A year of blogging! When I started, I never imagined I would be writing and taking photos and posting regularly here a year later!  I am quite overwhelmed by all the followers, the comments, the friends I have made.  In case anyone missed my blogpost on Thursday I am giving away, not one, but two original pieces of art by Margot Rampton, my late mother in law. This is my THANK YOU to you, my personal CHRISTMAS PRESENT to you.  Margot studied at The Slade School of Fine Art in London and exhibited in London, Paris and Provence. Later in life she settled in the Channel Islands where she held many local exhibitions and supported many local charities. Very rarely does her work come up for sale nowadays, but occasionally it does and an original is sold from £300 ($450) upwards. Many local Channel Island shops sell limited edition prints for £25 to £50. But my giveaways are NOT limited editions – they are ORIGINAL signed and dated pieces of art. She lived for many years in Provence, she adored France and spent a lot of time in the Charente Maritime. The two pieces are from her portfolio of French scenes, many of which hang on our walls, one measures 22″ x 16″ (56cms x 41cms) and the other 17.5″ x 14″ (45cms x 36cms).

All you have to do if  you want to win one is subscribe to the blog (if you are not already subscribed) and leave a comment below and please feel free to share this post with friends and invite them to come over and follow the blog too.

So many of you have already left fabulous comments, I have read every single one, they have brought tears to my eyes, such wonderful words, I never ever realised so many people like so much of what I write.  For once words fail me!  So for now I urge everyone to enter and everyone to comment and in the meantime I will leave you with a photographic recap of the past year in the blogging world of Our French Oasis and my family.

And what a year it’s been; we’ve cycled around the Île de Ré, shared the excitement of the arrival of chickens and our first eggs and we’ve introduced you to the animals


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we’ve cooked, visited local markets and embraced winter


we’ve toured local churches, shared our crazy family and our animals and met local artisans

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we’ve welcomed the arrival of spring and the start of our vegetable garden


we’ve looked at local houses and French architecture


the excitement of the hatching of our very first chicks.  We’ve visited brocantes and welcomed the care free days of summer



we’ve been on wine tours and harvested so many fruits and vegetables from the garden


we’ve loved sharing so much of the summer, eating outdoors and our wonderful Atlantic beaches


you’ve met Evie and been blackberry picking with us


we’ve toured local villages, welcomed friends from around the globe, visited châteaux and enjoyed it all rain or shine


With the arrival of autumn we’ve visited the Atlantic islands so close to us and been inundated with apples


we’ve even talked about doors and gates


it’s been an incredible first year in the blogging world.  Thank you and I look forward to many more to come. Susan xxx



98 thoughts on “A YEAR IN FRANCE

  1. I am so glad that I discovered your blog. You are such a good writer and I really enjoy hearing about all the “goings on” in your daily lives. My father painted when he was young. He had no formal training, but his water colors are very good and I treasure the three that I have.

  2. This is an incredibly generous giveaway! I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident and have read every post since. They’re informative , lively, and so much fun! What a gift you are giving to your children.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much, sometimes the things we find in life unintentionally are the best! I am so glad you did stumble upon the blog and great to have you following along 🙂

  3. How fast this year has gone by, I truly have enjoyed your blogs and photos. France is such a romantic country with the simple beauty.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours…
    Carolyn from Alabama USA

    1. Hi Carolyn, I agree this year has flown by, I cannot believe we are getting out the Christmas decorations again and it is December in two days. I hope it slows down a bit! A very Merry Christmas to you and your family 🙂

    1. Hi Jacqui, thank you so much and I totally agree with you, here’s to another year, it is a country that can evoke so many emotions, from frustration to pure joy in a matter of hours!!!

    1. Hi Jill, Thank you so much and so glad you are enjoying following along and finding the time to read, for as you say, we all lead such busy lives nowadays, with so much going on I sometimes wonder if anyone has time to stop and read at all, but it seems they do and for that reason alone I am so excited to enter the next year of blogging. A very Happy Christmas to you and your family

  4. I’ve enjoyed your year immensely and truly your vacation to the island. I admire your sense of adventure with your family. I especially live the painting of the street scene. As i studied it I wondered where the street went and what would be beyond the way. It would be lovely over my mantel so I could wander a French road and dream of my own French adventure. Thank you for the opportunity. Nancy

    1. Hi Nancy, thank you so much and so happy to have your following along. I don’t know where the street scene is, but I am fairly sure it is in Provence, it looks very Provencal to me and I know she painted there a lot. The other I am sure is from here in the Charente Maritime.

