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 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!
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
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.
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 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!