Happy Mother’s Day to those in the UK. Nearly every country I can think of celebrates in May, so I wonder why in Great Britain it is in March? I have lots of little things for you to mull over today. It is Sunday after all, and we are in France, a day to relax and and a day to enjoy. Here it promises to be another beautiful warm one so I shall keep this short and sweet.
The clocks have gone forward an hour, but this is coming to an end. The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly this week to abolish daylight saving time starting in 2021.
But first and foremost that simple word ‘why’. Small children ask it frequently, their most common word perhaps is ‘why’. As we get older do we ask it enough? Do we stop and enquire or do we just accept too much and question too little?
Where is your special place to just think? Mine tends to either be in the shower, which means I waste far too much hot water or at this time of year it is in the garden. Feeling the warmth of the sun, watching new life emerging all around, I find it is the most relaxing place to be and my thoughts run wild. I love to ask myself questions and search for the answer.
This week I have been thinking a lot about France. With Paris and France frequently taking the number one spot for ‘best tourist destination’ I wondered what is it that draws people here?
Is it the culture, the architecture, the food?
Or is it a culmination of everything that makes the French way of life? A lifestyle that is often revered around the world. French Country Interior Style is much written about, imitated and copied, so much so that I often think it is more apparent inside homes in other countries than in France itself!
For so many it is a dream to live here. Some make it a reality and for others it will remain just that, a desire that most likely will never be fulfilled. But there is always a solution of sorts, if you can’t go to France then France can come to you. You can Frenchify your life, take simple steps to appreciate the simple pleasures in life a little more and to slow down. Take the time to cook and enjoy your food, indulge in a glass of wine at the same time and savour the flavours and take pleasure in company. Turn off the TV and talk. Decorate in the French style, take vacations here or simply enjoy a virtual holiday courtesy of the internet.
You can adapt the French lifestyle to your own way of living. Is that a reason perhaps why people love to read blogs, is it to enhance their lives or a simple form of escapism. Or is it purely for fun. For me the rewards from this blog have undoubtedly been the new friendships. This year we are set to meet many new people who are coming to stay in our gîte and we couldn’t be more excited. It honestly gives us so much pleasure to welcome guests here, to enjoy this tiny slice of tranquility that is our little cottage in the garden.
So if this has left you wanting to add a little bit of something French to your home just for today I am giving you 50% off everything in our Etsy shop. Our aim has always been to make brocante affordable and I hope this will help a little. But remember it is only for 24 hours. https://www.etsy.com/shop/ourfrenchlifestyle.
However, that still begs the question why? If you have a moment to spare please leave a comment or send me an email, I am intrigued to know what fascinates you about France?
78 thoughts on “Why France ?”
I am able to spend 2 months here in Eze this visit, it’s a magical place. I did a month of intensive language study and now I am able to practice what I have learned… why France for me? The language, culture, people, I love the topography of our area Alpes~Martimes, where the Alps meet the med, for hiking, and water sports. Je suis tres content!
Sounds like perfection for you, I do love the mountains and the Med, but I also love the flat marshlands and the Atlantic! xx
Absolutely, your area is so beautiful!
Hi Susan, Do you sell anything open air brocantes as well, or just your Etsy shop. Isn’t this weather amazing! Miranda
Hi Miranda, no just in the Etsy shop. I just don’t have the time to sell at the brocantes, but I do love visiting them! This weather was amazing, what a sudden change!! xx
J > See Wikipedia for an explanation as to why Mother’s Day in the UK is different to many other countries, but in essence it’s because it was combined with Mothering Sunday (which as you might expect has nothing whatsoever to do with mothers!)
Well, THIS is news to me. Mothers‘ Day is NOT Mothering Sunday? And I always thought „What a funny name for Mothers‘ Day“…. Have to look into that one too.
Strictly we don’t have Mother’s Day in the UK. What’s happened is that the mediaeval festival of Mothering Sunday has had a Mother’s Day function layered on to it. The religious festival has largely become redundant due to social changes over the last 100 years.
Thank you so much. That‘s probably not the first time you delivered replies to some question of mine (I seem to remember your ‚name‘) and I really appreciate this info.
Me – a Swiss, living in France, have THREE Mothers‘ Days. The English one first, then our Swiss & German one (2nd Sunday of May) and the French one at the end of May…. fancy that – And NOBODY to think of me, poor me. My only son is not into that Mothers‘ Day business…. But I keep him anyway 🙂
Kiki, I’ll send you a big bunch of flowers on French Mothers Day xx
Merci ma chérie:)
I have learnt so much about this, thank you, I am finding it all rather fascinating xx
The more I read in comments here and the more I have now gleaned from the internet the more interesting it gets! xx
Thank you, I have had a fascinating time reading all about this. xx
For me France is about beauty. Beautiful buildings, doorways, cafes, food, fashion, countryside…
I can certainly understand that xx
Your question can be answered easily, “why not”
Makes perfect sense to me! xx
There is a light in France that’s simply beautiful. I often say every direction you turn, could be a painting! The food, architecture, natural beauty, small villages, large cities – it’s all such an immersive experience! Even more, it’s a feeling that there are no words for-simply magical!
