Monday, October 15, 2018

100km in a day

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Village art along the way
For the fourth consecutive year, I, Jacqui Brown, now aged 47 years old, have cycled my 100km in a day birthday challenge.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
The clock tower in St Jean d'Angeley
Despite knowing I am less cycle-fit this year than last year, I was still determined to give it my best shot and think it’s worth celebrating my achievement, even if a lack of time to plan a new route meant we re-ran last year’s route to St Jean d’Angeley.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Homeward bound on tree-lined roads
You know life is busy and hectic when an event like this gets squeezed in around other commitments, seems like the easiest thing you’ve achieved in the last few weeks and then quickly becomes forgotten in the craziness of life.
French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Following (in the wrong direction) the Chemin de St Jacques
The weather was perfect; calm, sunny and not too hot, and taking the back roads through small villages meant there was always something to catch my eye and give me a good excuse to hop off the bike and take a photo or two.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Beer and pain aux raisin halfway there treat
As usual, our halfway point was marked with a beer and a patisserie, sat in a shady square in St Jean d’Angeley. Here we met another couple of cyclists out for one of their first rides on a pair of matching Brompton bikes. Adrian was rather excited to spot the Brompton’s as his beloved Brompton (Delila) lives in the UK and I think he misses her when he’s back with us in France. If I had a crystal ball, I’m sure I’d see a vision of the two of us cycling on Bromptons here in France in the not too distant future.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Look at these beauties!
I certainly hope to celebrate many more birthdays in this way with Adrian, my route planner, by my side, and have to credit our neighbour Pierrette who is a real inspiration to me. She will be having a hip replacement next month, but despite this, and being 78 years young, she is still out on her bike every weekend. She claims that although uncomfortable to walk, cycling doesn’t hurt her hip at all - until she gets off the bike. I may not be doing 100km in a day when I’m 78, but I do still hope to be cycling, just like Pierrette.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Home for a dip in the pool!

Cycling is more than good exercise, it is also a great way to clear your mind, focus on something different and escape the stresses of daily life. The past month or so has seen me drowning in dossiers of French paperwork, helping friends in situations that have tested my translation skills to the max, as well as learning a lot about friendship, compassion and what the important things in life really are. I’ve even had the excitement of a film crew in the village, interested in our worries and concerns as the Brexit nightmare looms ever closer.

Ed in Poitiers

I am slowly accepting that Ed is doing OK living on his own in Poitiers, hasn’t starved to death, and is occasionally cooking real food as well as opening tins and reheating the contents. In fact, Poitiers is becoming reassuringly familiar and from what I have seen, I am not at all surprised it is ranked in 2nd place in terms of quality of student life, for towns in France with up to 40,000 students. I still feel rather cheated that he had signed his first rental contract at only 17 years old, but this has probably helped me come to terms with the fact that by the time this week comes to an end my baby will be a child no more, but an 18-year-old adult who is already well on his way to an independent future.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Book review of Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg

French Village Diaries book review Haircuts, Hens and Homicide Stephanie Dagg
Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg

Haircuts, Hens and Homicide

Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France. 
She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.
There’s excitement, humour and lots of ruffled feathers in this rom-com slash cosy mystery, the first in a projected series.

My review

I have been following Stephanie for many years and have always enjoyed her writing style, and this book was no exception.

Megan isn’t in a great place. With her mum no longer on the scene, burying her Gran (who brought her up) and sorting out her house and belongings is something she has  to go through alone, and in France. From her arrival, things start to veer off plan, mainly thanks to strange goings on that seem to involve foul play with chickens. She soon makes an impression on the local gendarme, as she always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and life is certainly not as calm as she was expecting it to be, especially with the queue of ladies (of a certain age) wanting a new look hairstyle from her. It is when she becomes involved in investigating the mysterious happenings in the village, and then finds herself the main suspect, that things start getting serious.

This is a fun read with a great story line that perfectly captures life and the quirky characters you meet in rural France and I often found myself laughing at the characters as I read it. With the added bonus of a mystery to be solved, a hint of romance, some unexpected twists and a real baddie intent on causing as much trouble as possible; I loved it from beginning to end and couldn’t put it down.

I’m so pleased to read that there will be more books in this series from Stephanie as I’m hooked and can’t wait to find out what happens next for Megan.

French Village Diaries book review Haircuts, Hens and Homicide Stephanie Dagg
Stephanie Dagg

French Village Diaries book review Haircuts, Hens and Homicide Stephanie Dagg

Author Bio

I'm an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than 'belonging' to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail. Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it's been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at
I'm married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.     
I'm a traditionally-published author of many children's books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at The rest of the time I'm running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal's poop.   

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lazy Sunday in France, Poitiers

Ed was home for the weekend, so we decided to combine taking him back to uni with a day out in Poitiers. Morning coffee, a picnic in Blossac park and a tasty sweet treat, all with blue sky and sunshine was just perfect for a Lazy Sunday in France and I really can't think of a nicer way to have spent my 47th birthday. 

French Village Diaries Lazy Sunday in France Poitiers
Morning coffee, Place du Maréchal-Leclerc, Poitiers

French Village Diaries Lazy Sunday in France Poitiers
Sunny morning in Poitiers 

French Village Diaries Lazy Sunday in France Poitiers
With Ed, Parc de Blossac, Poitiers

French Village Diaries Lazy Sunday in France Poitiers
Parc de Blossac, Poitiers

French Village Diaries Lazy Sunday in France Poitiers
Quirky ducks, Parc de Blossac, Poitiers

French Village Diaries Lazy Sunday in France Poitiers
Sitting by the fountain, Parc de Blossac, Poitiers

French Village Diaries Lazy Sunday in France Poitiers
A birthday Broyé du Poitou

Friday, September 14, 2018

Book review of Blame it on Paris by Lise McClendon

French Village Diaries book review Blame it on Paris Lise McClendon

Lise McClendon Blame it on Paris

Release date: August 24, 2018 at Thalia Press
256 pages


In this seventh installment of the Bennett Sisters Mysteries, Francie goes to Paris when she is accused of wrongdoing in her law office. She has received a mysterious letter connecting her ex-husband to an American student jailed for drug crimes. A chance encounter with an old boyfriend makes her spring in Paris more exciting but between the accusations against her at home, and the difficulty of doing any good in Paris, things are never smooth for a Bennett sister in France


Blame it on Paris sees us back in France with Merle Bennett and one of her sisters, Francie, and this time it is Francie who gets most of the main action. Following an accusation at the law firm in the US where she works, she finds herself with enough time on her hands to investigate the case of a forgotten American, imprisoned in Paris on drug charges. Paris, an investigation to solve and a hint at romance; I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this book.

Strange and often dangerous situations seem to have a habit of finding the Bennett sisters and they can’t help but become caught up in the middle of them. However, they are a force to be reckoned with; intelligent, knowledgeable in law and with real determination to discover the truth, no matter how much it has been hidden - never underestimate them. 

Despite feeling this book had less drama than the previous books in the series, and missing being in Merle’s cottage in the Dordogne, there was still a lot to enjoy here. Lise created a real sense of place with the setting of this book and I could easily imagine myself in Paris, by the River Seine, and taste the delights the sisters and Merle’s partner Pascal discovered in the many hidden away bistros they visited. I enjoyed Francie’s sense of discovery and chance of romance that Paris gave her, but as always in this series of books it’s the twists and turns of the investigation that I love. Francie and Merle are led to many doors, but not everyone is keen to talk or help them, but perseverance, team work and with the delicious Pascal on their side, I had no doubt they would be able to unravel the truth in the end.


French Village Diaries book review Blame it on Paris Lise McClendonLise McClendon is the author of sixteen novels, mysteries, and thrillers, including her popular Bennett Sisters series featuring five sisters who are lawyers. Lise herself is not a lawyer but a francophile scribbler who enjoys imagining different lives, loves, and adventures. Her first mystery, The Bluejay Shaman, was published in 1994. She lives in Montana.
Visit her website
Subscribe to her mailing list
Follow her on Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]
Global giveaway open to all 5 winners



French Village Diaries book review Blame it on Paris Lise McClendon  


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Book review of A Letter from Paris by Louisa Deasey

French Village Diaries book review A Letter from Paris Louisa Deasey
A Letter from Paris by Louisa Deasey

My review today is for A Letter from Paris, a family memoir by Louisa Deasey, daughter of Australian writer Denison Deasey. 

