A Few of My Favorite (French) Things

Greetings dear readers and friends. I hope you’re enjoying these first few weeks of fall. We’ve had pretty amazing weather, and now things are finally starting to cool down. France is indeed getting into the Halloween spirit, and I kind of hate to admit it, but I’m counting down to the Christmas markets already. Too early? Well, without Thanksgiving to tide us over, it’s something to look forward to when things start cooling down in Provence. That, and raclette parties… cheese always makes the winter go by just a tad quicker.

On that note, besides a good cheese party, there are so many things that I like about living in France. Lately, as I’m coming up on 10 years living in la belle France, I’ve been thinking about all that I’ve learned, and all that I enjoy, about daily life here.

So here are a few of my favorite French things – I think there will definitely have to be a follow-up post as the French are just so good at what they do – namely food, wine, and looking swanky!

Studio rosé wine. (credit: http://www.decanter.com)

Studio rosé wine by Miraval

Now I don’t like to drop names or anything, but this is the ex-winery of very famous ex’s Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. And if you want to indeed feel very glamorous – on a budget – pick up a bottle of this rosé wine which is Miraval’s budget offering for regular Joe’s like myself and my husband. We both love the stuff, and thankfully it was on sale for €9 this summer so we did some stockin’ up. There are probably better rosé’s out there, but none I’ve found at this price. Please send me your comments if you have found a better one, we always need good rosé recommendations around these parts!

 

Puyricard chocolates, made in Provence.

Puyricard chocolates

If anyone has been following this blog for a long time… I’m talking way way back to 2012, you may remember that a certain me, and a certain my-good-friend-Kathy, visited the Puyricard chocolate factory just outside of Aix-en-Provence in the town of the same name, Puyricard. Even though we both wanted to “Lucy and Ethel” our way through the whole tour, we did get to sample our hearts out at the end of our 2-hour visit. And the same holds true for Puyricard as it did 7 years ago… these are the best best chocolates around! Ok, they’re not cheap and we do save them for special occasions, but if you want to show someone you really care – back home or in France – gift them one of these boxes and they’ll be tickled pink.

La Fermière yogurt, rich and delicious.

La Fermière Yogurt

Well, of course this being a post about favorite French things, we all know that most of those things have to do with food. And yogurt? Well, who in the world thought yogurt was a big deal? I mean outside of eating right and stocking up on low-fat / no-fat Greek yogurt at Trader Joe’s I never gave it a second thought. That was until arriving in France. There is yogurt… and then there is French yogurt. You know they’ve got something cooking when you walk into a supermarket and there’s a whole mega-aisle dedicated to the stuff. La Fermière is far from being low-fat. It’s rich, decadent and reserved (more or less) for dessert. It is creamy deliciousness on a bed of puréed fruit, chocolate, or nut cream. My favorite has to be the hazelnut cream. If you thought Nutella was something, try a La Fermière yogurt on a bed of creamed, lightly sugared pure hazelnut spread. Heavenly.

General all-around fantastic place to shop: Monoprix. (credit: http://www.monoprix.fr)

 

Monoprix

Oh goodness, if there’s one thing I miss about living in the US, well… it’s Target! Or making “Target runs” as it’s known. I guess a UK-equivalent would be Marks and Spencer (?). But I can only speak of what I know… and I really know Target, and so does my credit card. So, needless to say, when we American ladies can get something that comes close, we hop to it! This is Monoprix in France. You have discounted, Monoprix brand food items – including organic – and Monoprix clothing that is very “chic and cheap”. Anyhoo, I’m a big fan and thankfully we have one in the town where I work. You know where to find me at lunchtime…

Camaïeu clothing store. (credit: http://www.camaieu.fr)

 

Camaïeu Women’s Clothing

Back in the day, around 2010-ish, I was saving all my euros for an eventual trip to the US where I would stock-up on clothing at a few tried-and-true favorites:  Ross, TJMaxx, Target (of course) and Macy’s. That was before I discovered Camaïeu; the French clothing store for the “everyday” woman – ie. me and all the other ladies who would like to look cool enough to pull off the French look, but who don’t necessarily have the funds to go all in. Well, thankfully, there’s Camaïeu. The prices are relatively cheap outside of the sales, but when the semi-annual “soldes” roll around, things go way, way down. I won’t bore you too much with fashion talk, but about 80% of my wardrobe is from Camaïeu with an average cost of €6-€17 per item. If you forget anything on your vacation, or you’d like to take a bit of the “French look” home with you, head to your nearest Camaïeu.

 

Please feel free to share some of your favorite French things…. this list could go on and on, so I hope to share more in another post.

Best wishes and bon week-end from belle Provence!

Tuula

Welcome to la belle Provence. I’m a 40-ish American woman & I’ve been blogging about the South of France since moving here in 2010. I live outside of a Provençal village in the Var region with my husband and daughter. I'm a big fan of cooking, French food, and all things rosé. Bienvenue!

11 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite (French) Things

    1. Thanks for your comment! Camaïeu is a great resource… especially when the “soldes” come around! Enjoying the articles on your blog, keep up the good work 🙂

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  1. hi, Tuula,
    Someone just told me another low-end but great rose — CRAZY, available at Casino and Carrefour, if you can find it. It wasn’t at my Casino, so now I’m on a search. Why not?
    Enjoy your blog every time it comes. Wow, it’s been 2 1/2 years I’ve been with you, and now a year here in France for me. And have no urges to go back to the US for even a visit. Call me BAD.
    xx
    meredith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Meredith,
      Thanks so much for your comment… and thanks so much for following the blog! Heartwarming to hear that you are enjoying life in France 🙂 It really can’t be beat… don’t miss too much from the US either! Since I’m from California, I have to say that tacos are at the top of my list, ha ha. Let me know if you find that good rosé 🙂 Hope you’re having a lovely day, xx Tuula

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    1. You are a man after my husband’s heart Keith! My husband loves all that stuff… paté and confit de canard go to the top of the list 🙂 Thank you for your comment, bonne journée! Tuula

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  2. Thank you, Tuula. I did love Monoprix when I was staying in Aix for 6 weeks. Great for food, wine and a few other things. And great location on Cours Mirabeau. And, as usual, I love your very interesting and informative articles. Merci!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Patricia,
      The Monoprix in Aix is really nice… bigger and busier than the one in Toulon! And yes, great location too… can never get enough of Cours Mirabeau, right? 🙂 I always appreciate your comments, thank you so much for taking the time, means a lot! Bonne journée from Provence, Tuula

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