Bonjour! Three collages had to be created this week to fit all that is in this year’s French Week This & That because I have a loooooong list of books, all pertaining to something about France whether in memoir form, novel form or for the cook and so many other topics of interest. A new film that plays with the plot of a famous French novel written in the 19th century, a new Maison line from a Provençal brand, if you adore Monet, you are in luck with all of the different books inspired by his gardens at Giverny, and clothing finds from French brands as well. Plus! Yep, so much more. 🙂
—Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy by Damien Lewis
This book will be my book to get lost in this fall when I am not out in the garden and the temperatures begin to drop, as it looks fascinating, and the reviews are very strong. Yep, it is true, Josephine Baker was a spy during WWII while she was in Paris, performing to raucous, adoring crowds. So much is shared for the first time in this biography of the woman who was just recently given the Legion of Honor in France. Read a review shared in The New Yorker to explore further before picking up your copy. Mine is in my cart as we speak. 🙂
—The Façades of Paris: Windows, Doors and Balaconies by Dominique Mathez (Illustrator), Joël Orgiazzi (Contributor)
Released this past May, The Façades of Paris “invites readers to lift up their eyes while strolling throughout Paris’s streets and boulevards to pause, discover, and appreciate the facades of its buildings and the delicate artworks that are their windows, doors, and balconies. Innumerable motifs ornament the architecture of the French capital—each a minor masterpiece of fine design and ironwork artistry.”
I stumbled across this book in a local bookstore this summer, and immediately put it on the list to share this week for French Week. “In How to Live Like the Little Prince, Stéphane Garnier revisits St. Exupér’s story with a fresh, contemporary eye, urging us—as the Little Prince did—to preserve our childlike wonder by slowing down, dreaming big, and showing humble kindness to our planet and one another. In each chapter, Garnier beautifully conjures the expressive wisdom of St. Exupéry’s storytelling, reminding us of essential lessons like how to be rebellious and incorruptible, how to leave your mark on the world, how to be free from the judgment of others, and how to let go and be alone.”
—Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc by Katherine J. Chen
Reviews have been strong from critics for Katherine J. Chen’s new novel drawing on all that we do know about Joan of Arc, and then filling in the gaps of what we do not. “This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition.”
—A Meal Observed by Andrew Todhunter
Just last week I finished reading A Meal Observed, a memoir of a book that is written entirely about one dining experience at the three Michelin starred restaurant in Paris Taillevent, an experience that is quite delicious and engaging to read. Published in 2004, the author (and guest along with his wife) had the opportunity to intern/observe the kitchens of Taillevent prior to his dining opportunity, so throughout each chapter, Todhunter shares what goes on behind the scenes to create the food that wins praises from customers from around the world. A light read that is thoughtfully written. Thank you to Diana, a TSLL reader for bringing this title to my attention 😌💛.
—Monet, Water Lilies: The Complete Series (English edition) by Jean-Dominique Rey and Denis Rouart
A book to have in your library if you, like me, have an affection for Claude Monet’s most famous works. The English edition (linked above) is quite a bit more expensive. I recommend the French edition, Monet, Les Nympheas, for this reason, and also, to have it written in its original form. Find all of the paintings in this book, a book I wanted to purchase while visiting L’Orangerie this past spring (see first pic below), but feared I wouldn’t have enough room in my suitcase. I should have just purchased it. Argh!
The book as I saw it this past April in the gift shop at L’Orangerie in Paris. Shannon, big mistake not to purchase it at that moment. BIG!🙃
—Paris Blue: A Memoir of First Love by Julie Scolnik
Released last October and continuing to receive praise is the memoir by Julie Scolnik, Paris Blue. Her story begins in 1976: “Twenty-year-old American student Julie Scolnik had just arrived in the City of Light to study the flute when, from across a sea of faces in the chorus of the Orchestre de Paris, she is drawn to Luc, a striking (married) French lawyer in the bass section. This moving tale of an ebullient young American and a reserved Frenchman will transport readers to the cafés, streets, and concert halls of Paris in the late seventies, and, spanning three decades, evolves from deep romance to sudden heartbreak, and finally to a lifelong quest for answers to release hidden, immutable grief.”
—A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City by Edward Chisholm
I just learned of this new book, A Waiter in Paris, that was released this past Tuesday, and well, it does not romanticize Paris, let’s just be clear, but it may just be a very interesting read. “Edward Chisholm’s memoir of his time as a Parisian waiter takes you beneath the surface of one of the most iconic cities in the world—and right into its glorious underbelly. He inhabits a world of inhuman hours, snatched sleep and dive bars; scraping by on coffee, bread and cigarettes, often under sadistic managers, with a wage so low you’re fighting your colleagues for tips. Your colleagues—including thieves, narcissists, ex-soldiers, immigrants, wannabe actors, and drug dealers—are the closest thing to family that you’ve got.” Read an excerpt from the book in Air Mail.
—La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E.Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking by Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange (Author), Paul Aratow
A classic of a cookbook, and a must-have for cooks who love French cuisine. Originally published in 1927, it wasn’t until 2005 that her cookbook was published in English. “A housewife and a professional chef, Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange wrote in a rigorous yet highly instructive and engaging style, explaining in extraordinary detail the proper way to skim a sauce, stuff a chicken, and construct a pâté en croûte.” With more than 700 pages, discover “1300 authentic French recipes for such classics as Braised Beef, Quiche Lorraine, Cassoulet, and Apricot Soufflé; original illustrations of prepping and cooking techniques; and seasonal menus for every meal of the day.”
—Délicieux: The Recipes of France by Gabriel Gate
Published in 2017, in Délicieux Gabriel Gate shares recipes for “the simplest tarts and gratins, to the fish stews and savoie sponge cakes, displaying the diversity and originality of France’s rich culinary heritage. Gabriel has chosen recipes from every corner of France: from Normandy, with its delicate Channel fish and seafood, and fine butter and cream; to Provence in the south, with its Mediterranean vegetables and olive oil. He has visited local markets, cafés, fine-dining restaurants and patisseries, discovering new chefs, and uncovering original recipes of the most classic French foods.”
—French Cooking for Beginners: 75+ Classic Recipes to Cook Like a Parisian by François de Mélogue
While released in 2020, Françaois de Mélogue’s cookbook is worth sharing. “In French Cooking for Beginners you’ll discover how to make the timeless, tasty cuisine served up at French dinner tables and in beloved bistros and brasseries. Author François de Mélogue breaks down classic French cookbook dishes like Duck Confit with Crispy Potatoes, Bouillabaisse, and Coq au Vin into easy-to-follow steps perfect for the newcomer. Along the way, you’ll learn how to put together a cheese board any Parisian would be proud of, fry the perfect pommes frites, and pair food and wine like a pro.”
Updated and released again last year with a timely emphasis on sustainability and responsibly-sourced ingredients, in French Countryside Cooking, “multiple-Michelin-starred Daniel Galmiche presents a fresh approach to French cooking. Taking inspiration and ingredients from meadow and orchard, from field to forest, and from river to sea, each recipe elevates authentic French rural classics to sophisticated dishes, full of flavour and easy to create at home . . . With short ingredients lists and straightforward guidance on how to perfect chef-level techniques such as dehydrating and sous-vide without the fancy equipment, this book will allow you to master innovative French cuisine – and reduce food waste – with simplicity.”
—Monet’s Palate Cookbook: The Artist and his Kitchen Garden at Gievrny by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell
Released in 2015, this cookbook remains on my wishlist, and I need to welcome it into my kitchen library soon! “For the first time in history, Monet’s Palate Cookbook: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny brings Claude Monet’s beloved kitchen garden back to life. Written by filmmaker Aileen Bordman and garden writer Derek Fell, the book includes sixty recipes linked to Monet’s two-acre kitchen garden near his home at Giverny, France. Included is detailed information about the vegetables he grew, plus photographs and descriptions of the house interiors and gardens capturing Monet’s extraordinary lifestyle. Meryl Streep has written the Foreword and the recipes beautifully photographed by Steven Rothfeld.”
—A Parisian Bistro: La Fontaine de Mars in 50 Recipes by Delphine Constantini (Photographer), Robert De Niro (Foreword), Cécile Maslakian (Contributor)
Released in 2020, a Parisian bistro founded in 1908, La Fontaine de Mars is nestled in the heart of the French capital. “As soon as guests pass through the heavy red curtain, they are captivated by the spirit of a place that has lovingly preserved the traces of its past. Checkered tablecloths, vintage objects, earthenware tiles, and delicious dishes in generous portions await. Here, you can discover glorious recipes, such as Cassoulet, Porcini Mushroom Pâté., and Strawberry-Pistachio Sabayon, and see the colorful history of La Fontaine de Mars unfold before your eyes. Neighborhood regulars, savvy tourists, celebrities (including Robert De Niro, who contributes a foreword, and Mick Jagger), American expatriates, and figures from the world of fashion all frequent this legendary address.”