Those of you who are regular readers will know that I love memoirs and I have to start this review by saying this is the most moving and beautifully written memoir I have read in a long while.
French Village Diaries book review A Letter from Paris Louisa Deasey
Louisa Deasey
Louisa Deasey grew up with the cloud of shame about her father Denison, who died when she was only six, hanging over her. She soon learned not to ask about her dad when she was growing up, as she was made to feel guilty if she did. All she really knew about him she learned from reading his obituaries, which sadly gave her no sense of pride for a man who led a rather remarkable life. This all changed when she received a mysterious message from Paris; the granddaughter of an old flame of Denison’s contacts Louisa in the days following her grandmother’s death. This proves to be the catalyst Louisa needs to discover for herself the life her father led before he returned to Australia and settled down with his family.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Denison Deasey before reading this book, but I soon became as enthralled by Louisa’s journey to discover the truth about his life as she was. Denison lived in another era; experiencing life in the post war years in Europe, where he contrasts his experiences in London, Paris and the south of France through his diary entries and constantly compares Europe, where he feels at home to an Australia he feels lacks creativity. I learned a lot, both culturally and historically.

Alongside her amazing journey, this book contains many remarkable people, who although not technically related, become real family to Louisa as they help her find her way from the cold and cheerless library archives in Australia, to jet-lagged rendezvous in London, to reconnecting with her godmother in Paris and finally, coming ‘home’ to a villa on the French coast. I devoured the pages, feeling I was there with her, experiencing every step.

This is an emotional read; many would have given up when discoveries became difficult or leads became dead ends. Louisa finds the strength to keep going, learning that sometimes it’s the chance encounters with strangers who give us the most support and help us on our way.

A Letter from Paris is out now in ebook and paperback format and is a must read for memoir lovers. Links to Amazon can be found below.

If you too love memoirs, come and join us over at We Love Memoirs, a fun and friendly Facebook group who I can’t wait to share this gem of a memoir with.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Book review of The Pretender by Katie Ward

French Village Diaries book review The Pretender Katie Ward
The Pretender by Katie Ward

The Pretender 

France 2000: Two babies are born on the same day just two hours apart - but to very different lives. Isabella is a Princess and heir to the French throne, while Sophia is born into a life of poverty and abuse at the hands of her father. At the age of 18, Sophia runs away from home. That same night, Isabella is also fleeing from the burden of her royal life when she finds Sophia slumped at the palace gates. Amazed by how alike they look, Isabella proposes a daring plot - to exchange their lives for one week. 
‘The Pretender’ is an emotionally intense and compelling story of friendship, love and the strange power of destiny.

French Village Diaries book review The Pretender Katie Ward
The Pretender Blog Tour

My Review

I thought bringing back the French royal family, giving them a history, traditions and the palace in Fontainebleau, but setting it in the modern day was great fun and putting myself into a teenager’s head, I loved the idea of this book. Isabella, the princess who doesn’t want to be Queen, but just wants the freedom to explore Paris as a normal 18-year-old. Sophia, the pauper who suddenly finds herself a princess, living with a King and a Queen, totally unaware of life inside the palace, but safe for now from her father. 
Isabella is the instigator of the switch and the one with who holds the key to return but having waited all her life for the freedom of anonymity, will she find what she wants in just one week. For Sophia, living under the scrutiny of strangers, who are supposed to be your family, is not as easy as she thought, but her determination to not let Isabella down showed her resourcefulness. 
As their adventures continue, the naivety of their decision becomes apparent, followed by the reality of what they have done, and then the panic when the situation changes. It’s no longer a game, life becomes serious and events seem to be spiralling out of their control. 

This is a good fun read, that sensitively covers some important issues as well as highlighting the fact our actions have consequences, but does it have a real fairy tale “and they all lived happily ever after” ending? Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. 

Author Bio

Katie Ward always knew she wanted to write for a living. However, she was told by her careers advisor that “it might be more appropriate for you to work in a shop”. When Katie didn’t get the grades she needed to get into college, she negotiated a three month trial. After successfully completing the course she secured a place at her first choice university to study Journalism. 
After realising she wanted to be an author, Katie moved to Dublin where she worked her way up from receptionist to Executive Assistant at Merrill Lynch. Katie continued to write in her spare time, submitting her short story into the “Do the Write Thing” competition being run by Irish TV show ‘Seoige and O’Shea’. This story was originally written when Katie was 14 after she was inspired by an article in her favourite teen magazine. Katie was the only non-Irish author selected to have her story published in an anthology of the same name which reached 19 in the Irish Best sellers List. Katie was also shortlisted for a competition judged by MAN Booker Prize winning author Roddy Doyle which was run by Metro Eireann newspaper. 
Katie currently lives in Devon with her cat (aka ‘Her Royal Fluffiness’) where she sings in a community choir and has recently taken up Archery. Katie’s favourite author has been Roald Dahl since she was a child as she loves the dark edge he brings to his books. On the flip side though, Katie loves Disney, magic, unicorns and a good rom com film at the cinema with her friends.

