Category Archives: French life

Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz 2016: the Answers

I hope you had a great Christmas. How did you get on with the quiz? I promised you the answers today and here they are – a little late because I got engrossed in writing my next novel. Don’t forget … Continue reading

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Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz 2016

First, let me wish all my readers Season’s Greetings. Thank you for following my blog this year and for your stimulating comments and emails, which I always enjoy reading. Thank you also for the many Tweets and shares on Facebook. … Continue reading

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French Telephone Etiquette

Even after more than 19 years in France, I lift the receiver with apprehension when the phone rings. This is partly because it’s invariably a cold caller. It’s also because dealing with people on the phone in French is damn … Continue reading

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19 Years in France

Time for a little celebration. Nineteen years ago today, we moved into our house, but we had arrived in France a few days earlier. The time has passed quickly, although much wine has flowed under the bridge since then. A … Continue reading

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Caylus Car Rally Revived

  Our village formerly held an annual car rally. This wasn’t a race with souped-up vehicles – fortunately – but a “rallye touristique”, i.e. following a circuit between checkpoints around the commune. The event faded, as these things do, but … Continue reading

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Summer Arrives at Last in SW France

  C’est l’été and the weather has finally caught up with the calendar. We’ve had wall-to-wall blue skies and hot sunshine for the past few days. This was a particularly good thing this weekend, since we sang in a concert … Continue reading

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Tour de France 2016

The Tour de France passed through our village for the first time yesterday, which has inspired great excitement during the build-up. All of the roads along the route have been resurfaced and relined, the verges have been cut and the … Continue reading

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C’est la Fête!

It’s that time of year again when every street corner (and your windscreen if you stop for long enough) bristles with posters advertising local fêtes, vide-greniers and concerts. Some of the early ones have had to contend with appalling weather … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Places, Teysseroles chapel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Ma Vie Française #2: An Interview with Stephanie Dagg

  I’ve known Steph since 2010 but we have never met! Author, editor, blogger, businesswoman, and smallholder– she wears so many hats it’s difficult to keep up. She’s written a popular book, Heads Above Water, about her family’s life in … Continue reading

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Ma Vie Française #1: an Interview with Jacqui Brown

You’ve heard a lot from me over the past six years about life in rural France. So let’s hear from someone else for a change. This is the first in an occasional series, Ma Vie Française, in which people tell … Continue reading

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The First Cuckoo?

Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques à tout le monde. Easter this year has coincided with the clocks going forward for summertime and, I think, the first cuckoo. When I hung out of the window this morning listening to the birdsong, I … Continue reading

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Is the Rural French Café Dying Out?

The village café-bar is a typically French institution, just as the pub is essentially British. Our nostalgic vision of French rural life places the café (often doubling as a restaurant) at the heart of the village, along with the church, … Continue reading

Posted in Food/drink/recipes, French life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

All About Stone

This is a land of stone. Old houses are invariably built of la vieille pierre (old stone). When you walk along a footpath, it’s usually bordered by ancient stone walls. If you want to plant a tree or shrub, you … Continue reading

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Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz 2015

***Season’s Greetings to All My Readers*** Welcome to the fifth edition of the Life on La Lune French Christmas Quiz, an internationally-renowned cultural tradition. Here’s something to exercise your brain cells once you’ve exercised your digestion: 20 questions on aspects … Continue reading

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Where there’s Smoke…Beware of the Smoke Detector Scam

I never cease to be amazed by the inventiveness of potential scammers. Not content with phoning up and pretending to be Microsoft’s help centre, or emailing to tell you that someone you don’t know in Cameroon wants to place millions of … Continue reading

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Preparing for Winter

This might seem a little premature. After all, we’re only in early September and it’s still summer officially. But heating these old stone houses has to be taken very seriously. The summers can be blisteringly hot here in SW France, … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Stirring Up a Hornet’s Nest

I lifted the trapdoor into the loft of our pigeonnier with infinite care. On the ceiling, right over my head were the unmistakable signs of very unwanted summer visitors, accompanied by a tell-tale buzzing. I shut the trapdoor fast and … Continue reading

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5 Seasonal Summer Road Hazards in SW France

The last few weekends have marked the start of the summer holidays in France, when a mass exodus from the towns takes place and people head for the hills or the coasts. Overnight, the numbers of market stalls, tourists conspicuous … Continue reading

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Noises Off on a Country Evening

The poor old blog has been sorely neglected of late. The trouble is that there’s this pesky thing called work, a necessary evil that keeps me away from what I really want to do. And it’s nearly always at its … Continue reading

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A Question of Accent

  I speak French with an English accent. Try as I might, I can’t get rid of it, even though my French is now pretty fluent after 18 years here. As soon as I open my mouth, I give myself … Continue reading

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Countless May Holidays and SW France Weather April 2015

  May in France is a month when you can’t move for public holidays. There’s one a week: two historical and two religious. Then the next one isn’t until 14th July, la fête nationale. We were talking about it at … Continue reading

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The Ups and Downs of Life in La France Profonde

  I spent much of last week in London, which led me to reflect on the differences between urban and rural life. As it turns out, this was quite timely, since the French government had been carrying out a charm … Continue reading

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Four Famous Frenchwomen

Today is International Women’s Day. It celebrates women’s achievements and highlights the plight of the millions of women around the world who are oppressed, living in abject poverty and certainly not considered equal to their menfolk. Fellow blogger Finding Time … Continue reading

Posted in Books/writing, French life, History, Personalities, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Signs of Spring and Southwest France Weather February 2015

 The SF (Statistics Freak to the uninitiated) tells me that winter runs from November to February. Personally, I feel it’s longer than that, but it’s better not to argue with the expert. Even so, by the end of February, I … Continue reading

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How to Queue in France

  Forming a neat queue is inscribed in we Brits’ DNA. Not so our French counterparts. Our two countries are separated only by a 30-mile stretch of water, but in some respects it might as well be 30 light years. … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, French life, Rants | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Typical Quercy Farmhouse (and an Anniversary)

  In a couple of months it will be 18 years since we first saw our house. A lot of wine has flowed under the bridge in that time. The photo above shows it in the early 1970s just before … Continue reading

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Have a Calendar, Whether You Want it or Not

  We were having a lively discussion during dinner in the kitchen – not an argument – which could no doubt be heard outside. But we don’t expect people to be hanging around outside on a cold Sunday evening in … Continue reading

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Counting Heads: the French Census

  We had a visit today from the local census taker, having been warned a couple of weeks ago that this was imminent. This happens every five years in a small commune like ours (more on this below). But did … Continue reading

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Shutters

    One of the things that distinguish French houses from English ones is the use of shutters. This is not to say that no English houses have them; rather, that a lot of French buildings do, especially in the … Continue reading

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The Little Free Library Inaugurated at Saint-Antonin

  So many words have poured out in the past few days, and no doubt will continue to do so, about the horrific events in Paris this week. I can’t add anything to them that isn’t trite or obvious. So … Continue reading

Posted in Books/writing, French life, Places | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments