Monday, January 18, 2021

Book review of L'Origine by Lilianne Milgrom

 

French Village Diaries book review L'Origine by Lilianne Milgrom
L'Origine by Lilianne Milgrom


L’Origine: The Secret Life Of The World’s Most Erotic Masterpiece by Lilianne Milgrom

(historical fiction) Release date: July 28, 2020 at Little French Girl Press 255 pages

2020 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award

***

Buy It Here

Amazon | Bookshop

*** See the book on Goodreads


SYNOPSIS

L’Origine‘ traces the extraordinary, clandestine odyssey of an iconic 19th century painting that shook up the author’s world and continues to scandalize all who set eyes upon it. Gustave Courbet’s portrait of a woman’s exposed torso and sex – audaciously entitled ‘L’Origine du monde’ (The Origin of the World) – was so shocking it was kept hidden for a century and a half, surviving revolution, Nazi plunder and the foibles of its eccentric owners. Today it draws millions of visitors to Paris’ Orsay Museum. Lilianne Milgrom brings a fresh, feminine perspective to an iconic work of art created specifically for the male gaze. ‘L’Origine‘ offers readers more than a riveting romp through history–it also reflects society’s complex attitude towards female nudity.
NB: this is a historical novel, no explicit scenes

MY REVIEW

The first part of this book is the personal journey of the author, an artist from Washington, who having reached the status of ‘woman of a certain age’, making her acutely aware of the aging process, feels she needs to do something about it. With her husband often working away from home and their children now adults, she runs to Paris, to paint. It is only when she arrives, and takes a look around the Musée d’Orsay, that she realises what it is she is going to paint; Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde. 

 

I’m no art expert, so I had to look it up, and can appreciate that in its day (1866) its explicitness of the female form, wouldn’t have been for all eyes. From her daily visits to the museum, in her new role as official copyist of this piece, Lilianne, studies its every brush stroke as she attempts to reproduce her own version, often under the scrutiny of the visiting public. She feels the power of the painting as she watches the varying reactions it produces and arrives at the end of her six weeks a different person.

 

The second part of the book is a work of historical fiction that adds the backstory from first sketch to finished work, and then from art lover, dealer and collector, as L’Origine quietly makes its almost secret journey. Lilianne takes us back to Courbet’s studio, his muse, his lovers and his life dedicated to pushing rules and boundaries. It is known that the first owner of this privately commissioned piece was a Turkish/Egyptian diplomat called Khalil-Bey, who spent his time in Paris during the 1860’s collecting fine art and gambling his family fortunes away, but it’s journey during the 20th Century is less well-known. Lilianne has done her research to uncover its owners and their secrets up to when it was acquired by the Musée d’Orsay in 1995. 

 

As Lilianne cleverly dips in and out of European history, culture and the troubled periods, we follow those involved and get to rub shoulders with famous names in art and literature whose paths crossed with the painting or its many owners. We see the power it has over relationships and the trouble it causes, but also the pleasure it brings too. Her passion for this piece and its story soon had me fascinated, even though it was a work of art that I’d not previously heard of. I was intrigued by its owners, their society lifestyles and the changing attitudes to the painting. This book certainly paints a colourful picture of a special work of art and opened my eyes to periods of art, history and culture I was unaware of.



French Village Diaries book review L'Origine by Lilianne Milgrom
Lilianne Milgrom

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lilianne Milgrom Paris-born Lilianne Milgrom is an award-winning international artist, writer on the arts and author. Her art can be found in both private and institutional collections around the world and her articles have been published in Huffington Post, Daily Art Magazine, Ceramics Now and Bonjour Paris. Her 5-star, bestselling novel ‘L’Origine‘ is the result of ten years of research and was accepted into the Historical Novel Society. Lilianne lives in Washington DC with her husband. Follow the author on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram Join her mailing list

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French Village Diaries book review L'Origine by Lilianne Milgrom   


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Book review of One Summer in Monte Carlo by Jennifer Bohnet

French Village Diaries book review One Summer in Monte Carlo Jennifer Bohnet
One Summer in Monte Carlo by Jennifer Bohnet


One Summer in Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo means different things to different people; a billionaires playground, overflowing with glitz and glamour but also where dangerous secrets hide.

For Nanette Weston, and her then fiancé, F1 racing driver Zac Ewart, their dream life came to an abrupt halt 3 years ago following a car accident which Zac walked away from, but left Nanette being airlifted back to the UK, never to return and never to see her fiancé again.