Having lived in France for more than 4 years from 11-15 years, I think my curiousity and interest in what was around me but could not understand awakened something inside me. Perhaps as adults without language skills there is similarly a dose of imagination to go along with the unfamiliar, the history that’s everywhere and the sheer amount of time dedicated to enjoying food and people’s company. And, for me, everywhere I looked, even where houses were not pristine – there was beauty – and an appreciation of it, the simple things.
Most of the houses are not perfect but they are still beautiful, that’s what I love, it is all very natural not forced xx
Yes I think one does get totally immersed here, great explanation xx
Even having lived abroad for 43 yrs. it is difficult to articulate the “magic” of Europe—to distill the essence of the “what & the why” of the allurement. I truly believe it is a combination of “time” & “depth” in architecture, food, enjoyment, and taking time to truly be present in the moment w/friends & family. Simple pleasures are truly practiced on a daily basis and time around the table or on a long walk with a good conversation is cherished. In many countries (as in the US) we are a “hurried people.” We have beautiful homes, but we are too busy planning what is next on our list. When our oldest daughter was only 3 she taught me a very good lesson—she was playing in her doll house & I was trying to get her ready to go someplace & she said “God is here, God is there, and we are always in a hurry!” Out of the mouths of babes. . .
Very wise words indeed and truly made me stop and think. Our lives are busy and frantic, but it is so important just to slow down and appreciate things and it is perhaps just a little bit easier here because so many other people are doing the same xx
I had always dreamed of living in France when I was little, although I’m not sure why in particular. I suppose France just generally seemed the ideal destination as, from the UK, it was the easiest foreign holiday destination to get to, so I always had very happy memories of being in France. I’ve now lived here for 8 years, having unintentionally realised my dream (I went out for four months as an au pair, met my husband and stayed!). It is a wonderful country 😁
What a wonderful fairytale for you, you got the dream in more ways than one xx
The food, the textiles, views, wine, language, design, art. And your blog.
Awww thanks so much Alice xx
I dream about Provence almost every day. Having spent a lot of time there, renting in different towns, driving all over, running an import business with a partner in Aix, improving my language skills I have now not been back for almost three years. I long for it. The smells (oh the lavender); the sounds (those cicadas!); the people; the light and so much more. We are trying to find a way back this fall but UK now takes precedence with daughter living there!
Do let me know if you do make it over the Channel if you visit Europe this autumn. Would love to meet up xx
Beauty. France is an environment like no other. I study the human-environment phenomenon in its many forms: architecture, urban planning, social-narratives and more. While Italy, for example, is an environment formed over centuries with religion or the elite driving its architecture, art, and more. France seems to have allowed the simple beauty of nature to be the driver. This drives the architecture, food, culture, and more. I assert this allows anyone immersed in this environment to feel the peace, authenticity, and joy that naturally arises when we unabashedly celebrate the world as it is.
Very interesting. I do believe that nature absolutely drives our life here xx
For me, I started a fascination with France in the 6th grade when we needed to pick a country and come to school with a dress representing that country. This was WAY before internet!
Then after college the interest picked up again. I didn’t go to France til after my 50th birthday, but have been 4 times now. It’s weird, but France just feels right-love the culture, the architecture, the food and the people have been nothing but gracious!
Can’t wait for our next trip next year!!
Wow that is a long love affair and so glad you finally got to visit and that it was worth the wait! Which area are you planning to visit next year? xx
I’m not sure what it is about France, probably a combination of things mentioned above. Having a s-i-l and b-i-l who live there also makes it attractive, as I have great company, the best of all tour guides, cohorts in craziness, someone who speaks the language fluently, as well as a free place to stay. But I’ve enjoyed other places in Europe, too. Right now I’m working on improving my French via the free Duolingo app as well as CD’s from the library, so if you ever want to know how to say “The shark is eating the dolphin”, I’m your woman. 🙂
I love the first photo and the one with the bike and le pain. 🙂
You have everything in place to have the very best of times here! xx
I feel as if France is my heart home…my happy place. I live in magical place on a small island, but the French culture, lifestyle, and yes appreciation for the finer things of life have always attracted me. I believe we all need a bit of fantasy in our life to counteract the harsh reality of the daily onslaught of the news around the world. We have been fortunate to spend quite a bit of time discovering different parts of France. Our time there always feels like our other reality, just another part of our life…a very necessary part of our life. Of course the food, wine, the spectacular scenery, and maybe a Brocant or two, or five add a certain appeal.
So looking forward to this years adventure.
So where is this year’s adventure going to take you? Where is there left to visit? I love how you change this each year whilst keeping the main part the same. You really do get the best of both worlds xx
Love your line “French Country Interior Style is much written about, imitated and copied, so much so that I often think it is more apparent inside homes in other countries than in France itself!”I know EXACTLY what YOU MEAN HERE!
I think it’s the BEAUTY of all that you mentioned and that LIGHT is SO different from what we have in AMERICA!I of course LOVED THE ANTIQUES from FRANCE when I had my small shop!THE COFFEE in FRANCE needs some WORK but other than that I think its perfect!HAPPY Mother’s Day TO YOU!YOU get to celebrate TWICE!!XX
Ahh the coffee! I tend to agree with you there! But I do have my favourite place in Rochefort where they actually manage to make a pretty good cup! xx
FRANCE….From childhood, we are “brainwashed” into the “magic of France!! TV ads,magazines, novels,movies!
It is truly “a magic place”!! It is REAL…..because the people care for their lifestyle and they “work to live” rather than
“living to work”!! France speaks to “the spirit and soul” from the charm of the villages to the elegance of the cities.
Oh yes, the light….so luminous and the geography so diverse. No question why the true”tour de force” of the artists’
Impressionist movement is credited to France.
Fascinating and also very true. I do agree that the French work to live and long may it last. xx
I got to be in France once and enjoyed every minute of it! The canola fields were in bloom, the vine covered buildings were fabulous, the French bread and wine, at our picnic as we watched the sheep graze across the street, was the best ever, and the coastline was such a delight!
Thank you for the memories! 💗
The canola is in flower now, great swathes of yellow cover the countryside, it is utterly magical. xx
My experience of France is vicarious; either via your Blog or my friends’ travels. I love the history and the beauty it evokes. It is a complete contrast to the newness of our small, almost unspoiled, New Zealand.
Oh but I love New Zealand, we were there for a couple of years and our youngest daughter was born in Auckland, our little Kiwi. So NZ will always have a very special place in my heart xx
Mothering Sunday is tied to Easter and therefore moves with it, it was a day when those working away from home were allowed home for the day.The Mother church was behind it and before it was commercialised children would pick small posies of violets and primroses to give their Mum, whilst I am not of a religious persuasion it is the root of ‘Mothers Day’
Thank you Diana, I really enjoyed learning this little bit about Mothers Day. I have been reading so much more about it on the internet this week. xx
I Love the Elegance! I’ve never been to France but every book and magazine about France is Beautiful! I have my home decorated French style. Don’t know about people there because unfortunately I have not talked to a French….however my ancestry says my maiden name (Parrish) is French.?? I love your blog and others from France. Maybe one day I can visit!! Happy Mother’s Day
Keep enjoying everything French Nancy and I really do hope you get to visit, when you do, and you will, let me know, would love to welcome you here xx
For me, France was always about traveling back in time to visit the place where the widow Josephine left with her 9 children (7 sons) to escape Napoleon III’s troops who were rounding up unwilling farmers to fight his wars. All Pinaires in America descend from this family and, while much is known about all of them, little is known in America about those who were left. When I finally visited the spot, I learned, in a tomb in a country cemetery, of ancestors who never left France and died fighting in WWI. I also discovered that my beloved uncle and I both ended up living in very similar landscapes here in the states. I loved the natural beauty of France and the great respect paid to the historical architecture, and I, indeed, felt like I was coming home.
How moving Pat to read your story and how interesting that you really felt as if you were coming home. I hope you come and visit again xx
I think it’s the lifestyle–the slow food, the joie de vivre, the glass of wine, and then there’s the varied landscape and the light…
Ahh yes so many different reasons to love it here xx
Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent – a date when people would usually try to return to worship at their ‘Mother Church’.
Thank you, I have learnt so much from such helpful comments which have now led me to reading so much more on the internet. xx
I have lived in Rural France for 3 years now…….I think that their strong sense of culture has survived because of their belief in community……that some important things are still organised at a local level…..perhaps this helps to preserve a more ‘authentic’ way of life……from which all the above mentioned in replies come from?
I love how important the Marie is for everything here. Where are you in France ? xx
Well, at this moment I am onboard a long ship going down the Garonne River looking at the French country side and very happy to be observing all things French. France seems to to be a step back in time to a more leisure pace of life than my home town , Houston. I slow down and smell the tulips (beautiful here this morning in Cadillac) and wonder if I could totally let myself unwind to this pace. I have until this weekend to fantasize and live in France. I hope to make the most of time now!
