April Fish Day France, fab southern French food, secret chateaux…

Written by on March 28, 2014 in Newsletter

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Today, I’m writing this newsletter with the window open in my office in northern France – it’s a bit cool but I don’t care, the scent of cherry blossom is on the air and the magnolia tree is in full bud and smells divine. The problem is that my five cats are friends with all the neighbourhood farm cats and bring them home through the window for tea. One of them has a bad leg so I let her come in and eat with the rest, I’m pretty sure we’ll have 6 cats before long! There is a farmer in the village who loves cats. He lost his wife some years ago and since then has cared for stray cats and they live in his barn. There are more than 50 of them – my family say that will be me one day. He feeds the cats every day and once a week when the fish van from Boulogne visits (my village has no shops and the nearest supermarket is miles away so shops come to us) he treats them to fish scraps. On that day I don’t see much of my own cats – I have a feeling the poor man has a weekly party for every cat for miles around.

Another man in the village has 24 dogs – I kid you not. He takes in strays and there are plenty of them around these parts. I have three myself and that’s more than enough.

All the cats and dogs need a lot of TLC and actually even my ducks, geese and chickens like some attention – it’s a wonder I’ve got any time to talk to you at all some days! It doesn’t stop me from making sure we bring you fabulous features about France every day though and this week we’ve got a great line up for you.

With best wishes
Janine

Don’t miss this week’s top features

April Fish Day – April 1st is April Fool’s Day, or as we say in France, April Fish Day (Poisson d’Avril) – Margo Lestz looks at the royal connections to this fishy French story…

Tastes of the South – we look at Provencal cuisine, delicious tasting ice creams, tapenade, and pissaladiere – traditional southern French food to whet your appetite…

Most beautiful places to visit in France – I asked our experts to share their top tips on the most gorgeous French towns and villages and they certainly didn’t disappoint…

Secret chateaux of the Loire Valley – Rosemary Kneipp looks at four off the beaten track castles in the valley of a thousand chateaux, and they are magnificent…

Musee de Luxembourg in Paris – Linda Matthieu visits the intimate and cosy little Musee de Luxembourg on the edge of the beautiful Jardins de Luxembourg…

Saint Calais and the history of the apple turnover – Susan Keefe discovers the pretty town of Saint Calais and the legend of how the chaussons aux pommes (apple turnover) came to be… (and here’s a great French recipe for an apple turnover!)

Spring in Narbonne – Honor Marks says the ancient city of Narbonne is great to visit any time but in the spring it is divine…

How to choose where to live in France –  Richard Woolam decided to move to France but had no idea where to live – here he tells us how he started the search – in London…

Major Napoleonic events – This year is the bicentenary of major events in Napoleon Bonaparte’s life and in Champagne-Ardenne there are some truly awesome events planned to commemorate the legendary general who became an Emperor… including the chance to experience what it was like to be a soldier in Napoleon’s camp….

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