Monte Carlo was a place she wanted to forget, not revisit. But when her friend and employer, Vanessa asks Nanette to look after her children in the Principality for a few months, Nanette knew she had no choice but to return.

As the F1 circus once again comes to town, with Zac in pole position, mistakes of the past, leave legacies for the future...

This book was previously published as Follow Your Star by Jennifer Bohnet.


 

French Village Diaries book review One Summer in Monte Carlo Jennifer Bohnet
One Summer in Monte Carlo Jennifer Bohnet


My review

One Summer in Monte Carlo is a book with a real mix of different characters, all with their own story lines, and all entwined around the wealthy lifestyle of those lucky enough to live in Monaco. There are apartments with balconies and harbour side views, fine dining in the hills above Nice and the roar of Formula 1 that comes crashing into daily life, but there is also a secret from the past that seemed to have been forgotten. 

 

As the PA and fiancée of racing driver Zac Ewart, Nanette was once part of the F1 social scene. She organised parties on his yacht and attended events on his arm, until the car accident three years ago, that she can’t remember, left her ostracised and alone. Monte Carlo, Zac and the privileged lifestyle were firmly in her past, until her best friend Vanessa asks her a huge favour. Her decision to return for one summer, and face those who hurt her, might be just what she needs to help free her from the past, but it could open up opportunities for her future too.

 

There is more to this book than the glitz and the glamour of its Monte Carlo location, it also shows the importance of family, friendship and being there for the ones you love. Nanette discovers Monaco has changed and with the new faces it seems there are also dirty deals being done that have far reaching consequences. Who is involved and how risky it is, will be something else for her to work out as she attempts to move on with her future. This shady side of life in Monaco added suspense, tension and a few twists to the book. 

 

It is always exciting to be back in a Jennifer Bohnet book and although I’d read Follow Your Star, many years ago, I’ve really enjoyed reading this updated version. If the buzz of Formula 1 and the lifestyle of the rich and famous is where you want to be, if only on a short break, this book would be a perfect winter escape.

 

Purchase Link 



Amazon

  

French Village Diaries book review One Summer in Monte Carlo Jennifer Bohnet
Author Jennifer Bohnet


Author Bio  

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women's fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

Social Media Links 

Website 

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Twitter 

Instagram 

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French Village Diaries book review One Summer in Monte Carlo Jennifer Bohnet
One Summer in Monte Carlo blog tour


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Hope and peace for 2021

French Village Diaries Hope and Peace for 2021
Looking forward to a new year


Hope and peace 

Hope and peace were my words for welcoming in 2021, but neither seem to be doing their bit to live up to my expectations just yet. We are two weeks into the new year and the world seems equally as mad and scary as it did in the run up to Christmas.

 

The situation in France

The French vaccination programme seemed to get off to slow start but after reading our local (Nouvelle Aquitaine) health authority’s recent press release, I am more reassured. The start of the vaccination programme, at the end of December, was only to obtain the consent from the residents of the care homes, to determine how many vaccine doses to order. Many residents have a legal guardian to handle all their affairs, so I guess it was quite a task to coordinate, especially over the New Year holiday period. It wasn’t until early January that vaccinations began to happen. To begin with it was for those in care homes only, but from tomorrow an online booking system will be opened up to anyone over 75, whether in a care home or not. Staff members at care homes, aged over fifty, are being vaccinated too, and a report out today claimed 200,000 people were vaccinated in France yesterday, so numbers here should soon begin to rise steadily.

 

The situation in UK

The UK has gone back into lockdown, mainly thanks to the new UK variant of Covid-19, that although not rampaging through France like it is in the south of England, has reached French shores. UK schools are closed once more, and exercise must be kept ‘local to home’; whatever that means seems to have caused a bit of media debate these last few days. During our lockdowns here, we knew exactly how far we could go as we were given a one kilometre from home radius, extended towards the end to a twenty-kilometre radius. It’s not rocket science Boris, just simple-to-follow rules. Our parents in the UK are still waiting to hear when they will get their vaccinations. Dad is over eighty, Mum over seventy-five and although Adrian’s mum is younger, she is still classed as a high-risk, and yet despite all of them living in a Tier 4 area, still they wait. 


 

French Village Diaries Hope and Peace for 2021
Our region's Covid-19 figures per 100,000 people.
We live in the top left bad pocket!


What next?