Oh wow, that sounds like a wonderful trip and up until this week you have had the most wonderful weather, this week has been something somewhat exceptional and out of the ordinary! Enjoy your last day tomorrow and come back again xx
I love everything about France, but I’m in Paris at the moment on what should be a magical 4 week stay, I’m heartbroken though as my Airbnb rental is horrible, paper peeling off the walls with damp, filthy pillows and duvet, so looks like I’ll have to leave early as it’s a health hazard! Went to the Palais Royal today and the trees are blossoming beautifully, very warm already. Enjoy your beautiful springtime garden. Janet.
I am so sorry Janet, it sounds like an absolute nightmare. If you can get yourself to the Charente Maritime we would love to welcome you here instead if that is any help. xx
For us it started when we took our first trip to France, to the Loire valley. Since then we have visited a number of different areas in France and throughout all of them we always enjoyed the slower pace of life, the fact that people take great care with their food and drink and still shop what is on offer seasonally, the markets that take place in even the smallest towns, and then there is the countryside, chateaux, and history. Friends of ours have a second home in the Charente and after staying with them, we have made the decision to semi-retire to the same area (or perhaps the Charente-Maritime) in order to get out of the rat race, enjoy life and just slow down. Your blog keeps inspiring me to hold on to that vision, as we still have at least another year or two before we can make the move.
Do keep hold of that dream, it certainly is a very good way of life, it is not perfect, is anything? But we really do get to appreciate so much more. Let me know if I can help in any way at all when the big time finally arrives! xx
Thank you! Yes, nothing is ever perfect, so true. We will be in the area in September this year to explore the area and see where we might like to settle, so I might have to see if we can meet for a coffee or something!
Why? I’ve been trying to answer that question since I fell for Paris in 1996. I think my fascination with France is a combination of so many things: The attention to quality and detail; letting things (meals, conversation, friendships) unfold at their own pace; embracing history yet not rejecting the modern. And yet there can be ugliness in France too, bureaucracy, disrepair, and a lack of quality in both durable goods and construction. I do not love these things as much, but they certainly make the experience more interesting! In short: It’s a feast for all the senses and there’s always something new to discover. Much like in your beautiful blog! Thank you, as always …
You are so right Heide, there is plenty of beauty, but plenty of ugliness too. But then isn’t that the case everywhere. Life here is fabulous, but it is far from perfect, does perfection even exist and wouldn’t it be boring if it did. Life is what we make it, but it is definitely easier to live a slower pace of life here, well slightly!! xx
We have been to France twice and loved it both times. I can’t imagine living there, as it is awfully far from our loved ones. But the history, the food, and the more relaxed lifestyle are irresistible – and the gardens!
I too would find that terribly hard to live far from all family. xx
We have been to France four times and we cannot wait to meet you on our fifth trip this year.We would love to visit more often, but from Melbourne Australia it is so far.We enjoy driving around and visiting all the villages and the Patisseries.
We are so looking forward to meeting you too, hopefully it will be a magical trip for you xx
For my husband and me, France has captured our hearts, and I think it’s because the country has everything that we adore–art, architecture, a wonderful lifestyle (the weekly markets, the cafes), culture, history, the language, delicious food, and a special approach to all sorts of things, like the lovely holiday decorations, or the time a French person will take to explain something to you. We’ve had so many special things happen to us in France. My husband doesn’t even speak French, but loves to go there. We are so overdue for a trip!
It sounds as if you really need to come over again soon, hope we will see you here. xx
I see France through your blog. I enjoy your home, gardens, flowers, dinners, parties, trips, and your family. Thank you for sharing. You take beautiful pictures too.
Thanks Sandy xx
I used to follow your blog constantly then I lost my previous email (firstname.lastname@example.org) then my computer died and the techs weren’t able to retrieve my favourites and I’ve spent almost 2 years searching for you and finally found you last night. I now have a new e-mail and your web address is written in my notebook which never leaves my site. Reading your blog is like coming home – the children are so familiar and your gardens are incredible – still. I am English via Canada and now Mexico but I wish I had seen France – it’s an incredible mix of beauty, scenery, community and so CLEAN. I am disabled so can’t get around much so I live vicariously through you and your family. Take care and Keep Blogging.
Hi Joan, how wonderful to hear from you and I am so glad you found me again, I do remember our conversations we had about your garden and patio in Mexico. I think sometimes armchair travel can be wonderful, all the beauty without any of the cost or hassle!! Take care, enjoy your days and appreciate all the simple things around you and thank you SO much for getting back in touch again. Big hugs Susan xxx