  5. I have followed you thru My French Country Home”s page. Glad to find your blog! As a lover of France, descendent of French/Belguim family & visitor I love every picture…. pets, children, garden, building etc! You are a great photographer & capture the essence of them all! I continue to live vicariously thru you!

    1. Hi Jeanne, thank you so much and glad you get to enjoy where your ancestors lived. It is indeed a very beautiful country with so many varied and different places. I am thoroughly looking forward to sharing another year of life here in France.

  6. Loved your blogs and photos! Thanks for sharing.my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in France. Two weeks was not enough!!! Looking forward to returning and embracing the French way of life!

    1. Hi Judith, thank you so much and what a fabulous place to have spent your 25th wedding anniversary and congratulations! I really hope you do get to come back and spend more time here, there are so many things to do and places to visit:)

  7. Congratulations on what you and your family have achieved in the past year. I eagerly await each post as they reveal life in rural France through all the seasons.

      1. I know about the fun. We spend three months of the year in rural Dordogne and as from sometime next year, it will be year round!

  8. Your blog is just charming. I enjoy reading about the antics you and your family go about doing. It’s a very personal and warm reading experience.

  9. I’m new to your blog and am excited to read up on what I’ve been missing. I spent part of September in Provence and loved every second. Some of my happiest moments are looking forward to my next travel adventure so I’m sure each of your blogs will bring joy! I’d love to be included in the drawing. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

    1. Hi Julie, thank you so much and I can assure you your name will be in the hat! I hope you get to come back and visit some other areas of France, although Provence is quite stunning and will be hard to beat!

  10. Thank you for sharing your life with us — I love the glimpses you give us of family life in France. I would treasure one of your mother- in- law’s paintings.

  11. Thank you for all of your posts this year. We live about as far away as one can from you in Nouvelle Zealande, but as Kiwis , we do visit France and are keen to explore your beautiful area which you portray so well. Keep it up, have a wonderful festive season, roll on 2016

    1. Hi Peter, Oh I know NZ well, our youngest daughter, Gigi, was born in Auckland, although we lived in the Bay of Islands! I do hope you get back to France, it’s a lot of traveling as I know only too well but worth it once you get here! Have a very happy festive season too in the warmth of your summer!

  12. Hi Susan, I’ve been following your blog for a while & love hearing about your family adventures. Your beautiful photography really makes your blog stand out. Warmest regards, Suzi

    1. Hi Suzi, thank you so much and so glad you are following and enjoying. I am learning new things with photography all the time and my camera is now my constant companion, it has made me late on more than one occasion as I stop to take a photo! Very best wishes for the holiday season 🙂

    1. Hi, yes I know, a year already, time flies! So your comment is intriguing, next year you will be in France to live or for a vacation? Either way hope it is everything you dreamed of.

  13. I have so loved you blog site. I have been with you since you started. Your family is so lovely – the girls are charming and your pups just precious. I have enjoyed all of your posts. One so stands out in my head; the artisan series you have done is phenomenal and in particular the bakery. When we lived in England we loved to travel to France just to get the baked goods. No where in the world do they have bread and desserts like they do in France. As we travel (and now back in the US) and many times to the West Coast we ask why doesn’t the bread taste like the true French bread one eats in France? What is their secret? No one has the answer except it is the water. I hear that time and time again. Well through your research well expressed article obviously we don’ t put the effort into it that one experiences in France. Well done! Thank you for taking us into you home and village.

    1. Hi Margianne, thank you so much for your lovely comments and I am so glad to have you following, and such a loyal follower too. We too have lived in the US for four years and I totally agree the French bread just does not taste the same. We came to the conclusion that it was the flour, first and foremost. Even for a regular white unbleached flour the french have five or six different types, of plain white wheat flour, all numbered. Secondly, we then decided it was the simple ingredients, a real French bread has just four, no preservatives, hence it only lasts a few hours, and as you say the care and effort that goes into each loaf is remarkable. Everyone loved meeting David, our baker, so much I think I shall go back and chat to him further about how he makes his croissants and patisserie, for he makes the best croissants I have ever tasted and his eclairs are renowned for miles around!!! Thanks for inspiring me, I really do appreciate it and love advice and comments, you see you have given me a great idea for another post! Have a lovely week:)

  14. I have enjoyed very much hearing of your adventures and family life in France. And, the opportunity to be chosen for one the two beautiful paintings is so exciting. Thank you and best wishes to you!