The French government were meeting this morning to determine what happens next for us. The main concerns are the effects of rising numbers following Christmas and New Year and the arrival of the English variant of Covid-19 on French soil. The press seems to think it unlikely, for now, that a new country-wide lockdown will be put in place, but it could be that the overnight curfew is brought forward to six o’clock for all of France. Our department, the Deux-Sèvres, isn’t fairing too well compared to neighbouring departments, and whatever happens nationwide, I wouldn’t be surprised if our curfew was brought forward to six o’clock in the evening, instead of eight. As it’s cold and dark before six, this really wouldn’t inconvenience our daily lives at all.

 

Ed got a brief taste of freedom last week in Poitiers, as there are certain practical parts of his course that can’t be done online, but he is back home with us now, waiting to discover what will happen for the final few months. Pearl is here for a few days too, and while I’d normally be happy my nest is full, the uncertainty of so many things at the moment are definitely putting a damper on my mood. The fact that it is January and the last few days have been cold and damp, probably hasn’t helped, but we are keeping up our daily bike ride, even if it’s just for a half an hour, ten-kilometre ride, close to home. 



French Village Diaries Hope and Peace for 2021
Raindrops keep falling on my head


It can be a struggle some days to get off the sofa and out the door, and it’s not easy to see where I’m going through my raindrop coated glasses, but it’s worth it and we’ve already clocked up over two hundred kilometres this year. I just can’t help feeling that we should have learned so much from the last year and yet we don’t seem to be any more prepared now than in early 2020 when Covid-19 was something from China, occasionally making the news. 


Hope and peace 2021, you know you can do it. 

Stay safe. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Book review of Loving Modigliani by Linda Lappin

 

French Village Diaries book review Loving Modigliani by Linda Lappin
Loving Modigliani by Linda Lappin


Linda Lappin

on Tour January 7-20 with  

Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife Of Jeanne Hébuterne

(literary fiction/historical fiction/fantasy) Release date: December 15, 2020 at Serving House Books 343 pages Goodreads

Buy It Here: Amazon


SYNOPSIS

Amedeo Modigliani, embittered and unrecognized genius, dies of meningitis on a cold January day in Montparnasse in 1920. Jeanne Hébuterne, his young wife and muse, follows 48 hours later, falling backwards through a window. Now a ghost, Jeanne drifts about the studio she shared with Modigliani—for she was not only his favorite model, but also an artist whose works were later shut away from public view after her demise. Enraged, she watches as her belongings are removed from the studio and her identity as an artist seemingly effaced for posterity, carried off in a suitcase by her brother. She then sets off to rejoin Modigliani in the underworld. Thus begins Loving Modigliani, retelling the story of Jeanne Hébuterne’s fate as a woman and an artist through three timelines and three precious objects stolen from the studio: a notebook, a bangle, and a self-portrait of Jeanne depicted together with Modi and their daughter. Decades later, a young art history student will discover Jeanne’s diary and rescue her artwork from oblivion, after a search leading from Paris to Nice, Rome, and Venice, where Jeanne’s own quest will find its joyful reward.






MY REVIEW

We are with nineteen-year-old Jeanne Hébuterne as she falls to her death, just days after her lover, the artist Modigliani, dies. It is a brutal death and together with her trapped spirit we witness the horror on her family’s faces as they see her crumpled, broken body in the courtyard of their Parisian apartment. 

 

As Jeanne comes to terms with what she has done, we are with her as she takes her first steps in the afterlife, desperate to do all she can to be reunited with her beloved Modi. With the help of unexpected new friends, she travels through portals that take her between a seemingly parallel Paris for the dead, the underworld, and even give her a glimpse into the future she missed. Death for Jeanne is like a dream where you never quite seem to get where you need to be, and where increasingly bizarre situations crop up to delay your progress. 

 

This is a book of many parts, each one as intriguing as the other. No sooner had I got settled into the afterlife, when we are transported back to Paris, in the 1980’s, where an art student writing her thesis is introduced to a mysterious elderly lady. Annie is one of the last people alive to have met Modi and Jeanne, but time is running out for her and she has secrets she needs to share, before it is too late.

 

When Jeanne’s diaries turn up unexpectedly, decades after her death, the next part of this book takes us back into Montparnasse and the Parisian art scene during the First World War. The parties, the deceit, the poverty, the passion. We follow the young Jeanne as she begins to break away from the safety of her bourgeois family and find her independence with the artists she so admires.

 

Each different part of this book captivated me and swept me up in the mystery of Jeanne’s life, and the final part, which was probably the most unexpected, brought everything together just perfectly and left me with a smile on my face.

