Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Win a Copy of the 2021 French Country Diary

French Country Diary beautiful photos France
Photographing a Christmas Meal for French Country Diary 2021
Bistro La Fontaine de Mars, Paris, France
Thatched-roof farmhouse B&B in Normandy, France near Honfleur.
Vintage sailboats to rent in Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France
A restaurant and antiques emporium in Normandy, France
Umberllas on the beach at Deauville, France
A rustic French inn
Breads at Breakfast at Baumaniere

Every day I hear from people telling me how they can’t wait to travel again...and can’t wait to get back to France. Meanwhile, I thought the newest French Country Diary by Linda Dannenberg might take the edge off the cravings. So I dropped a note to Linda and asked if she’d like to offer me a copy or two of the 2021 edition, to give away here on my blog. In classic Linda style, she came back tres vite: “Oui, bien sur! How about three of them? And I’ll sign them, of course!” 

Linda is one of the biggest Francophiles I know, the author of 12 books on French design, lifestyle and food. She was bitten by the bug early, during a post-grad year in Paris spent working at a couture textiles firm. “I fell in love with the bistros and cafés on every corner, with the galleries on the rue de Seine, with the smell of Gauloises in the air, with the Paris Métro,” she remembers. When her Gallic escapade was over, Linda moved to New York and launched a media career, starting at CBS News and moving on to editorial jobs at Family Circle and Working Woman.

“The jobs were amazing and fulfilling,” she says, “but eventually the Lorelei call of France, and a book contract, proved impossible to resist!”

Linda returned to France to write The Paris Way of Beauty (Simon & Schuster) and more than a dozen books followed, including a quartet of iconic Pierre Deux French Country titles. Her Paris Boulangerie-Pâtisserie was nominated for a Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award while her book with 3-star chef Alain DucasseDucasse: Flavors of France, was nominated for a James Beard Award and went on to win the Versailles International Cookbook Award.

She’s also written on cuisine, design and travel for Town & CountryThe New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesTravel & LeisureHouse BeautifulHarper's Bazaar, Elle and Departures.

And every year, for 33 years now, Linda has published the much-loved French Country Diary, a weekly hardcover calendar showcasing sumptuous interior design, lush gardens, extraordinary landscapes and lots of “poetic art de vivre.” Published by Abrams Books with photos by the Paris- and Brittany-based photographer Guillaume de Laubierthe latest edition takes us to a thatched-roof farmstead in Normandy’s Marais-Vernier to the majestic Château de Montgeoffroy in the Anjou (a time-capsule of 18th-century style) to a gardener's cottage in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Among the amazing private collections featured are 19th-century faience in Bordeaux, Napoleonica in Paris and a home devoted to parrots (!!) near Dieppe. The Diary also notes nationally recognized holidays and observances, with ample space for notes, appointments, addresses and reminders. As in years past, the book is embellished with Provençal textiles from OlivadesIt has a cloth spine, a ribbon marker and 58 gorgeous photos.

“My readers tell me they use it as much for decorating ideas and planning French travel itineraries as they do for recording important dates throughout the year,’’ Linda tells me.

Madame Dannenberg, for her part, says the thing she misses most when she can’t visit France (she hasn’t travelled more than 10 km from her home in Westchester, NY since mid March!), is definitely the bistro cooking.

“I miss the ambiance and romance of an iconic bistro such as La Fontaine de Mars in Paris or Le Bistrot du Paradou in the Alpilles,” she says. In place of the real thing, Linda reaches for books filled with evocative descriptions of memorable meals, such as A. J. Liebling's classic Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris, Amanda Hesser's The Cook and the Gardner and Martin Walker's Inspector Bruno series.

“And when I’m truly inspired and longing for Paris,” Linda continues, “I pull out one of my own early cookbooks, Paris Bistro Cooking, and prepare a family meal of classic bistro favorites: a Salade Verte au Chèvre Chaud (Wild Greens Salad with Warm Goat Cheese) from Michel Rostang's Bistrot d'à Côté; Boeuf à la Mode (Braised Beef and Carrots) from Benoît; and a Tarte au Citron (Lemon Tart) from Polidor."

Lucky family!

So speaking of luck...on to the contest! To win a signed, personalized copy of the 2021 French Country Diary, simply leave a comment below and tell us what you miss most about France when you can’t be here...and what do you do to visit virtually. Do you cook French? Lose yourself in French music, movies or books? Do you brush up your French skills with language-learning apps or an old textbook? We want to know! This contest is open to anyone in any country, including France.

