mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life

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Verre de L’amitié



Last night, the Mayor invited everyone in our commune to toast the New Year with a verre de l’amitié, a glass of friendship.  We made it through the snow thanks to a lift from friends with winter tyres on their car.  The snow was so pretty and the Christmas lights in the centre of the village made it look very festive.

It was nice to see so many people there from our small community.  The Mayor welcomed and thanked everyone who had managed to get there.  He then thanked everyone who works or volunteers for the village, the school, the library and various associations.   He outlined what work had been done around the commune and plans for the coming year.  There was a poignant moment when he asked us to remember everyone who had been touched by terrorism and for those that had passed away.

The champagne was flowing but as we are having a dry January we politely declined.  A first for both of us!  Despite lots of attempts to fill my glass I managed to stick to orange juice until the Mayor handed me a glass of champagne – it would have been rude to say no!  I discreetly passed it to a neighbour who was more than happy to drink it for me.

For a small commune of around 200 people we are an international and friendly bunch made up of mostly French, a couple of Dutch (the numbers of Dutch increases in the summer!!), an English family (us), a German couple, a Texan and a South African.

We thanked the Mayor and asked if he could organise more evenings like this!








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A close call

Freezing fog, snow, frost and icy roads. We are in the grip of winter.  Our region, La Nievre has been on alert for bad weather this weekend and we’ve been advised not to drive unless you have to.

The snow has been melting and we went to see friends 10 minutes drive away and the roads were clear. On the way back I suggested driving back a different route and on the hill up to our house the road was unbelievably slippery. Our tyres couldn’t get a grip and I had a flash back to my car crash. Very scarey!

A wolf has been spotted not far away! An animal has been attacking sheep and a very wolf-like animal has been caught on camera.  The authorities are taking the threat seriously and are investigating.

So maybe it isn’t so bad staying close to home and hibernating!

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Galette des Rois

It is the 6th January and we are celebrating the Epiphany, the end of the festive season with more food! On this occasion it is a cake called the King’s Cake or the Galette de Rois.

It is a frangipane pastry cake made with with a feve or lucky charm hidden inside.  This custom dates back to pagan times when beans would have been used. The feves are tiny figurines, often babies and the three Kings made of porcelain. Nowadays the feves come in all sorts of shapes and are sometimes made of plastic.

Families have fun collecting the lucky charms and you often see baskets full of little feves on sale at Brocantes.

The cake is sliced and whoever finds the feve chooses the King and Queen for the evening. 

Qui sera la Reine, que sera le Roi? Who is going to be the Queen,  who is going to be King?

  Bon Appetit.

House near Varzy.jpg

A 3 bed house in a small country village near Varzy –  58 – Bourgogne.  A house pretty much ready to move into – if you like crazy floral wallpaper and plenty of wood!

Good sized house and located near the pretty town of Varzy.  A little town with a monthly brocante, shops, restaurants and bars.




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Endings and Beginnings

September and la rentrèe. Time for back to school, back to uni, back to work and a welcome return to routine. Except that hasn’t been the case for us this year. There was no taking son and daughter back to UK after the summer holiday – they are both staying with us in France. Brexit has come early!

This September feels even more like a new start for me than New Year!

Jack is waiting to hear news about his dream career and is staying with us in the meantime. Charlotte has been let down by the care system in the UK and is happier, healthier and safer living with us. 

As the summer days sped to a close with plenty of endings, sad and happy, we are all looking forward to the new season bringing hope for new beginnings, goals and challenges.