—Potager: Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style by Georgeanne Brennan
As our gardens and the farmers’ markets are now full of the bounty that the warmth of summer makes available, I thought bringing this book back to our attention may be one you will want to add to your kitchen library. Potager: Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style shares recipes from the award-winning author Georgeanne Brennan. In Potager, discover the classic guide to French country cookery that features sixty ingenious recipes made from the finest of fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the potager, or kitchen garden.”
—Coming Home to Nature: The French Art of Countryfication by Gesa Hansen and Estelle Marandon
Released this past April, if you are drawn to the comfort and quiet of Mother Nature, a home or cottage set in the country, be sure to explore Coming Home to Nature for décor inspiration that welcomes the French country but in a contemporary setting. “A calmer life enriched by its surroundings, with more space at home, a burgeoning garden, and a relaxed ambiance is a seductive combination. But a country house is different from a cozy apartment, just steps from modern conveniences. In their search for a deeper experience, they embarked on a long-term project that required planning and effort, but it brought unexpected joy along with the challenges.
“Life in the countryside takes adjustment and there is much to be learned—from furnishing and organizing your home to getting the most from nature and your garden, and from dressing to suit your new setting to hosting relaxed soirées where you’ll linger over dinner with your guests. This is the art of countryfication. Alongside portraits of similar-minded individuals and families who have adopted country living, this book provides insight, practical advice, and recipes that celebrate life in the countryside, all while retaining a Parisian flair.”
I happened upon the film Gemma Bovery a couple of weeks ago (thank you TSLL reader Wanda for recommending it!) as it spoke to both my Francophile as well as Anglophile predictions (the leading actor stars as one half of an English couple who have purchased a home in northern France). On the surface, the film parallels Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel Madame Bovary (published in 1857), but in reality the film is a feminist commentary which for anyone who has read the novel, will most definitely have much to talk about when the film concludes. Novels written by men about women, hmmm . . . is that really possible for a realistic take or is something else at play and how powerful is literature? Oh, that’s right, powerful! In other words, such a perception as fact is a flaw that perpetuates stereotypes and limitations for the gender the author is not identifying as, non? Those questions and more arise, and along the way, the viewer is entertained by the beautiful French countryside. Have a look at the trailer and I do recommend watching it.
—Monet’s Passion: Ideas, Inspiration and Insights from the Painter’s Gardens by Elizabeth Murray
With more than 75 color photographs of Monet’s gardens in Giverny, Normandy, a professional gardener and artist, Murray helped to restore the Giverny gardens in the 1980s and has since enjoyed privileged access to the site, where she returns annually to capture Monet’s passion at its most radiant and riotous. Published in 2010, in this redesigned, updated edition, “Murray discusses the development and history of Monet’s Giverny estate and brings new insight to Monet s approach to gardening and design. Emphasizing his keen understanding of color balance and his genius for maximizing the effects of light, Murray explores the favorite color combinations and techniques with which Monet experimented in both painting and gardening—each pursuit informing the other. Murray’s lush photographs chronicle the present-day gardens, and a section titled ‘Bringing Giverny Home’ provides detailed Giverny-based garden plans that can be applied anywhere. Full-color illustrations of the gardens, a list of the plants originally used by Monet, and a plant cultivation section round out this immensely helpful guide to creating year-round beauty in one’s own backyard.”
A summer handbag to return to each year for quality and functionality.
The female-owned and operated business located in Provence, with lovely linen clothing and now home linens made by a small team of seamstresses in the area, Luxe Provence has just introduced their three different table linens, and this one is my favorite, but it was not an easy choice.
—Sézane Abélia Blouse (more colors)
A simple, yet elegant blouse to elongate the neck. As we prepare for the fall season, this blouse would look well paired with high-waisted pants or jeans, or a skirt.
Look for TSLL’s annual Fall Shopping Guide to be posted here on the blog September 1st.
But summer is not over yet! And a good pair of espadrilles will never go out of style.