To comment, click where it says COMMENTS just below. If your name comes up in the little box, choose that. If it doesn’t, choose NAME/URL from the drop down. (If you don’t have your own website or blog you can leave URL blank.) Please be sure to leave us your email or we can’t contact you if you win. If you have any problem commenting at all, drop me a note (provenceblog@aol.com) and I’ll help. Or send me your name and your thoughts and I’ll be happy to post them for you. Linda and I will choose three winners, confirm your mailing address and send your beautiful Diary right off. (I told Linda I’d be happy to help with shipping and she said “Oh don’t worry...just send me some Herbes de Provence!”)

For those of you who prefer to enter on Instagram, the contest is on my page here. (To follow Linda, her page is here.)

Bonne Chance! And if you'd like to just go ahead and buy the Diary, you'll find it on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Calendars.com and in English on Amazon.fr.

Photos: (1) You deserve to win this more than anyone! Actually if you win and want to give the Diary as a gift, Linda will inscribe it to your giftee and ship it directly to them. (2) Linda and her photographer Guillaume de Laubier shooting a holiday meal in Paris. Photo by Françoise Hontebeyrie. (3) One of Linda's favorite Paris bistros is La Fontaine de Mars. (4) A thatched-roof farmhouse and B&B called Les Cigognes, in the Normandy countryside near Honfleur. (5) Vintage wooden sailboats, for rent at Le Grand Bassin in the Luxembourg Gardens, have been delighting Parisian children for over a century. (6) Le Perche, a bucolic region tucked into the southeastern corner of Normandy, makes a perfect destination for a weekend trip from Paris. An essential stop when you're exploring the area is the lovely hilltop village of La Perrière, where you'll find La Maison de L'Horbé, this restaurant and antiques emporium. (7) Linda writes: "At sunset, when Deauville's vast white sand beach is tinted pink in the rosy light, the large, vibrantly-hued parasols are closed and wrapped with swaths of contrasting canvas. It's a gorgeous time to be on this iconic beach." (8) Hôtel d'une île is a small rustic inn set in the deep woodland of Le Perche, near the town of Rémalard. (9) On a sun-dappled terrace, crusty breads await you at breakfast at the three-star L'Oustau de Baumanière in Les Baux. * All photos, except as mentioned above, are by @guillaumedelaubier and appear in either the 2020 or 2021 edition of the French Country Diary. 

57 comments:

  1. I had to cancel my May trip because of the virus, and the loss of this time in France was disheartening, especially at my age! During the past few months I have attended zoom classes on French art and travel and read books that took place in France. Thank you for this opportunity.

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    1. Hi Judy, I remember it well...and how sad you were! Hopefully you can reschedule for the year ahead...or very soon! Meanwhile, Zoom classes sound fun. Take good care and thanks for entering!

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  2. Doing the best I can while missing France...French cooking, like my new favorite, David Lebovitz. Made his divine French Apple Tart to rave reviews for Thanksgiving. Watch French series like A French Village and Spiral. Pull up photos and relive trips to France especially the websites of hotels we’ve stayed like Chateau de la Resle in Burgundy and Hotel des Bories on Gordes, Provence.

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    1. Hi Sal, thanks for the tip on the two French series...I don't know either of them but will check them out! I could go for David's French Apple Tart right now...

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  3. Michele Bowler-FailingDecember 1, 2020 at 10:05 PM

    What do I miss most about my annual month in Provence? Let me count the ways!
    Tomatoes from the truck market in Velleron
    Gigot d'agneau from the butcher in St. Didier, sans os
    Dinner with my family on our rooftop terrace in Venasque watching the sunset
    A delicious and beautiful evening under the stars at La Camarette
    Making the trek to Cassis to be kayaked to Les Calanques, like a queen mother by my two strong sons
    The return trip via Bistrot du Paradou for dinner until midnight
    Driving through the tree tunnels near St. Remy in the dark
    Jumping in La Sorgue and screaming it is so cold
    Visiting with our beloved villagers at every Friday evening market in Venasque
    Planting my pots each spring
    And on it goes. Looking forward with great enthusiasm for our return to Provence and paradise!

