Keith van Sickle

The Four Queens of Provence

Written by on January 14, 2019 in Guest Blogs
The Four Queens of Provence

There have been many famous families in history. Take the Curies, for example: Marie Curie won two Nobel Prizes and her husband, daughter and grandson each won one. Quite the talented family! And then there are the Wright brothers and the Brontë sisters. And let’s not forget those comic masters, the Marx brothers. But imagine […]

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How the Hunchback of Notre Dame got the name Quasimodo

Written by on December 13, 2018 in Guest Blogs
How the Hunchback of Notre Dame got the name Quasimodo

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of the most famous characters in French literature. But how did he get the unusual name of Quasimodo? For centuries, French law strictly limited the names that families could give their babies. They had to come from an approved list made up mostly of Catholic saints. The laws […]

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French Buyback Lease Car Hire Programme

Written by on October 6, 2018 in Holiday Travel
French Buyback Lease Car Hire Programme

Have you ever seen mysterious red license plates on a French car and wondered what they mean? Was the driver a diplomat? A military officer? A French James Bond saving the world from an evil genius? No, the car was from the French Buyback Lease program. If you need to rent a car in Europe […]

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5 Favourite Foods of Nice

Written by on September 17, 2018 in Gastronomy
5 Favourite Foods of Nice

Nice is one of the most beautiful cities in France, nestled by the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Founded by the Greeks long ago, it has changed hands many times—for centuries it was part of the Duchy of Savoy, then part of France, then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia in Italy, before finally […]

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The secrets of Bouillabaisse famous French fish soup

Written by on August 16, 2018 in Gastronomy
The secrets of Bouillabaisse famous French fish soup

Just how do you make a real bouillabaise and how did this famous fish dish get its name? Keith Van Sickle, author of Life in Provence, finds out The legend of Bouillabaisse My wife and I live part of the year in St.-Rémy-de-Provence. We love bouillabaisse, that magical dish that seems to capture the spirit […]

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Does the World’s Best Chocolate come from France?

Written by on August 16, 2018 in Gastronomy
Does the World’s Best Chocolate come from France?

  From the small French town of Voiron, near Grenoble, comes some of the best chocolate in the world. No less than the New York Times has called Chocolat Bonnat, “The best chocolate we had ever eaten.” Chocolat Bonnat Why is it so good? To begin with, Chocolat Bonnat has had a long time to […]

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Going to the butcher’s shop in France

Written by on June 9, 2018 in Guest Blogs
Going to the butcher’s shop in France

A French town without a baker – it’s unthinkable – everyone would move away! A butcher is almost as important to French village life as a baker. The butcher sells the usual roasts and chops and chickens, as well as a variety of prepared foods. My wife Val and I live part of the year […]

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Things to do on a rainy day in Provence

Written by on May 31, 2018 in Provence-Alpes
Things to do on a rainy day in Provence

Provence is famous for clear blue skies. Its brilliant sunlight has attracted painters such as Cezanne and Matisse as well as scads of tourists. There are plenty of things to see outdoors in Provence, like the colorful ochre mines of Roussillon and the lavender fields of Sault. But what if you happen to visit when […]

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How to learn French at aged 50+

Written by on May 17, 2018 in Learn French
How to learn French at aged 50+

Research shows that learning a second language offers proven benefits for intelli- gence, memory and concentration, plus lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Learning French can be challenging but fun – and it makes trips to France that much more rewarding. Here’s how I learned French in my 50s: Build a Foundation You need some […]

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The importance of cheese in France

Written by on March 5, 2018 in Guest Blogs
The importance of cheese in France

I spy with my expat eye – a view of France from the inside… When Keith van Sickel and his wife Val began spending time in France, they knew that they had much to learn. There was the language, of course, but also the customs and quirks of the French. Little did they know that […]

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