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.