You can find Katie at her website here and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

French Village Diaries book review The Pretender Katie Ward
Giveaway - win a signed original  illustration from Emma Haines

Giveaway – Win a signed original illustration from Emma Haines (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lazy Sunday in France with author Serena Kent

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Death in Provence by Serena Kent
Welcome to another #LazySundayinFrance and today I am delighted to have author Serena Kent giving us a little bit more from her Death in Provence character Penelope Kite. You can read my review of Death in Provence, that is available in ebook and paperback format, here.

By Serena Kent, author of cozy mystery Death in Provence
Our accidental sleuth Penelope Kite loves Sunday mornings in Provence. Even though she no longer works nine-to-five as assistant to an eminent forensic pathologist, she still savours that delicious Sunday feeling of waking with no pressing need to leave a soft bed when the sun slants through the open shutters. No family to prepare lunch for, no housework, just lovely croissants for breakfast on the sunny terrace of Le Chant d’Eau, her recklessly purchased old farmhouse with views of the Luberon valley.
Cello practice (what bliss to be able to play again, letting the notes rise into the open air, disturbing no one) is followed by a quick swim in the pool. The pool looks glorious in the walled garden now, with lavender lining the walls and four sentinel cypress trees. Fortunately, there is no dead body floating in it today. 
The sun is already hot as she prepares to go out tat-hunting at a classic Provençal brocante. Penelope loves nothing more than wandering around stalls which are selling everything from dented old oil lamps to chests of drawers, spotting pieces to up-cycle. In mid-August there is always an especially fine brocante at Beaumettes. She arrives to find crowds, streets lined with vendors and a great deal of temptation. A glass of rosé perhaps, to get in the mood? Probably shouldn’t. Don’t want to wander round half cut and buy too much rubbish.
In the end, Penelope manages to resist the battered old tuba – she has a vision of hanging it from a tree as a curio in a surreal garden she could create – and comes away with two large lanterns and a set of colourful bowls, all for…well, slightly more than she anticipated paying. 
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Bonnieux ©SerenaKent2018
And then it’s lunchtime! The glorious hilltop village of Bonnieux is on her way back, so it makes sense to stop there. She’s on her own, but this has never bothered Penelope. Back in England, before her divorce, the family took her for granted dreadfully; now she positively relishes having time to herself. Besides, she has new friends arriving at home in St Merlot later for an apéro.
At Bonnieux the landscape is all orchards and olives and vineyards and the blue Ventoux hills opposite. From the top, Penelope always looks out towards the neighbouring village of Lacoste, where the ruins of the Marquis de Sade’s castle once stood in jagged mockery of Bonnieux’s proud churches. There’s a little bar-café she knows with friendly service and beautiful views. 
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Chateau de Mille ©SerenaKent2018
On the way back, after a delicious goats cheese and fig salad and a single glass of her favourite pale rosé, she takes the Route de Bonnieux to the Château de Mille, the oldest winery in the Luberon – it is mentioned in archives in Avignon in 1238. It opens at 2pm on a summer Sunday, and Penelope knows exactly what she wants: a case of their Rosé de Léo. 
A few lazy hours in the garden beckon, with a book and a good strong cup of British tea. Then, at 5.30pm it’s time to make some canapés – tapenade and caviar d’aubergines on thin, toasted slices of stale baguette – to have with chilled glasses of the rosé. Her great friend and sleuthing companion, the glamorous Clémence Valencourt will be arriving shortly. It is easy to tell when she arrives, as the red mini she drives at high speed sprays gravel all down the track, and the clickety-click of her high heels on the stone flags is instantly recognisable. She is still without her mysterious husband who seems to spend a lot of time in Paris. But that doesn’t bother her. It is odd how she and Laurent Millais, the drop-dead gorgeous Mayor of St Merlot, always seem to arrive together on Sundays. But maybe Penelope’s being over suspicious.
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Lavender fields in Provence ©SerenaKent2018
In the end, Clémence and Laurent arrive separately but within minutes of each other. A jolly interlude of high-quality local gossip ensues, as they sit on the terrace. The heavenly aroma of lavender wafts from the fields owned by Penelope’s neighbour. 
Later that evening, alone again, Penelope puts a recording of Fauré’s Nocturnes on the CD player and gazes out over her French domaine, feeling glad she has dared to make a new life for herself here, wondering what tomorrow will bring – so long as it’s not another dead body.  
Death in Provence is out now in ebook format and paperback. Links to Amazon can be found below.
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Serena Kent ©SerenaKent2018
Serena Kent is the author name of husband and wife writing duo, Deborah Lawrenson and Robert Rees. You can read more about Serena at her website here and follow her posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Book review of Death in Provence by Serena Kent

French Village Diaries book review Death in Provence Serana Kent
Death in Provence, Serena Kent

My review today is for Death in Provence by Serena Kent, one of this summer’s new releases, with a cover so beautiful I couldn’t help but open it immediately and get stuck in.

