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Letters From France

Jo Anne Wilson, a retired teacher of French, watercolor artist and freelance writer, divides her time between the Grand Traverse/Leelanau County area and her favorite villages in Southern France. Her blog is written from the perspective of a Northern Michigan resident living in France’s rural southern area.

Shutters: Oh so French!

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceEarly morning. As I open the shutters, I think about how important the shutters are here in Provence. In summer, they shut out the heat of the sun. In winter they close in the heat of the wood stove or other source. In fact, the act of opening and closing the shutters marks the start of a new day … or the ending of one. More »

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Pansies in Winter

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceSeems as if that title is an oxymoron, but not here in the Luberon.  I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that everyone plants pansies … in the winter. The hearty flowers soldier on through frost and an occasional snowfall, but never completely die. More »

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Now and Then

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceLife in this area of France (as well as many others) gives us daily reminders of the past. History here goes back centuries.  I can walk out the door of my home in the village of Saignon and gaze up at sections of the old chateau dating back to the 10th century. More »

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King Cake and The French Foreign Legion

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceThe latest iteration of the holiday festivities is upon us. The King Cake or Galette du Roi.  It’s a type of flakey pastry cake, which, traditionally, celebrates the Epiphany and is sold in most bakeries during the month of January. The flaky puff pastry has layers with a dense center of frangipane/ almond paste. More »

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Bonne Année!

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceJanuary!  A new year and time to RE-new my dedication to sharing my life in France with readers back in the States. I see that my last post was in September. Not exactly the kind of record that earns praise for dedication and determination. I do, however, have a little bit of a very good excuse. More »

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Some Reasons Why I Like Living Here

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceSometimes I think I hear the groans and moans and “ya, ya” accompanied by eye rolls. Ok, so there’s lavender and good wine and non-stop baguettes and people sit in the outdoor cafés, even in January.

Sometimes I cannot even explain it to myself.  The last two bananas I’ve eaten were from the Ivory Coast and Columbia, respectively. So it isn’t just about the abundance of fresh, local produce year ’round.  But in part, it is. More »

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Return and Reflection

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceIt’s almost ten years down the line since my arrival in France to take care of the Domaine de Claparèdes, a compound of vacation rental properties in the south of France. I’m reflecting on all that has happened since those hot and humid days of broken pool gates and broken promises. I realize that until that experience, I was a spirit looking for a home. Until that summer and these ensuing years, I was basically spiritually homeless. I was a French soul living in another country. More »

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July Festivities: Here and There

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceIn keeping with my compare-and-contrast theme, I’m reflecting on the July holidays. We’ve just celebrated our July 4th holiday … our celebration of independence.  On July 14th, the French will celebrate their version of Independence Day.

The following two paragraphs are culled from information on the Internet.  It doesn’t take much reading to glean the similarities. More »

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Summer Here and There

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceI’ve just completed a four-day writers retreat at Interlochen.  Guilt washed over me like an unexpected rain storm, as I realized how little I’ve written these past weeks, and how I’ve neglected my blog.  Sorry.

As regular readers know, I often compare and contrast my life in France with my life in Michigan: weather, food, activities, people, and pets, just to name some of the topics. More »

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Present, Past and Future

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceAmazing how quickly the days, weeks, months, and seasons come and go.  Spring has finally arrived here in the Luberon … just as I must leave. This post will be shorter than most, so I can get on with packing.

I’ve had a nasty head cold, which seems to be on the run. Gratefully, it seemed to run its course in record time. Pardon the racing analogy, but being in France did not mean being immune to, nor away from, the non-stop reporting on the Boston Marathon bombing. My head and heart were both heavy. More »

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