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    1. Michele, you mention so many of my favorite things...and some delicious sounding new things I must check out at once! Love the image of you being kayaked around the Calanques like the Queen Mother! Long may it last! :)

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  4. I'm lucky to live in France. And yes, the grass is greener here!

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  5. What I miss about France? The days when farmers lived of the product of the farm and had to barter for everything else. The days when everybody was making their own wine and you could actually identify them by taste. The days when I would buy a baguette for 30 "anciens francs" and eat half of it on my way home, at my mother' dismay.

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    1. Yo Jules, it is not "unknown" but your buddy Benny from the good old days at Food Arts.

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    2. Hi Bubba! Such wonderful imagery from your childhood in Lyon. Thanks for sharing this glimpse. Your comment about farmers reminds me of reading, maybe in Food Arts, about how chef Paul Prudhomme's very-poor family in Louisiana (with 13 kids) lived on something like $200 a year because they were able to grow, raise, forage and catch much of their food...and barter for the rest. Whether it's true or not I don't know but that really stuck with me. Then, to rise from such deprivation and go on to feed the world...RIP Chef Paul!

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  6. Oh, the pictures are simply lovely and make me yearn for the day that I experience France again - in person!!! Truly, that day cannot come soon enough. Till then... thank you for the beautiful post and sharing a sneak peek of Linda's new book.

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    1. Aren't the photos great? It was so hard to pick!

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  7. We have a petite maison outside of Avignon and have not been there since June 2019! I miss it so much! I love your calendar books and have been keeping track of covid numbers in it this year. Here's to a vacacine for 2021 and travel opening up feom America to France!⚜️🇳🇱⚜️🦠

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  8. What don't I miss about France? First of all, I miss the very sounds and smells of Paris and France. Those two senses awaken every French fiber in my being. I miss the people, the food, the sights, the history, the ambience -- le tout! I follow many bloggers and Youtubers and podcasters to keep myself connected. I can't wait to travel to France again. Fingers crossed for next fall!

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    1. Thank you Jeanne! Yes, fingers definitely crossed. Not sure if you're American but...my friends in hospitality here (hoteliers, restaurateurs, tour guides etc.) say they miss the enthusiasm of American travelers, how excited and appreciative they are about what they experiencing in France. Nice! :)

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  9. My wife and I had planned to travel to Paris in April, ride the train to Avignon, rent a car, and drive around in southern France, then return to Paris. Our trip was cancelled due to covid-19. We stay connected by corresponding in French and English with friends in Beaucaire, whom we met on my first trip to France 5 years ago.

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    1. Fingers crossed for 2021 travel to France! I have good friends in Beaucaire too...I love that town!

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  10. What I miss most? EVERYTHING. The attention the smallest details of quality of life: meals, countryside, small dedicated museums, history, markets, sunshine, clean air, the simple elegant wrapped present, retail window displays, noting the passage of season……… EVERYTHING.

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  11. We had to cancel two trips this year but have rebooked for 2021 and are hoping we can go. I miss the scenery, the people, the food. I miss the sanity where everything doesn't have to be supersized or superlative. It is so comfortable and feels like home so I guess you could say I'm homesick even though I live in California. We do French language tapes on our daily walks just to keep in touch and I do a lot of French cooking although getting some of the ingredients is difficult here.

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    1. Love this comment but particularly what you say about missing the sanity where everything doesn't have to be supersized or superlative. Really hoping your trip can happen in the year ahead! Thanks for entering our contest!

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  12. Oh gosh what do I miss,,, well, first of all the easy, I missed my godson's first child's baptism in September, It was called off due to Covid. I miss all my friends in Paris where I went to school and lived for many years. I miss Berthillon, picnics along the Seine, Amora ketchup, macarons, really good paté, Walking down a street and seeing La Tour Eiffel in the distance. Just breathing the air of Paris le nombril du monde!

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    1. Missing important family events is hard. And missing Paris when you can't be there seems to be universal! Hope you can get back soon...

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  13. I am missing France so much, and especially Provence with its delicious rustic cooking. In order to compensate for not being able to travel there, I love to write about it. I've just finished writing a book set in rural Provence during a heatwave. The sensual experience of writing it was the next best thing to holidaying there.

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    1. Sophie that's wonderful! Tell us more about your book. Has it been published yet?