We meet Penelope Kite at the beginning of her new adventure in Provence. Having swapped life in Surrey, where she is at the beck and call of a demanding family, for a farmhouse with potential in the south of France, things immediately start to go wrong. The discovery of a dead body floating in her swimming pool, strange comings and goings on her property, and a painfully slow police investigation, mean her idyllic new life in France is anything but.

Thankfully she has plenty of chilled rosé and fresh pain au chocolats, and she soon discovers a rich and varied local community in the village of St Merlot. With a background in forensic investigation she can’t help but try to piece together the suspicious circumstances of her neighbour’s demise, but the unfriendly Chief of Police, overly charming Mayor and an estate agent who keeps popping up unexpectedly, would all rather she left well alone. 

This was a great fun read that contained all the best bits of life in France, fantastic local characters and attention to detail that anyone who has spent time in a French village will appreciate. With plenty of humour and a mystery to be solved too, all set against the landscape of Provence that came to life from the pages, this book was perfect holiday reading, for the bargain price of 99p.

Happily, I know that the next book in the series is well on the way and I can't wait to head back to St Merlot and read more.

Death in Provence is out now in ebook format and will be released in paperback tomorrow. Links to Amazon can be found below.

Serena Kent is the author name of husband and wife writing duo, Deborah Lawrenson and Robert Rees. Having read and enjoyed The Lantern by Deborah, I was fascinated by the idea of this partnership and I wasn’t disappointed. You can read more about Serena at her website here and follow her posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Join me back here on Sunday, when Serena Kent will be sharing something a little different, Penelope Kite’s perfect lazy Sunday in Provence. #LazySundayinFrance 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Lazy Sunday in France, breakfast in the vineyards

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance picnic in the vineyards
An early morning bike ride

Welcome to another Lazy Sunday in France, although if I’m honest all our days feel lazy days at the moment, thanks to the current heatwave and I’m not complaining one bit.

To beat the worst of the heat we are up at 7.00am, which I guess isn’t that lazy (unless you compare us to our French neighbours who are in their 70’s and up by 5.30am, summer and winter) and off on our bikes by 8.00am. We return for a dip in the pool, a morning coffee and tackle the chores before lunch, this could be mowing, roasting the glut of courgettes or housework. Lunch of a salad made with garden produce and eaten in the shade, is followed by another skin-cooling dip in the pool and then I retire to a darkened room. 

We usually love the fact that our house faces south and that each room has a huge window, that we fling open most mornings to let in the light and air, however in a heatwave, the shutters are kept partially closed, and the dark rooms have a cooler, cave-like feel to them. We have also moved downstairs into the guest bedroom, which is around 5º cooler than our upstairs room in the eaves. 

My siesta begins with a chapter or two from the latest book on my kindle, before my eyelids feel heavy and I succumb to real sleep. There are no rules for sleep in a heatwave, but I am usually to be found awake again before 17h, just in time to check the thermometer to see how hot it has been and put some thought into what is for dinner. 

Aperos in the shade (we are avoiding the sun at the moment), a late meal on the terrace, a watering and picking session in the potager and another dip in the pool before bed, and sleep comes easily, despite the heat and my afternoon nap. This is a routine I could get very used to.

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance picnic in the vineyards
The Charente vineyards

This morning our bike ride was rather special. Having done two morning rides of 20kms on Friday and Saturday, increasing it to 30kms this morning seemed like a good idea, especially when Adrian promised me a breakfast picnic in the vineyards. 

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance picnic in the vineyards
Wind turbines and vineyards

The roads were quiet as we made our way up to the ridge above St Fraigne, just over the Charente border, where vineyards and wind turbines command the best of the views. 

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance picnic in the vineyards
A breakfast picnic in the vineyards

We packed the croissants I bought at the village boulangerie, a flask of coffee, two china cups, a square of dark chocolate each and something to sit on, and had a perfect breakfast, just the two of us. It was a memorable moment and something I hope we will repeat again before the summer is over.

If you are a writer, blogger or run an independent business in France and have something you think would be ideal to share in a future Lazy Sunday in France post, please do get in touch.