Aveyron, A Bridge to French Arcadia

Image “It all began in Paris with a riot of wisteria.” says Paris-based travel writer Thirza Vallois explaining how she became fascinated with this obscure region of France, mostly known for its Roquefort cheese. This led to a chance meeting between the author and two Aveyronnais Georges and Odette, visits to the region and Vallois’ love affair with Aveyron and its enchanting landscapes tucked away on the southern edge of the Massif Central. Continue reading “Aveyron, A Bridge to French Arcadia”

Pontoise… in the days of the impressionists

Camille Pissarro, considered by many to be the father of the impressionist movement, moved to Pontoise in 1871 where he made such memorable paintings as “The River Oise Near Pontoise, 1873” and “A Cowherd at Pontoise. 1874”  He was joined by other painters such as Cézanne and Claude Monet who along with Pissarro immortalized the village and surrounding landscapes Continue reading “Pontoise… in the days of the impressionists”

Left Bank, by Kate Muir

Enter the world of Olivier and Madison Malin, the glittering inhabitants of Paris’s most exclusive neighbourhood, the Left Bank. The Malins’ life together with their daughter is the stuff of dreams – and carefully-selected celebrity magazines. Madison is an American film star: her beauty, talent and perfect accent hiding her Texan roots, and the fact she’s just turned forty (although that actually happened several years ago). Her husband, Olivier, is the darling of the sophisticated Left Bank: philosopher, gourmand and media personality, he craves adoration (and is a little too willing to return it). Everything seems perfect – if a touch pretentious – right up until the moment a new English nanny, Anna, appears at the imposing doors of their Rue du Bac apartment. Gamine and artless, Anna unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will gravely endanger the Malins’ daughter, and their charmed lives – in ways no-one could have foreseen…

Moulin Rouge: Instants Volés

Moulin Rouge: Instants Volés by Vlada Krassilnikova (Editions du Collectionneur) Based on a striking series of black and white pictures, this book chronicles the artist’s voyage from aspiring dancer to full-fledged performer, to nostalgic photographer – via photo documentation focusing on women at today’s Moulin Rouge. The first Russian to join the troupe back in 1993, Krassilnikova combines first-hand anecdotes with a personal look at the showgirls as they prepare for a performance. A mix of “truth and fantasy,” her work penetrates the spectacle of this world-famous landmark, portraying the real individuals inside it, through behind-the-scenes images.

Living & Working in France

 This book is for anyone contemplating a serious relationship, with… France. Essential reading if planning to live or work in that country, it is the most up-to-date source of practical information available about everyday life there. Guaranteed to hasten your introduction to la vie française, and most importantly, to save you time, trouble and money.

To buy the book from Survival Books 


The Essence of Style

What makes fashionistas willing to pay a small fortune for a particular designer accessory? Why does a special occasion only become really special when a champagne cork pops? Why are diamonds the status symbol gemstone, instantly signifying wealth, power, and even emotional commitment? Writing with élan, one of the foremost authorities on 17th-century French culture provides the answer to these and other fascinating questions in her account of how, at one glittering moment in history, the French under Louis XIV set the standards of sophistication, style and glamour that still rule our lives today. Joan DeJean takes us back to the birth of haute cuisine, the first appearance of celebrity hairdressers, chic cafés, nightlife, and fashion in elegant dress that extended well beyond the limited confines of court circles.

Rural Living in France

Essential reading for anyone who imagines themselves living “the good life” following the footsteps of Peter Mayle out to the  French countryside. This book gives a realistic view of the pleasure and pain of actually attempting  it while providing  comprehensive practical advice on everything from buying property, to keeping livestock to meeting the neighbors. True to the publishers name the book is chocked full of practical information on all things French including the country’s legendary administration. You won’t want to leave home without it. To buy the book from Survival Books 

In the Merde for Love

Stephen Clarke keeps the punch lines coming in this sequel to his best-seller, “A Year in the Merde.” The adventures of British expat Paul West pick up where they left off, exposing with no little hilarity the agony and the ecstasy of living among the French. Clarke has a keen eye and a keener ear for their quirks, foibles and irrationalities, and although the story could  be tighter and the jokes funnier, the characters never disappoint. As pleasant a way to while away an afternoon as its predecessor!