Christmas in France ~ Joyeux Noel! Monday, Dec 25 2017 

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Yesterday, my husband and I joined the crowds of bustling French shoppers picking up last minute items for Christmas. Yes, people were out buying gifts but the main attraction of course was the FOOD. This is France, after all. The boulangeries (bakeries), pâtisseries (pastry shops), boucheries (butchers), charcuteries (gourmet deli, though that term doesn’t do it justice in France!), poissoneries (fish shops), chocolateries (chocolate shops), supermarchés (supermarkets), you name it, they were all doing a roaring holiday business.

We buzzed into one of our local boulangerie-pâtisserie boutiques for a final run of baguettes and desserts, though it took a lot longer than usual as the line was out the door and down the block. What caught my eye after seeing the queue (and also the pastry fantasyland of bûches de Noël), however, was the wonderful holiday message in the shop’s window…“Noël…partager joie 2018.” Roughly translated, it reads ‘Christmas means sharing joy in 2018.’  What a marvelous thought…joy for Christmas and all throughout the year. So I took a quick pic (above) and am passing it on with this short post. Chris and I and our French dog Marcel (who definitely will have to improve his Santa hat photo skills in time for next Christmas – see below – actually, he really was a good sport) send you our warmest wishes for un très joyeux Noël – and may you and yours experience much joie in 2018!

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 P.S. Follow us on Instagram (French_Affaires) and Facebook (Elizabeth New Seitz) for lots more Christmas photos and almost daily postings on life in the French countryside with the city of Paris as our not-too-far-away neighbor! 

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Fall and Winter in the French Countryside Wednesday, Dec 13 2017 

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Greetings from the French countryside where we have enjoyed an exceptionally beautiful fall this year! It has been wonderfully sunny, and the leaves spent several weeks turning a more-lovely-than-usual spectrum of yellows, oranges and reds. On my daily bike ride around our village of Courances in all seasons, I fly past this allée looking down towards the château. While it is a marvelous sight in spring and summer and even in winter, I think the fall version is the most spectacular. Then there comes a point when it’s time to clean up the colorful leaf carpet. Hats off to the Château de Courances gardeners who just a few days ago were blowing and hauling the leaves away. When I catch sight of them at their task, I find it kind of fascinating to see how many huge truckloads of leaves get taken away to the massive garden compost piles!

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Our sweet French chien Marcel loves the fall out here in the country as well. Of course, he could care less about the pretty leaves – it’s the birds and game that really get his attention. Hunting dog that he is – his race (breed) is the Braque d’Auvergne – Monsieur Marcel becomes très excité by anything that moves in the forest. But in case he doesn’t get enough chasing on his walks or when it rains, he and I have taken to playing a combo game of tag and hide-and-seek in the house!

This fall has also been busy with French Affaires’ trips to France.  Our guests on the ‘Paris Antiques Trip’ in September took home lots of wonderful treasures as we toured various French flea markets, auction houses and brocantes. We got lots of inspiration from our cultural visits including one of the world’s best decorative arts museums on the Right Bank. One of these days we’ll have to host an afternoon tea show-and-tell in the U.S. to display some of the fabulous finds acquired by our antiques trip-goers!

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And our ‘Fall in Southwest France’ sojourn in October was magical as always. With several days spent exploring the Dordogne river valley followed by time in Bordeaux, our wonderful group took in centuries of French history and architectural wonders. Below are a few pics of our journey as we traveled through time and culture across the French countryside. And we made it a point to try the culinary treats and specialties of the region and fall season accompanied by an array of southwest France wines. Foie gras and sauternes anyone? 

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As we’ve moved into winter, the French light and landscape have continued to change with the season and temperatures have grown chillier. But the views here continue to enchant. We’ve had one light snow already – Monsieur Marcel adores la neige - and I am hoping we’ll get some more here soon. In anticipation, I’ll wrap up this fall-going-into-winter post with a couple of photos from last year when two days of fog fully froze on everything and turned our corner of the French countryside into a frosted winter wonderland…Meanwhile, we’ll try to stay warm – rester au chaud - by the roaring fire and be looking forward to another French Christmas. More on that next week – à très bientôt!

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Save the Date! French Affaires Travelers Alumni Party

Wednesday, March 28, in Dallas, Texas

We’re hosting a wine and cheese party to celebrate all those who have traveled with us to France over the past several years - it will be a great time to catch up with your fellow trip-goers and also meet other France lovers. It is amazing the wonderful friendships that have come out of our French Affaires trips to France. Mark your calendar and we’ll send invites in the spring. Be sure to bring some pics or photo albums from your trip(s)!

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