 

With Jeanne’s life and death being such an enigma, this isn’t the first fiction book I have read about her, and it certainly left me wanting to know more about Jeanne, Modi, his art, and their daughter. I couldn’t have picked a better book to begin a new year of reading. 

 


French Village Diaries book review Loving Modigliani by Linda Lappin
Linda Lappin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Linda Lappin has published four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin de Worde, 2004); Katherine’s Wish, dealing with the life of Katherine Mansfield (Wordcraft, 2008), shortlisted for Foreward Book of the Year and iPPY gold medal winner in historical fiction; Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery, winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award from RWA for the best mystery novel of 2013; and Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne. She is also the author of The Soul of Place: Ideas and Exercises for Conjuring the Genius Loci, winner in 2015 of the gold medal in creativity in the Nautilus Book Awards. She lives in Rome. Visit the author’s website and her blog. Follow the author on Facebook, and Twitter Join her mailing list
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Friday, January 8, 2021

Book review of The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

French Village Diaries book review The Chalet by Catherine Cooper
The Chalet by Catherine Cooper
Published by Harper Collins 31 October 2020


My review today is for The Chalet by Catherine Cooper, a crime thriller set in a luxury chalet in the French Alps. 


In one day, lives were changed forever, but who really knows the truth and who is out for revenge?

 

I’ll be the first to admit I am normally more of a rom-com kind of reader, but I must have a dark side too as death, murder, deceit and all sorts of other nasties in this book had me hooked.

 

In the late 1990’s, two brothers and their girlfriends are on a ski holiday together. There is tension and rivalry between the brothers and following an afternoon of off-piste skiing, only one brother returns to the chalet. The events from this holiday change the lives of those involved forever. Some move on, seemingly putting the tragedy to the back of their minds, some never stop looking over their shoulder and some are ruined, completely. 

 

In another chalet, twenty years later, two couples become snowed in while events spiral out of control around them. They are all very different characters, some I warmed to, some I did not, but they all do their best to hide their pasts and their real reasons for being where they are just now. 

 

The mixture of timelines, different stories and emotionally charged situations, cleverly woven throughout the book, kept me guessing as to who was linked back to the fated family ski holiday, and what part they had played in the tragedy. Some of the topics covered were brutal, but there was humour too, especially for those (like me) who have given skiing a try but were never born to be naturals. I loved following Louisa’s first days on the slopes with her boyfriend, as it brought back so many memories of my first skiing trip, coincidently, also in the late 1990’s.

 

This very quickly became a book that was difficult to put down as I did my best to second guess who was guilty, while waiting for the plot to fall into place. I loved it more than I was expecting and now that winter has arrived, I can recommend you cosy yourself up in your favourite reading corner and while away your time, virtually snowed in at a luxury chalet in the French Alps.

 

  

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Book review of An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham

French Village Diaries book review An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham Bookouture #booksontour
An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham #booksontour


An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham

Paris, 1940: Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’

As Nazi troops occupy the City of Lights, American journalist Florence is determined to do everything she can to save her adopted home and the man she loves.

Florence had arrived in Paris in 1937 and on a beautiful summer’s day, met and fell in love with Otto, a Jewish artist from Austria, who had fled persecution in his homeland. But as swastikas are draped along the city’s wide boulevards, everything Otto was running from seems to have caught up with him.

Both Florence and Otto begin lending their talents to the Resistance, working to sabotage the Germans right under their noses. Florence’s society columns that, before the war were filled with tales of glamorous Parisian parties, now document life under occupation and hide coded messages for those fighting outside France for freedom. While Otto risks arrest in order to pin up the anti-Nazi posters he designs by candlelight in their tiny apartment.

But with every passing day, things become more dangerous for Otto to remain in Paris. If Florence risks everything by accepting a secret mission, can she ensure his survival so that they can be reunited once the war is over?

A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice NetworkThe Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.  

 

French Village Diaries book review An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham Bookouture #booksontour
An American in Paris 
Bookouture books-on-tour


My review

Florence and Otto’s love story is heart-warming and heart breaking, but it was her determination, inner strength and ability to survive, even when at her emotionally lowest, that had me hooked. From her solo voyage across the Atlantic, to creating a life for herself in Paris and doing all she could, despite the dangers, to resist the Nazis, Florence was an inspiration. I feared for Otto from the start, a Jew and an immigrant, arriving in Paris at the right time to meet Florence, but at completely the wrong time historically, but the bond between them was poetic and beautiful.

