Traverse City Record-Eagle


Winter and the Holidays

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceI’ve had two and a half months of enjoying the vineyard views. I have done some moving around taking care of houses and pets in a couple of different venues. Taking care of Pussycat and Orlando was a new venue for me.  I enjoyed the apartment and the home as well as making two new feline friends. A week ago, I was able to reconnect with my three feline friends at their home near Roussillon.

I’m back in the village house in Saignon.  This is my fourth winter here and I never tire of the views over the valley and the comforting presence of centuries old stone walls.

I’ve promised others and myself that I would do my best to post more frequent Letters From France.  They may be more like notes than letters, but I look forward to sharing my activities.

I have written about the Christmas lights in Apt. The  Blachère company is based in Apt.  It’s hard to believe that this family-owned local company supplies lighting for cities all over the world. Because it is located in Apt, our town gets the benefit of last year’s Paris hand-me-downs, as well as lighting being tried out before sending on to places more distant.

Over the summer, I received an inquiry on my website, with the result that I have met a superb professional photographer, Gene Turner. Gene is here to get things established so that his wife, Fame, can join him in January. Fame is a chef, and there’ll be more about her to follow. They have visited Saignon and the region on previous occasions and are looking forward to winter here. Gene is taking advantage of the time and the season to shoot photos of the region. He’s hoping to put them into a coffee table book.  He has given me permission to post some of them on both my facebook page and in these blogs. Keep in mind that they are his photos and thus copyright laws apply.

Gene does workshops with individuals who want to expand and improve their photography skills. You can find out more on his website: He will also be posting his own activities on his blog

So the season of Santa and chocolate is upon us. As I look forward to a new year, I’m grateful for the past three months in the Luberon. September and October weather was fantastic. It stayed warm and wonderful well into November. Since then, we had a spell of horrific winds, complements of the Mistral, and three and a half days of non-stop pouring rain. As I write this, the skies are cerulean blue and the sun is shinning. I’m hoping these latest conditions continue.

This evening, I’ll visit the informal English language practice group. Anywhere from three to eight French locals meet at the education center to practice and improve their English conversation skills. I was introduced to them in October and filled in for the group leader while she was away. I’m looking forward to sharing time with them again.

More as the days unfold. Be well and be warm! A bientôt.

  • Cathy Lester

    Chocolate and Santa, that sums it up! In my next blog I’d intended to mention the few days I got over to France, and the French chocolate…

    One thing I didn’t mention in my English-food blog was the variety of shops — the butcher’s, the baker’s, etc. — and how a lot of Brits shop for that day, so stuff is fresh I believe you mentioned the same thing in one of your previous blogs (can’t remember which one) a year or so ago.

  • Jo Anne

    Yes, Cathy, I did mention the frequent shopping at smaller shops vs. the pile it in the cart for the week. That said, I have noticed a shift over the past few years. More French people seem to shop at the larger supermarché. The smaller shops still seem to be surviving which is nice to see. Apt now has one supermarket that actually opens Sunday morning. Otherwise, only the butcher, traiteur/deli, bakery and the florist.

  • Maureen Davison

    What a treat to see the Christmas lights of Saignon! Fabulous!

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