Feeling Festive… and a *Book Giveaway*

Greetings dear readers and friends. Well, things are certainly looking very festive around here. I remember when I first moved to France, almost 10 years ago, I thought the Christmas decorations were a little subdued… that was comparing them to the US of course, which is as festive as festive gets.

Now, I feel as if France has all of the Christmas spirit and then some. It could be that they’ve up their deco game a notch or two… but it could also be that I feel fully integrated (yes, really!) and can finally sit back and appreciate it all. And how…

These are a few photos of our recent visit to Le Castellet village. As you can see, they have a simple and elegant way of decorating for the holidays that always moves me. They’re hosting their annual Christmas market next Saturday, on December 14th – the same day as the Christmas market in our town, Ollioules. It’s a wonderful time of the year.

Hope your holiday season is off to a great start and sending you warmest wishes from belle Provence!

Are We French Yet? Giveaway

Many of you may remember the book review and giveaway we did on the site way back in January of this year: Are We French Yet? Keith & Val’s Adventures in Provence. Well, needless to say, the book has received some great reviews… and for good reason. It’s such a fun and easy read and there’s no better way to instantly transport yourself to the South of France – and have a pretty hilarious time along the way.

Keith and Val live 3 months of the year in Provence (la chance, the luck!) and usually rent a different house on each stay (basing themselves around the lovely town of St. Rémy de Provence). This sequel to One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence, is filled with lively anecdotes (you may just become best friends with your French doctor who has a passion for wine), bumps in the road (what does a French strike mean anyway?), and belly-laughs for days (French language faux-pas, the ins & outs of the “man scarf”, and the butcher who won’t let you leave the shop until you learn exactly all the right cuts of meat).

An audio version of Are We French Yet? has just been released, and Keith has very kindly offered 2 audio books to give away to Belle Provence Travels readers. A very big “merci” to Keith, and you can find all of the giveaway details below.

Giveaway Details ————————————————

In order to win an audio version of Are We French Yet? Keith and Val’s Adventures in Provence, please leave a comment below telling us about an adventure you had while traveling – in France or elsewhere!

Two readers will be chosen at random (using random.org) on Saturday, December 14th (12pm EST).

Thank you for your entries and wishing you a très bon week-end!

17 responses to “Feeling Festive… and a *Book Giveaway*”

  1. My wife and I recently discovered you blog, and it has inspired us to visit Provence (for the forst time in the coming June..

    Our first visit to France was by car from England in 1974. We got lost, in Paris only to be let to our hotel by a garbage truck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello William, How exciting! I can’t wait to hear all about your trip… That sounds really funny about the garbage truck, an adventure for sure. Thanks so much for your comment and you’re entered in the giveaway. Best wishes, Tuula


  2. My first visit to Paris was with friends who “knew” Paris. After walking for over 2 hours, never admitting we were lost, my friend got us on a Metro – because she “knew” where it was going. Not so, we went the wrong way, and I’m no a fan of the unknown especially in a strange city where I don’t know the language. Obviously, we eventually found our way back to the hotel and the next day took a train to Aix. I fell in love with Provence on that trip and have returned and looking forward to returning once again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Patricia,
      That sounds like some adventure… Paris can be a handful too, so much to remember about the metro, etc! Really happy you found your way to Provence 🙂 Thank you very much for your comment, you’re entered in the giveaway. Bonne journée!


  3. Love your Christmas blogs, Tuula!

    While in Paris some time ago, I was in a cafeteria line. The fellow in front of me asked the server for “salt”. She did not
    understand him so I piped in with “de sel.” My French did not extend much further than that, but I can very modestly say that I once worked as a translator in Paris.
    We continue our French studies and attend a conversation group. Hopefully, things will be settled soon in France and we will be enjoying life in small country village.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Debra, thanks so much! That’s very kind of you 🙂

      How fun your Paris “translator” experience. It’s great trying to navigate the world in another language, and French can surely be challenging. Glad you got through it!
      Good luck with your French studies and wishing you all the best with your plans, keep me updated! And wishing you a very Joyeux Noël 🙂 Tuula


  4. We were SO EXCITED to have our first winter trip to Paris be over New Years Eve, even scheduling the last trip of the day up Le Tour Eiffel . It was very windy and cold; we didn’t care. After changing into our party clothes for the evening, were ready to hit the Champs but disappointed the fireworks had been cancelled because of the high winds. Emerging from the hotel, it was pouring rain, umbrellas inside out, and every bar & restaurant packed beyond capacity. Crushed but not broken, we retreated back to our hotel room for champagne, cheese, and a baguette to ring in the New Year. ……………we returned 17 months later to fabulous late spring weather. Next up: this next May renting a self-operated barge for a week on the Canal du Midi then on to Aix en Provence for a week. ALREADY PACKED!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Frank, Oh my goodness…. renting a barge on the Canal ud Midi is my DREAM trip, lucky you!! I can understand why you’re already packed, that is sooo exciting. I just watched a French TV special on cruising down the Canal close to Toulouse – so beautiful… and relaxing. I hope you have a wonderful trip and thank you very much for entering the giveaway. All the best, Tuula


  5. My first time driving to Paris (Arc de Triomphe! Rush hour!) has to be one of the more heart pumping adventures I‘d had at the time. Much prefer driving in the relaxed chaos of the south!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jen, totally agree! You are very brave to have driven in Paris… the south is enough of a challenge for me! Thank you very much for entering the giveaway 🙂 Tuula


  6. Hello, Tuula! What fun to hear these adventures! A few years ago, we were in Avignon and Aix during the World Cup finals. While not really an “adventure,” it was such fun to see that all the cafes had pulled HUGE television screens outside to the places so that no matter where you sat, or walked, you could see every play of each game. And the best part was hearing all the cheers with each goal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lee Ann, so fun! The World Cup was an amazing experience, I agree … you couldn’t help but feel the excitement & get into the spirit with everyone here. Glad you got to be a part of it! Thank you for entering the giveaway 🙂 Tuula


  7. Hi Tuula – we met in 2017 at the Cooking School near in Luberon. Great to read your festive blog now and know that you are well integrated into the French way of life and culture. I sent you an email. It’s sweltering hot here in Queensland so my memories of outdoor French markets cool me down! Love Margaret

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you very much for all of your entries… I really enjoyed reading about all of the different travel adventures, it’s great to hear from you.

    The winners were chosen, at random, as comments #1 and #4 – congratulations to William and Frank and I wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

    All the best, Tuula


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