 

This is not just a gripping wartime drama that will have your heart in your mouth as you read about Florence’s extraordinary life, it is also a book with a second storyline, in a separate time period, that I was equally captivated with. We meet Sage, Instagram influencer who has lost her way and her creative zing, her life ruled by the brands who pay her and the followers who worship her. Sage has it all; the income, the lifestyle and access to the events that matter, but she is not happy. One night her emotions (and alcohol) take over and she posts an honest video that causes a backlash of social media outrage and hatred directed at her, highlighting everything that is wrong, and anti-social, about social media. It is when she is at her lowest that a stranger from America gets in touch. Sam offers Sage a calm place to recover, answers to questions from her past and an opportunity to move forward for her future.

 

Sage and Florence were two very different women, but both of their journeys had me hoping for positive outcomes and happiness for characters I had come to care about. There was something refreshingly different about this book that really connected with me emotionally.

 

If you are looking for a New Year read that perfectly entwines the past and the present, with strong characters, passion and emotion, then An American in Paris will give you this and more.

 

Purchase Links 



Amazon 

Apple 

Kobo 

Google 

 

French Village Diaries book review An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham Bookouture #booksontour
Siobhan Curham


Author bio

 

Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, ghost writer, editor and writing coach. She has also written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Breathe magazine, Cosmopolitan, Writers’ Forum, DatingAdvice.com, and Spirit & Destiny. Siobhan has been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman’s Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast. And she has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival. 

 

Website 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Friday, January 1, 2021

French Public and School Holidays 2021 and post-Brexit travel information

French Village Diaries French Public and School Holidays 2021 and post-Brexit travel information
French public and school holidays 2021


Happy New Year. January is with us once more and as in previous years, here is my annual post with all of the public holidays, school holidays and other notable dates (and how they are celebrated) in France, for 2021. 

 

This is a post I have been writing for over five years and it always fills me with the excitement of a new year, planning new holidays and looking forward to summer adventures in France. This year, it seems a little at odds with our current Covid-19 uncertainty to be looking at holiday dates, especially with a view to planning a get away, but it seemed worthwhile updating it for 2021, even if school terms may be subject to changes and interruptions if France goes into another period of confinement.

 

As I write this there are strict controls in place on who can travel to France from the UK, due to Covid-19, and as this is likely to remain in place for most of the winter ski season, please do check with the relevant authorities before planning your 2021 holiday. 

 

Public Holidays in France 2021

1st January, New Year’s Day, jour de l’an

4th April, Easter SundayPâques

5th April, Easter Monday, lundi de Pâques (note there is no Good Friday holiday in France unless you live in Alsace or Moselle areas)

1st May, Fête du Travail (a Saturday this year)

8th May, Victory in Europe DayVictoire 1945 (a Saturday this year)

13th May, Ascension Day, Ascension (note schools will have an extra day off on Friday 14th May for the bridge pont

24th May, Pentecost Monday, lundi de Pentecôte

14th July, Fête National

15th August, Assumption Day, Assomption (a Sunday this year)

1st November, All Saint's Day, Toussaint

11th November, Armistice Day, Armistice 1918 

25th December, Christmas Day, Jour de Noël (a Saturday this year) (note there is no Boxing Day holiday in France on 26th unless you live in Alsace or Moselle areas)

 

Faire le pont

With the exception of the holidays linked to Easter: Easter Monday, Ascension Day and Pentecost Monday, the above dates are the same every year and the holiday is always observed on the actual date rather than being moved to the nearest Monday as the UK would do. Public holidays can therefore fall on weekends; to make up for this it is not uncommon for people to faire le pont (make a bridge) if a holiday falls on a Thursday (Ascension Day) or a Tuesday, by taking off the Friday or Monday to give themselves a four-day weekend. This will be part of their annual holiday entitlement, or the hours need to be made up, so while most businesses will be open on bridge days, some staff shortages can be expected. In 2021 four public holidays fall on Saturdays (1st May, 8th May and 25th December) or Sundays (15th August), and only two have the option of bridging to a weekend (13th May and 11thNovember). It is worth noting that in many areas of rural France, although some opening is becoming more common, most shops are likely to be either closed or only open in the mornings on public holidays.