  15. My wife and I troll around France for five months of the year and are having a love affair with France ,you blog is filling the void we have during our return to Cornwall for the winter,thank you.

    1. Hi Terry, what fun! and I can think of worse places to spend the winter, Cornwall is beautiful. So I wonder, do you travel north to south, east to west, or specialize each year in a different region? Do you have a camper van or stay in hotels, it sounds like the most idyllic life, more than a little envious that you get to travel around the entire country so much!!!

  16. You are my “faux” family in France, living the life I would love. I will never get to live there, but you and your loved ones can live it for me!

  17. Lovely! thank you for a wonderful year a beautiful family, I love your blog site. Merci de partager votre joie de vivre. My best wishes to you all.

  18. I live my dream of residing in France vicariously through your blog. My two visits were not enough to quench my thirst.

    1. Hi Cecelia, it sounds as if your two visits were a huge success, I hope you do get to come and live your dream, it is a beautiful country with so many wonderful different places. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it is always much appreciated 🙂

  19. Merry Christmas. And best wishes for a Happy New Year. I am looking forward to another glorious year in France.
    I am in the high desert in US. Your essays about your garden ,sightseeing and lovely family are wonderful additions to my day.

  20. Must write again in honor of your one year anniversary to say how much I love reading about your family adventures in France. Thank you very much for the time that you put into your wonderful blog! It is very appreciated. I love all travel but France is my favorite country to visit and I relish having your photos and stories to tide me over until my next visit. My oldest son is turning 30 in June and it makes me so happy that he is choosing to celebrate with a trip to France and we have been invited along with my daughter-in-law’s parents to join the “party” along with our other children. Thank goodness we have a France trip in the future. In the meantime, I will very eagerly enjoy every word and photo that you post. Best wishes to you and your whole family during this holiday season.

  21. YOU SEE!
    YOU did not need my HELP AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. I am so very glad I found you! As I have said before, it’s just so wonderful to live vicariously through your posts. Oh, to live in the French countryside. Heaven!

    1. Hi Sheran, so happy to have you following along, thank you. Life in the French country, like everywhere else has it’s ups and downs, but it is beautiful and I wouldn’t change it for anything!

  23. Yes, I did sign up yesterday but today I’m commenting about how much I would LOVE to win a painting. I have made my attempt to design my home in French Country…..My attempt would be much more enhanced with a genuine painting!
    My eight year old twin granddaughters dream of a Paris opening of a French bakery. With this lovely painting their dreams, as well as mine, will continue.
    We will comtinue our make-believe stories by standing in front of the painting and continue using our imagination about life in Paris.
    Patty Katity

  24. I love reading your blog. I have never been to France, but I feel like I am learning so much about France from your blog and all the wonderful pictures you post. Thank you so much for sharing your life with all of us!

  25. Reading your blog is such a joy! Thank you for writing and for the opportunity for such a lovely giveaway! Merry Christmas!!

    1. Hi Tracy, thank you, it’s been quite a year! I too can’t wait to get started on another year of writing, so much to explore and share. But in the meantime Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to you x

  26. Love your clean and simple lifestyle. I am sure you are giving your family so many experiences that will be with them for life. Keep doing what you do so well. Each time I read your blog I feel like I’ve had a mini holiday to France.😊

    1. Hi Jennifer, thank you for the lovely comment. I think we all try and do the best we can for our children, sometimes it’s hard to get them away from electronics but with so much to explore around us we have a big helping hand!!!

