Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

This is a post specifically for a couple of wanderlusting pals who are about to set off to France for a deserved break. On their itinerary is  Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, capital of the marshy region called the Camargue. Driving south on the D570 from Arles, the land is flat and green. As hotels begin to punctuate the…

Nossy Be, La Baule

Following a rough pregnancy and even rougher ‘special delivery’ of our small person this summer, I seriously doubted I was up for a trip to France. Two months into parenthood, still feeling battered and bloated and somewhat embarrassed to be seen in public, I somehow lost the family holiday debate to the ever-persuasive Monsieur and…

Bonjour, French Food!

It’s sometimes surprising to think of London as France’s sixth biggest city, with a French population greater than centres like Bordeaux or Nantes. With so many French people living here, Monsieur included, there’s a definite demand for French food to stave off their homesickness for familiar edibles. Factor in a large population of Francophiles and…

Hotel La Coupe d’Or, Lisieux

Monsieur, the Crevette and I were driving south through Normandy when Lisieux, the pilgrimage town where Sainte Thérèse of Lisieux lived, popped up before us, just in time for lunch. We had a pleasant arrival in the small, sloped town, circumnavigating pretty roundabouts, one with a giant Norman apple as its centrepiece, and being the…

This Little Piggy Went to Market – in La Rochelle

Doing the daily shop, French-style. These aubergines are shinier than a militia man’s boots. The lobster tank was looking a bit empty. I suspect there’d been a rush on lobster for cooling summer seafood platters. This little piggy went to market, to hang out next to his brothers who are now a pair of delicious dried sausages….

The Salade Not-so-Nicoise

World over, there are many versions of the Salade Niçoise and much debate over what constitutes the correct serving of this classic dish. Purists insist that no cooked component should be added, apart from the tuna itself, and even then the tuna is either optional or tinned (not in MY kitchen). As you can see from the title of…

Hotel Pullman, Marseille Palm Beach

Marseille: an ancient city renowned for many things, among which number its huge commercial port, a small crime problem, the legendary Château d’If and fine bouillabaisse. The city lent its name to the French national anthem, la Marseillaise, pastis was born here and Marcel Pagnol took childhood walks in the lush Parc Borély. I suggest that we add to this hall of fame the Hotel Pullman Marseille Palm…

Restaurant La Villa, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

It was nearing the end of our ‘vacances’ in the South of France last summer and we spent our last morning visiting the town famed for brocante: L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Walking through the picturesque centre-ville, that day brimming with parading brass bands in competition, their supporters and weekend visitors like ourselves, we’d worked up quite an appetite….

Salmon en Croute – French style

If there’s one thing destined to fill me with frissons of gastronomic excitement, it’s the way the French present their food. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s in a market or a supermarket or a bakery window, the presentation of food is creative and often so decorative that you might think twice about ruining the artistry…

l’Epicure, Restaurant gastronomique!

To add to the list of restaurants that I really rate, I must write about L’Epicure, a restaurant in Corbeil-Essonne. Located in a traditional stone house that looks as if someone could be living inside it, sitting with cat on lap in front of the fire, the restaurant may be found a short distance from…

Paris, 75007

For a truly Parisian experience, I love to explore the area surrounding rue Saint-Dominique. The length of this  shop-lined street running from Saint Germain, past les Invalides to the Champ de Mars, provides plenty of opportunity to fill up a suitcase without the challenge of the Big Avenue crowds and, if one suitcase proves insufficient, there are a couple of wonderful wholesale…