 

French Village Diaries French Public and School Holidays 2021 and post-Brexit travel information
Boulangerie treats for Palm Sunday


Other dates to note

6th January, Epiphany, celebrated in France with a Galette des Rois (see here)

20th January, winter sales begin, soldes d’hiver, sales are regulated in France and the winter sales run from 20th January to 16th February (a little later than normal, thanks to Covid-19)

2nd February Candlemas day, Chandeleur, celebrated in France with pancakes (see here)

16th February, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras when carnival time begins in France and pancakes and beignets (similar to doughnuts) are eaten.

28th March, clocks spring forward an hour to Central European Summer Time

28th March, Palm Sunday, Rameaux a day where our local boulangeries bake something different (see here)

28th May, Neighbours’ Day, fêtes des voisins

30th May, Mother’s Day, fêtes des mères

20th June, Father’s Day, fêtes des pères

21st June, world music day, fête de la musique, celebrated with free concerts in towns and villages all over France

23rd June, summer sales begin, soldes d’été, and will run until 20th July

26th June to 18th July, Le Tour de France

31st October, clocks go back an hour to Central European Time (although this up for debate)

 

French Village Diaries French Public and School Holidays 2021 and post-Brexit travel information
French school holiday zones


School Holidays

In France the schools are split into three zones and most of the holidays are staggered so not everyone is trying to hit the ski slopes or beaches at the same time, although be prepared for extra traffic on the roads on all Saturdays during the school holidays, or better still avoid driving on these days.

 

Here are the dates for 2021:

The winter holiday is from 6th February to 8th March. 

Zone A gets the first two weeks, Zone C the middle two and Zone B the last two.

 

The spring holiday is from 10th April to 10th May. 

Zone A gets the first two weeks, Zone C the middle two and Zone B the last two weeks.

 

The summer holiday for all zones is from 6th July until 2nd September.

 

The October holiday for all zones is from 23rd October to 8th November.

 

The Christmas holiday for all zones is from 18th December to 3rd January 2022.

 

Whether you are new to life in France, or just hoping that at some point in 2021 enough normality will return to ensure you are able to make plans to travel to France on your holidays, I hope you find this blog useful for planning your trip in the quiet weeks outside of the French school holidays. 


 

French Village Diaries French Public and School Holidays 2021 and post-Brexit travel information
A citizen of the EU


Brexit

The deal has been done and from 1st January 2021 there are many things that have changed for British citizens who wish to travel to France. Detailed information can be found on the following links provided by the British Embassy in Paris, but I have summarised the basics for you.

 

Passports

To visit France, you will need a valid UK passport that has at least six months left on it, and be able to prove you have enough money for your stay, if asked. Your passport may be stamped, and you will need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when arriving. More details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

 

Visas 

You can visit France for up to 90 days in every 180 days without a visa. This includes holidays and business trips. If you want to stay in France for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period, you will need to apply for a visa. Full details can be found here: https://uk.ambafrance.org/BREXIT-all-visa-related-provisions

 

Food and customs

You will no longer able to bring meat or dairy products into the EU from the UK, so don’t be tempted to pack any blocks of Cheddar or Stilton, or packs of bacon, to help you survive your French holiday. The full set of regulations can be found here:  https://ec.europa.eu/.../animalproducts/personal_imports_en

There are also changes to the volume and value of certain goods that you can bring to France from the UK, for items such as alcohol, tobacco, fuel and medicine. Please find full details here: https://www.douane.gouv.fr/.../volume-and-value-based...

 

EHIC and travel insurance

A UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will remain valid until it expires. Your EHIC gives you the right to access emergency state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU. You can find the latest travel advice here: https://www.gov.uk/.../uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea...

If you need a replacement for an expired EHIC, you will get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead. You can find more information, including how to apply, here: https://www.nhs.uk/.../apply-for-a-free-ehic-european.../

A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover the costs of private medical healthcare, so you are advised to ensure you have travel insurance to cover all your healthcare needs. 

 

Pet passports

A current EU pet passport issued in Great Britain will no longer be valid for travel. To bring your pet to France, you will need an Animal Health Certificate, signed by your vet no more than 10 days before travel. Full details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/.../pet-travel-to-europe-from-1...

 

Data roaming 

Surcharge-free data roaming will no longer be guaranteed. However, mobile operators including Three, EE, O2 and Vodafone have stated they have no current plans to change their mobile roaming policies and all operators must inform you when charges are about to go over a monthly threshold: https://www.gov.uk/.../using-your-mobile-in-eu-and-eea.... You should contact your operator for more details.

 

UK driving licences

These will continue to be recognised in France until at least 31st December 2021.

 

I really do hope you are able to enjoy a safe holiday in France at some point this year. 

 

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