  27. Morning Susan. Just to say how much I look forward to reading your blog, It’s always full of inspiration and wonderful photo’s of your fantastic part of the world and delightful family, that you kindly share with us. May I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a peaceful and happy Christmas and new year. xx

    1. Hi Loraine, thank you so much, it’s such fun being able to share so much with so many people, that is what makes it all worthwhile. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and New Year too

  28. Happy anniversary. We also started our french adventure just over a year ago, arriving from Australia. Like you and yours everyday is a learning curve, more highs than lows. But wouldn’t have it any other way.x

    1. Hi Jo, Welcome to the blog and great to have you following. I know what you mean about the highs and lows, but the highs make up for the lows!!! On average life couldn’t be better, it is a fabulous country to live in. Do let me know where you are living in France. Susan

  29. I don’t remember where I first saw you blog, but I’m very glad I did. I do so enjoy it, and look forward to it. I’ve spent most of my travel time in Paris, so I love learning from your experiences.

    1. Hi Candi, thank you so much. Paris is such a fabulous city, how could you not spend lots of time there! However, I hope you do visit again and I hope you venture further afield, the country has no many different things to offer and so many places to see, each unique to themselves 🙂

  30. Bonjour Susan! I’ve been following along for a couple years now, and enjoy your text and photos so much. I hadn’t realized that I wasn’t actually subscribed – until I couldn’t find a way to leave a comment. All set now!
    The paintings you’ve so generously offered are both beautiful, and I would love to receive either one. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
    Happy holidays to you and yours!

  31. After 2 trips to France I enjoy visiting your area with you and your Family! Your MIL’s art work is beautiful and I would love to have one of those paintings hanging in my home!
    I look forward to another year of blogging about beautiful France.

    1. Hi Beth, thank you so much, your name will be in the hat and good luck! It has been a fantastic first year with the blog and I cannot wait to get started on sharing more adventures!

  32. I only follow three Blogs not because I don’t think there are many wonderful ones to read but I love to absorb and savour every word of the three I do follow. Anymore and I’m worried I’ll miss a wonderful story, suggestion, recipe, photo. Thank you for sharing your life this year.

    1. Hi Ann-Maree, thank you and I am truly flattered, gosh so much to live up to now. I have really enjoyed sharing so much of our life here in France with everyone, the support and following has been fantastic and comments like this are so encouraging. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas

  33. I have enjoyed following your beautiful stories of family life style and the people and parts of beautiful France. Your vegetable gardens, even asking about the chandelier for the summer kitchen. Reading and following your beautiful stories I feel like I am apart of your beautiful life. I spent five months for nine years in the South of France I miss the markets with the beautiful scents and colors, and the gates or doors that open to beautiful gardens, which you took great photo’ s of.
    Thank you for opening your talents and sharing your life and your beautiful family.
    Congratulations on your one year anniversary.
    Wishing you and your family a great New Year and best of the holiday season.

    1. Hi Carolyn, thank you so much for your lovely comment, how good you are to remember so much, the chandelier for the summer kitchen is still sitting waiting to be hung, and the inside of the roof is waiting to be finished! Summer took over and we were so incredibly busy, but I am hoping we will get to it this winter after Christmas once we get more time, of which there is never enough! Wishing you too the very best for the holiday season and a wonderful Christmas. Susan

  34. I first found you on facebook and I was so happy to find you also had a blog. Everyday my heart and mind, at sometime or other, goes to my memories of France. I enjoy both sites that you have and look forward to it everyday! Thank you for my guilty pleasure.xx

  35. It is amazing what you have accomplished in a year. Life is wonderful here and I would never want to change it. We bought just slightly over 10 years ago. I spent summers restoring while my husband earned the money in the UK. Thankfully we are at last together again and both living here full time.
    Have a great Christmas, we are in the UK for the festive season, an elderly FIL needs some support and company. Diane

    1. Hi Diane,Thank you, it’s been quite a year! Had great fun reading your blog last night, what an incredible life you have lead, and it now sounds as if you are having a wonderful time here in France. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas

  36. Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your lovely and thoughtful blog, and your generous spirit of sharing. Precious treats in a too troubled world. Happy December and all it brings to you and all the family. Emma x

    1. Hi Emma, indeed my thoughts are the same as yours, I thought I would offer some good cheer from France. Hope all is well with you and the family and wishing you a wonderful Christmas x

  37. Love your blog and getting a little glimpse of France. I’ve been there a few times, the latest trip was to Strasbourg last year (visiting my daughter who was studying abroad). Can’t wait to go back! I really look forward to your posts!

    1. Hi Deidre, thank you so much. I have never been to Strasbourg, but I have read so much about it and that area in general and it is definitely on my list of places to visit. Have a very happy holiday season. Susan

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