Sunday, July 21, 2019

Lazy Sunday in France by author Marie Laval

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Marie Laval A Paris Fairy Tale
A Paris Fairy Tale Marie Laval

Welcome to another Lazy Sunday in France where author Marie Laval is taking us to the Auvergne for the day. Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. 
She writes both historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global Ebook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance), and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. 
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!
Her latest romantic novel  A PARIS FAIRY TALE will be released on July 23rd and available as a ebook and audiobook on Amazon and various other platforms. 
You can read my review of her novel A Spell in Provence here and her France et Moi interview here.
You can find out more about Marie on Facebook or Twitter.You can also find on Pinterest the many beautiful photos of Paris and illuminated manuscripts which inspired the writing of A Paris Fairy Tale.

A Lazy Sunday in Auvergne By Marie Laval

Two years ago I spent a wonderful holiday in La Crotte, a tiny hamlet in the Auvergne region, where my middle sister bought a ramshackle, rundown house which used to be a sheep fold. Whilst slowly doing the house up, she has learnt to live with the local wildlife (a family of dormouses  - of should it be dormice?) and insects (a bee colony in her loft one summer). She frequently sees boars and foxes around, and last winter, the police warned everybody not to leave their dogs or little children unsupervised outside as wolves have been sighted in the vicinity – yes, wolves!
was won over by the beautiful countryside, picturesque villages and lovely chateaux (the region counts over 450, most of them private). If I could spend a lazy Sunday there again, this is what I would do…
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Marie Laval A Paris Fairy Tale
Souvigny ©Marie Laval
         I would start with a stroll in Souvigny, a quiet and unspoilt little town with winding streets lined with medieval and Renaissance houses, including the ruined former palace of the Bourbons. After a spot of shopping in the ‘Herboristerie’, I would visit the impressive Priory Church of Saint-Peter and Saint-Paul. According to a local legend, the church was built by fairies in just one night, and when a local milkmaid saw it emerge from the morning mist, she was so shocked she was instantly changed into stone. 
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Marie Laval A Paris Fairy Tale
Souvigny gardens ©Marie Laval
         What I loved the most when I visited Souvigny were the priory gardens, designed according to the capitulary De Villis, edited by Charlemagne in the beginning of the 9th century, which recommended the plantation of 90 plants known for their medicinal properties in monastic and laymen's gardens. 
         The gardens are a riot of scents and colours. We found garlic, roses, tansy, common sage, mustard, marigolds, leek, carrots, parsley, muskmelon, cardoon, coriander, cucumber, tarragon, rocket, parsnip, radishes, sage, burdock, flax, mallow, chicory, lettuce, to name but a few! I would love to send time there on my lazy Sunday. You can find more information about Souvigny here.
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Marie Laval A Paris Fairy Tale
Montaigu-le-Blin ©Marie Laval
       The second place where I would stop on my lazy Sunday 
would be Montaigu-le-Blin, a delightful village boasting a medieval castle, several bourgeois houses (‘maisons de maître’), a tiny Roman church, and a ancient wood with two ‘magic’ stones, named God’s Font and the Devil’s Font. The village square is a listed site with over 143 chestnut, oak, lime trees, many of them dating from the early nineteenth century. 
The village also has two renowned auberges on opposite ends of the square, but as they are very expensive, I would leave Montaigu and have lunch in one of the many small restaurants which offer cheap but delicious ‘menus ouvriers’ (workmen’s menus). 
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Marie Laval A Paris Fairy Tale
Charlie-Cintrat ©Marie Laval
     There are so many other places worth visiting in the area, especially if, like me, you like chateaux – for example, the chateau of La Palice with its fascinating history (more information about it here) and the charming Renaissance chateau de Chareil-Cintrat, set amongst ancient vineyards which boasts unique wall paintings (more information about it here). This chateau was the inspiration for the fictional Chavigny, which features in my latest romantic novel A PARIS FAIRY TALE. 
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Marie Laval A Paris Fairy Tale
Market shopping ©Marie Laval
 I would definitely stop at a local outdoor market to buy fruit, pastries and crusty bread for the evening meal before returning to La Crotte and enjoying an ‘apéritif’ and the tranquillity of my sister’s garden. Although all is not always so peaceful in La Crotte… and this is why.
         The first evening of my last visit, we were having a drink in the garden when there a cacophony of honking erupted in the quiet evening.    ‘What on earth is that?’ I asked. 
My sister smiled and answered that it was the gaggle of geese who lived on her (eccentric) neighbour’s small holding nearby. ‘It’s the same every evening, you’ll get used to it,’ she said. ‘However, there’s something else you must get used to…’
‘What do you mean?’
         I didn’t have to wait long to find out. The chugging sounds of a steam train soon echoed all around us and I almost dropped my glass of rosé in shock. 
‘But you said that the train line wasn’t in use any longer,’ I said to my sister, who laughed and explained that it wasn’t a real train but a CD another neighbour played most nights to retaliate for the honking of the geese.
         ‘It’s like war,’ my sister said. ‘The neighbour puts her CD player in the garden and pushes the volume to the maximum. You’ll get used to it…’
         My sister informed me recently that the feud between her two neighbours had not yet been resolved. It is therefore safe to assume that on my lazy Sunday at her place I would be treated once again to the sounds of steam train – unless the angry neighbour picked another CD from her collection of annoying noises, such as rutting stags or Formule One racing cars (yes, she has them too). 
         However, whilst there is still daylight, I would end my lazy Sunday with a stroll down the lane to say goodnight to the donkeys who live in the nearby field, before probably enjoying another glass of rosé wine before bedtime.  
         I hope you enjoyed my lazy Sunday in the Auvergne. I cannot recommend this beautiful and unspoilt area too much.


Released on 23rd July.
Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?
Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.
As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.
But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters? 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for welcoming me on your blog, Jacqui!


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