Happy New Year from the middle of nowhere rural France

Written by on December 29, 2018 in Newsletter from France

Bonjour

Hope you had a lovely Christmas.

Here it was a quiet Christmas as usual, not too much razzmatazz in the middle of nowhere rural France. Farmers carry on as normal, early mornings, milking cows, feeding livestock, though not much work in the fields as the ground is either frozen or sodden this time of the year.

I’m very pleased to tell you that the goose I have been feeding on my morning walks with the dogs – lives! I was worried about fattening him up for someone’s Christmas but, non, he is alive and honking! (A few people have asked for a photo of him so here he is on Instagram!) …

In the village, shutters are closed and it looks like a ghost town as not even a peep of light shows through the cracks. Inside the houses – it’s a different story. Yesterday I popped down the hill where I live to wish a bonne fin d’année, happy end of the year, to my neighbour Marie-Claude. In France, you don’t wish Happy New Year until after midnight on New Year’s Eve, bonne fin d’année is acceptable though!

Marie-Claude lives in the basin of the village in a long, low farmhouse. It was dusk, a freezing night, the pale winter sun was just disappearing over the hill, rosy hues lit up the sky, mist hovered over the fields and great balls of mistletoe stood out in the surrounding, leafless trees. I couldn’t tell if Marie-Claude was even at home but when the door was opened, a blast of hot air fell out! I hurried in, so as not to let the heat escape. I was ushered straight into the kitchen as is the way when you visit people here, a glass of wine poured before I could get my coat off, the fire stoked up and the dog told to stay in its bed.

“Would you like something to eat?” asked Marie-Claude. “No thanks” I said. Which is pointless because Marie-Claude takes no notice and always puts food on the table when someone arrives. Out came a little dish of green olives, spiced walnuts, slices of saucisson, salty Comte cheese, little rounds of baguette, a pat of salty butter on a wooden board, tiny cakes, Financiers and Madeleines, crystallised fruit.

“Now” she said as she sat down “How is your next book coming along… drink your wine… try those olives… the cheese.” She gabbled away in fast rural French and before I knew it, an hour had gone and then another as we chatted away about this and that. People here are not rich in what they have in the bank, but in terms of kindness, of caring, of neighbourliness, we picked millionaire’s row when we moved to this tiny village no one has ever heard of in the 7 Valleys in northern France.

To all my French friends, I wish you a bonne fin d’année and to everyone else – a Very Happy New Year…

Bisous from France,
Janine
Editor

Read the whole newsletter here

If you don’t want to miss my weekly newsletters of musings from France and a round up of fab features, plus exclusive random newsletter giveaways – it’s easy to subscribe. Just scroll to the bottom of this post if you’re on a mobile device, or look on the right on a laptop, type in your email address and click subscribe…

Related Articles

Comps, Cote d’Azur, win a week in a cottage in Carcassonne and more…

Bonjour, Hope you had a great week. Having said last week that winter has got distracted on its way to the Seven Valleys in northern France where I am, snow is on the way! There is an ancient farmer in the village whom everyone addresses as “Monsieur”, and he keeps a couple of old horses […]

Continue Reading

Bon weekend – the best newsletter from France!

Bonjour, Hope you had a great week. Strangely the weather has been okay here. I’ve been seeing photos of snow in some parts of Europe as winter arrives, but there’s nothing like that in my bit of northern France. I keep reading that colder weather is on its way, (the Beast from the East some […]

Continue Reading

Bon Weekend from France land of cakes and temptation!

Bonjour Happy New Year – in France we say it all through January! I hope you had fun and a relaxing start to 2019. I’ve made my new year resolutions but it’s not going to be easy with all the boulangeries and patisseries I come across in France. It’s pretty much like “I’m going to […]

Continue Reading

Merry Christmas from the middle of nowhere France

Hope you had a great week. Here Christmas is in full swing – quite literally as its been very windy and the inflated Father Christmases that everyone seems to love so much here are blowing in the gales. They hang from gutters, chimneys and windows, some are life-sized, some less so. They’re very odd, I […]

Continue Reading

Bon weekend from frosty France

Bonjour Hope you had a great week. Here it’s been proper frosty in the mornings and very cold, even during the day the frost has stayed thick on the ground, sparkling when a ray of sun manages to get through the clouds. I have had to carry buckets of water down to the bird pens […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top