as being editor of this fantastic website you are currently accessing!
Sometimes I am lucky enough to go on press trips, or meet people and interview them about their lives in France and meet tourism professionals who love to share their expertise – it’s a fantastic job even if it doesn’t pay very well (read: hardly at all!).
Sometimes I get to do something more unusual, recently I got to watch trainers working with the sea lions behind the scenes at the fabulous Nausicaa Aquarium in Boulogne for instance – absolutely amazing. For sheer rarity value though – not much beats an invitation to have lunch with the French Ambassador in London!
The French Embassy backs onto the impossibly posh Kensington Gardens in the heart of London in a beautiful white, gated mansion.
We started off with a presentation about Lozere and Caussses and Cevennes in the south east of France – a whole area which has achieved UNESCO world heritage status. It is an outstandingly beautiful place, my friend and fellow journalist Roger St Pierre says Lozère is like the “big country” of France and a fabulous off the beaten track destination that totally deserves to be celebrated.
After that we had a formal lunch and the Ambassador joined us in the beautiful mirrored, gilded and sumptuous dining room.
In case you’re wondering if it was just me and the Ambassador – it wasn’t! There were 30 journalists present! It was an amazing lunch which started off with some speeches from the Ambassador, tourist officials and UNESCO rep. I had been really worried that I would not be able to resist saying “You spoil us with those Ferrero Rocher Ambassador”. You know when you just get an idea in your head, or you think something and the words come out of your mouth even when you don’t want them to.
The lunch was amazing. The Ambassador’s chef and top chef Daniel Lagrange from Lozère cooked up a fabulous menu: Tartare de truites au lentilles, vinaigre agrumes; Carré d’agneau avec des petit legumes printanières; Fromages: plateau avec Pélardon, Bleu de Causses, Roquefort et Fédou; Poire au miel d’orange.
I have to say my favourite bit was the honey ice cream with poached pear, sprinkled with honeycomb – the chef is a honey fanatic – so am I. Afterwards he signed a copy of his book “Oooh Miel!“ for me and gave me a jar of the most amazing organic honey.
When I got back to France the next day – it was straight back into normality – clearing out the chicken coops and walking the dogs (and finding two lost dogs) – talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous!
And, in case you’re wondering, I did manage to hold back my Ferrero Rocher comment – at least to the Ambassador! Am wondering what can top lunch with the French Ambassador – lunch with the President perhaps?!