The Singles in France

There are nearly 15 million single people in France.

They correspond:
– 13 million unmarried and those who live alone
– 2 million single parents, divorced, widowers and other singles who live with a parent on the same roof
47% are men, 53% are women, more than half are 55 years old. the rest, between 30 – 54 years old

Single living has created business to industries and advertising companies, such as:
– single portion packaged foods
– specialized tourism
– magazines
– properties
– singles nights


Autumn is here

The other day, I put on my pair of boots.

Yes,  Autumn is here! In fact, it officially starts in two days, on Thursday, 21st September.

We know Autumn is here when:

– leaves of trees start turning yellow, gold and orange

– these leaves start falling and filling the ground

– it starts getting cold that you dig out all your scarves and pullovers out of the chest

Heritage Days

Library of the National Assembly will be open to the public during the Heritage Days weekend.

A very interesting weekend is taking place throughout France from tomorrow, 16 September. Heritage sites and works of arts will be open to the public for free. These include chateaux, manors, abbeys, museums, parks and gardens, archeological sites, etc.

This cultural event which takes place every third weekend of September, to coincide with the La Rentrée (back-to-school), was created by the Ministry of Culture 24 years ago and has been very well-attended, registering a record number of some 12 million visitors each year.

Public buildings such as the Elysée palace, the Senate, ministries, embassies, prefectures, town halls, (also theatres, hospitals, schools, gymnasia…) and private (villas or castles, factories…) will open their doors revealing their “secret” collections and old architectural marvel.





It is mentioned in the bible 64 times, no wonder it tastes like food for the gods!

When ripe, it is so delicious, and the longer they stay in the fridge, the sweeter they become!

Everywhere we went, we see fig trees heavy with fruits.  Some of them are left scattered on the ground as nobody seems to be interested in picking them.

Monsieur Damien, our 78-year old neighbour, for the second year running, has invited us to come with our basket and take all the figs we wanted, otherwise, the birds will just peck on them. We even got a bonus of several bunches of grapes from his vineyard!

That day, we picked so much figs that until now, a week after, we still have plenty to last us another week!

– the french regard the color of their figues as either noir or blanc, but actually, they are either dark purple or light yellow
– figues are expensive, averaging at 5-euros a kilo

A 3-euro experience that will last a lifetime

The simplest of people are the most interesting.

It was the feast of Maurion. A tiny village with a population of  just one family in the winter. The once-a-year church service takes place today followed by a picnic at the church grounds.  But instead of joining in the  crowd, we went searching  for a more private place. Walking on the road, we noticed a sign saying…. “Organic eggs for sale”. We love organic eggs, they are delicious especially when poached.Following the sign, we had to walk through a dirt road then a wooden bridge leading to a property  where a chalet stands in the middle. A dozen dogs started barking, then, a short obese lady appeared.

– “Good morning, madame…. Do you have some eggs, please?”
– “ Good morning, yes, come in!…. You want some coffee?”

Surprising, isn’t it? We, complete strangers, are being welcomed like friends!

Right away, thanks to her husband, several choices of aperitif were before us… martini, cognac, pastis and some chips.

The eggs were forgotten…. and we chatted.

Their story:  they live with their fifty-something animals – at their big house in Fontan in the winter, but relocates in this rough countryside in the summer. They subsist on vegetables grown in their garden and chickens and wild boars hunted in the mountains. The funny thing  is that each animal has its own name!

– A goat called Priscilla
– Dogs: Selda, Cyril, Laura and Lola
– Cat: Leopold
– Chickens: Startrek, Jojo, George, marguerite and Leon
– Ferret: Jospin, after the ex-prime minister who quit office the day the ferret was bought
– And the favourite baby of Madame Toesca…. Daisy, a Vietnamese pig who sleeps in the house, with an air-conditioner if it’s hot because she cannot stand the heat!

They let us have our picnic, at 2pm, under a big tree which Madame Toesca, the short obese lady said was the reason why they bought the land which bounds the river and the mountain.

After lunch, they were so kind to offer us coffee, to share with us a recipe and to give us some vegetables like pepper, basil and squash from their garden.

And before leaving at 4pm, we embraced each other like old friends, not forgetting to take a dozen eggs… all at 3 euros!

It was one of those unforgettable days! To meet people like that… very nice and very trusting!

But the day is not finished yet! While walking on the road, we saw a lady in distress. Her car was half-falling on the edge of the road. She was in a terrible state. We went back to call Monsieur Toesca and before he arrived with his tools, a dozen passers-by were already there trying to help the lady.

That, is the kindness of people in the countryside.

If each one of us makes little gestures like the Toescas or the people who were trying to help the lady on the road, the world will be a better place to live.



formerly 'A Pinay in Europe'

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