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  14. We think about France every day, beginning at breakfast. We've decorated our small dining as a France room with some old departements maps, old French plates, and a lovely little watercolor of somewhere in Provence. Since we can't go this year, we find French recipes to make (my husband loves to make Truffade, galettes, and just about anything else French). We've been reading in French, and watching French movies and TV programs via MhZ. Some of them, like 'Meutres a...' take place in different parts of France so we get to see some places we've been, and discover other places we want to go. The Diary is beautiful - the photos are luscious and make me feel like I'm there.

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    1. Lilliane, wow...you've really been bitten badly by the French bug! I feel your pain! Wish I could see your French dining room...it sounds lovely. And yes, the Diary and its photos are wonderful! Thanks for sharing your story with us...

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  15. I miss the idea, because I can't believe I can ever find the reality, of the most perfect, juicy, overflowing pan bagnat imaginable, full of dark ripe tomatoes, lots of oily canned tuna, and black olives on a crispy fresh chunk of baguette, which I ate once, a long time ago, on a sunny spring day in Aix-en-Provence.

    And I can't say I miss it because I've never done this, but I cannot wait for the time I can carve out to visit a friend I love in St. Remy, where I've never been.

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    1. Iva, it's going to be so fantastic when I finally get to share Provence with you! We'll go hunting the perfect pan bagnat together and so much more!

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  16. Oh Provence, how do I miss thee? Let me count the ways! What a wonderful giveaway, Julie! I'm living in hope for 2021. Bises

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    1. Provence without Patricia? It's just not right. Enough is enough!

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  17. I am in London for work in my little salon, away from my home in Provence.What I miss most in France is the light, coming up or going down it is sublimely different in Provence to anywhere else. I miss knowing the season just by what the vines are doing and I miss my local farmers at the market scolding me for not being French. I miss the air and the attitudes. Above all I miss my little French family, our animals and my dynamic clients too. Nothing is better than returning to Provence, all world weary, where winter smells like Tartiflette and the sun always smiles.

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  18. Oh, now there's a question that has so many answers! I miss France, her very essence is a balm to my soul, but it's really the little things that I love. The chorus of "bonjours" when I go to the bakery, the colors of the doors and shutters in Provence, even the old neglected ones with peeling paint make me happy, the villages full of flowerpots and window boxes brimming with color, the winding village streets that follow the contour of the hills they were built on centuries ago, the shops-each one dedicated to a particular category of food so each owner is an expert and ambassador for their product, the plane trees that still line some of the older roads-creating a cathedral-like canopy above, the quality of food that reminds me how things used to taste when I was little… Yep, it’s an on-going love affair I hope to continue in 2021. See you there!

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    1. Unknown..is actually me @shirligram. :)

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    2. I gotcha, Sister! Google does NOT make it easy! 2021 for sure!

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    3. I am SO looking forward to it!

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  19. My bride and I dream of returning to France! Our last two trips were a visit to friends in Pornichet and a five day randonnée on horseback in the Pyrenees.

    To keep the dream alive, we listen to radioclassique.fr, watch French movies, read French books, make crêpes salées, and plan our next trip. Hopefully Fevrier 2022!

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  20. My son lives in Paris and I miss him dearly. Of course, I also miss the chocolat chaud at Angelina (with a side of Bordeaux!)The best "breakfast" ever!

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  21. My heart was set on celebrating my 70th birthday in September in France. Our 5-week trip was cancelled because of Covid19. I miss watching the grape harvest, hearing the magpies, buying chocolate delights at Joel Durand's boutique in Saint Rémy, finding faïence treasures at the vide greniers, deepening my friendship with cafe, boulangerie & restaurant owners & seeing the smile on my husband's face as we relax at our favorite café in Fontvieille & watch the world go by. With a hopeful heart, we are planning two vacations to France in 2021.

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  22. I love France and the beautiful old streets lined with architectural beauties. I miss the opportunity to visit again, especially Provence. I have purchased a new home and plan to decorate in the French country style using old and new. Thank you for offering the French Country Diary. I have always admired it.

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  23. I love France and I miss then opportunity to visit again. I recently purchased a new home and plan on decorating it in the French Country style. Thank you for offering the French Country Diary. I have always admired it.

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  24. I have never had the pleasure of visiting France. It is one of the places on my bucket list and at the top! I absolutely love architecture, I love the language, studied it a couple years so I do know a few words here and there 😁 Thank you so much for the chance to win this beautiful diary.

