Farmers’ Markets in France

Most villages in France have a farmers’ market once a week during certain times of the year. These markets are often a mix of stands and stalls offering homemade items, cheeses or a full-range of produce straight from the farm. 

“Le Petit Prince” Returns

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My husband and I recently moved to a smaller home in Arizona and this required lots of downsizing. As I rummaged through old boxes, sorting “keep” piles and “give away” piles, I stumbled across my copy of Le Petit Prince from my stay in France in 1980. My heart lurched as I picked up the well-used book, turned to the first page and discovered  an inscription — long forgotten — from my love interest in France. 

Romance on a Train in 1979

When I traveled to France in 1979 to work as an au pair, I brought my trusted Kodak pocket Instamatic camera along so I could capture some special moments. The camera was small enough to fit inside my purse or pocket, hence the name.

Loire Butcher Shop

Shortly after I arrived in the Loire Valley in 1979, my patron, Madame Dubois took me shopping in the nearby town of Songais (not the real name). Many of the sights in this small town were unfamiliar to me and I remember my mouth dropping on more than one occasion as we passed by ancient buildings or unusual merchants. One of the most memorable shops we visited that day, was the butcher shop.

Cherished Memories

We all have memories we cherish, and for many of us, these memories revolve around our childhood. My mother loved cooking more than anything else in the world and she would spend hours in her kitchen preparing meals for the family. My brother very much appreciated her efforts, but alas, I was a very picky child. No amount of coaxing or pleading would open my mind to her “healthy” recipes, so she often prepared separate meals for me (so I wouldn’t “starve”). One of my favorites was palačinke, better known as crepes.

Luscious Libations from the Loire Valley

When I worked as an au pair in the Loire Valley in 1979, I sampled many fabulous wines, from Sauvignons to Cabernets. Once, as I strolled through the farmers market in the Loire Valley, I sampled unfermented new wine. Here is an excerpt from my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, chronicling that event.

Award Contests – Yea or Nay

I’ve entered my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, in two contests.

In the spring of 2014, I paid $89 and submitted my book to the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Contest.Later that year, they notified me that I won the Bronze Medal in the “Non-Fiction Travel Category.” There was no monetary prize for this award.

What! You Want to Become an Au Pair?

“What! You Want to Become an Au Pair?” These outbursts from family and friends were common in 1979. The introduction in my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, reveals the reasons behind this decision, but here’s a recap.

Fabien the Dog

Several readers have asked about the dog who lived at the Château de Montclair during my stint as an au pair in 1979. Fabien was an endearing, scruffy, shepherd mix who lived outdoors, except in the winter months. The children, especially Antoine, loved the dog, but most everyone else either ignored him or shoved him aside. Some days, he was a “hazard” and this excerpt from my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley depicts this sentiment perfectly. In this scene, Marie (a domestic helper at the chateau) and I are tending to the laundry.

A Love Affair with French Bridges

In my opinion, France has some of the most remarkable bridges in the world. Here are four of my favorites, three of which are located in “The City of Light.”