Keith van Sickle

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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Christmas Traditions Provence style

Written by on December 4, 2017 in Gastronomy, Provence-Alpes
Christmas Traditions Provence style

Provence shares many Christmas traditions with the rest of France, like sapins de Noël (Christmas trees) and Pére Noël (Father Christmas.) But it also has some unique ones of its own. Thirteen Desserts? Oh My! Perhaps the most famous Provence Christmas tradition is the treize (thirteen) desserts. Wait, thirteen? Yes! These are eaten after midnight […]

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Classic French Dinner Party – The Easy French Way

Written by on April 28, 2017 in Gastronomy, Guest Blogs
Classic French Dinner Party – The Easy French Way

Before I moved to France, I thought that French dinner parties were formal affairs with too many forks.  I imagined elegantly dressed people sipping Champagne and discussing Molière.  And with all those complicated courses, I figured it must take days to prepare the food. Then I met actual French people and learned that it’s not like […]

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Caverne du Pont d’Arc a museum of ancient art in France

Written by on March 17, 2017 in Rhône Alpes
Caverne du Pont d’Arc a museum of ancient art in France

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams – When the prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux were discovered in 1940, they created a sensation. Over the decades, thousands flocked to see the famous pot-bellied horses – so many, in fact, that the paintings started to deteriorate. Eventually the French government created an imitation cave – Lascaux II – […]

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