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  25. Ah, the bistros, another charming village to discover, the incredible surprise plat du jour that just pops up in the most unexpected locale, the farmer's markets...and chevre!

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  26. Lovely diary - have enjoyed it in years past. Would like to enjoy it again in 2021.

    Becky (richmadera@sbcglobal.net)

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  27. What a joy to be featured in Julie's gorgeous, iconic Provence Post! And wonderful to read the responses of all of you who miss La Belle France as much as I do -- the landscapes, the art, the cuisine, the décor, the cuisine, the aromas of a Provençal market, and just the poetry of a day in the life of France. Thank you for all your comments so far and a big MERCI to Julie for including me in this dazzling post!! Linda

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  28. I live a French life style daily. My home is decorated with things I've brought back from France over the years.Even last year I broke down and bought the traditional Laguiole cutlery to use every day. My go to cookbook among the many cookbooks i have is now hard to get but it's great: The Bonne Femme Cookbook. I live surrounded by French radio (satelite) and French Tv and I started a French book clu a few years back so reading French novels and discussing them in French once a month helps as well. But mostly it's the French mentality, the way of looking at the world and seeing the beauty in simple things that is the best gift France has given me. Jacqueline Bucar

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  29. I miss the leisurely cafe life, the bustling markets, the fantastic wines and the opportunity to improve my French by conversing with locals.

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  30. We live in France and run a gite business and this year we have missed all our regular guests, family and friends from around the globe. I have especially missed our yearly visit from my sister in law from NZ. We have a really close relationship and its always a fun time when she visits. She is so excited about everything french, especially the food, even going to the extent of photographing the neighboring tables plates of food in restaurants. Her bag is full of goodies for us from NZ when she arrives and over full of goodies from Provence when she leaves. Each morning she is at the boulangerie for her breakfast and everyday there is some variety of french cheese in our evening meal. If she could she would take a full suitcase of cheese home. For her a trip out here is to give her time to relax and shop. She works fulltime and then spends most of her weekend looking after her parents especially her Dad who has dementia. Shes an amazing lady with a big heart and never a bad word to say and this win would be for her....

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  31. Replies
    1. You could always just scootch over the border! If you get detained, I'm sure the French authorities would see the need for a good croissant as essential travel!

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  32. Simply exploring the country, and the food.

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  33. I miss the book stores and the Hemingway tours.

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  34. Our plans for our regular visit to Provence this year were scuttled. We’ve entertained ourselves by reviewing photos of past trips, which has reminded us of the things we miss most. Which brings us to the French construction that always bewilders English speakers learning the language. La Provence me manque. Literally, “Provence lacks me,” or sometimes translated as the passive “Provence is missed by me.” This year, unfortunately, Provence lacks so many of its friends. It is an appropriate time to reflect on ces choses de Provence qui me manquent so that I will appreciate them even more when I am able to return.


    Most of our Provence time is spent in the Vaucluse, especially in the village Bédoin. Sitting in my armchair in Colorado, the things that I miss are not les sites hors pairs, although there are many, but instead les plasirs simples. Strolling through the crowded market listening for the woman in the pasta truck to call out a gentle “cou cou” as I linger over my many choices. On bike rides smelling l’arôme de lavande, seeing the organized rows of les tournesols with their heads all brightly pointed east, and visiting des fontaines ici et là. The morning walk to la boulangerie du village to buy whole grain breads made de farine that our baker mills himself. I miss the many good things to eat: melons, cerises, strawberries, tomatoes, abricots, figs, almonds, and olives. A special treat is biking by the vines whose grapes of previous years I have enjoyed. More elusive to describe is the pleasure of the Provençal life—the pace that favors stopping to chat with friends over a morning coffee and long diners with good simple foods complimented by local wines.

    La Provence me manque. Je reviendrai bientôt.

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  35. I have been a regular puchaser of this diary for the last few years so I would love to win one for 2021. Its 2 years since I was in France and living in New Zealand, its along way to travel but hopefully in the not too distant future we will get back there.

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  36. Ah . . . The aromas of walking the streets of St. Remy. Nearing the local pâtisserie my nostrils flair open and I begin to smile. I am in constant search in the US for that same experience but to date . . . nothing can replace the "real deal". I will be back. Make no mistake about that. Merci Beaucoup.

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