The sweater you saw in this Style post shared earlier this week came from Saint James, a company dedicated to perfecting the Breton top in all styles and colors. Today, they are having a sale, and many of their styles, including this Breton Stripe Form Fitting Dress (more color combinations), are on sale, and significant discounts at that.
Loving this neutral hued blazer from designer Vanessa Beard, and the discount is making me figure out if I need to welcome it into my closet sooner rather than later.
Bonjour! Ça va? 🙂
I hope this week has treated you well and that you have been able to explore all that TSLL’s 7th Annual French Week has shared thus far. I have had sooooo much fun bringing together the posts, tours, episodes and giveaways, and it is hard to believe this annual week of celebrating all things French is nearly wrapping up for another year. But don’t worry as we still have three more posts not including this one sharing French inspired content, and one will be going live in 12 hours, the Grand Giveaway (explore becoming a TOP Tier Member so you can enter this giveaway and all of the previous 5 giveaways shared this week).
While this week keeps me at my computer moreso than most weeks, it is a joy to hear about your French memories, what you love about France and savoring celebrating a culture that has brought so much delight into my own life and yours as well.
The week for me began as you see in the photo above, on the garden porch, enjoying my Sunday croissant, attempting to do the daily crossword and savoring the gentle warmth of morning sun and a sunflower recently picked from my garden. This was a morning I greatly savored, and hope you are able to find moments such as this one that you love as well.
If you are just gettin
If you are just beginning to explore this annual week’s content, be sure to take a look at all of the posts that have been shared in one easy-to-find-location here on the blog – the French Week page, then click on 7th Annual. So far 13 posts have been shared, which include two new podcast episodes. These two episodes wrapped up Season 8 of The Simple Sophisticate which means the new season will begin in September. A reminder that when the new season of the podcast begins, the episodes will be available on Wednesday (the 1st and 3rd of each month) instead of Monday. This is just a slight change, and one that is happening because I now have given my entire work focus to blogging since retiring from teaching (I used to produce the episodes on the weekend due to my school schedule), so a change that makes so much more sense, but don’t worry, each Monday, a Motivational post will go live to help kick off your week well.
And one specific note I want to bring your attention to is the most popular post of this week, and actually, it may be the most popular post of 2022, is this post, talking about Effortless Style. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to have a peek.
The most popular post of the week and looks to be the most popular of the year 2022 – Effortless Style—Capsule Wardrobe Details to Include
And now the weekend has arrived, and here we go! I am ready! I hope you are looking ahead to a couple of days of whatever makes you smile. I will be visiting the return of Bend’s Antique Fair (they haven’t had one for nearly two decades, so most curious to take a look), tending to my garden, and in all honestly, relaxing and catching my breath. 😌 I have a feeling something French will be cooked in the kitchen at some point or another – surprise, surprise. ☺️🇫🇷❤️ Okay, now to the list of posts and articles and one video that takes you through a Paris apartment. I do hope you enjoy and thank you so much for visiting TSLL blog. Until the next French post in 12 hours, bonne journée!
~A car-free trip to the Loire Valley [HipParis]
~Ten of the best day trips out of Paris [The Local]
~Are you an introvert in a relationship and curious how to ensure you have quality time for yourself? Read this article from Introvert, Dear.
~A recipe for crusty no-knead baguettes [Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House]
~An interesting read.- Here’s the uncomfortable truth: France can remain globally relevant only in English [Le Monde, subscription may be required]
~The Post-Brexit Guide for Brits Who want to live (and stay) in France [The Local, subscription may be required]
~You may remember his work which was shared in past Sharon Santoni’s My Stylish French Boxes, French cartoonist Sempe, famous for whimsical New Yorker covers, has passed away at 89 [France 24]
~The benefits of not fitting in when you are a quirky gifted outsider [Your Rainforest Mind]
~10 harsh realities that help you grow [Marc & Angel]
~Summer is not over yet, and Nigel Slater’s recipe for fried prawns and watermelon might just hit the spot on hot weather days [The Guardian]
~Reading this and taking note, the absolute best way to prune English lavender beautifully [A middle-sized garden]
~Why travel is about to get much cheaper, Phew! [AFar]
~The best Cotswolds village’s to visit [House & Garden UK]
~The Founder of Hip Paris and Haven in Paris vacation rentals is giving away a dream trip to Paris, accommodations included when you help send Hunger in Maine – learn and donate here to enter
~Let’s slip away to Paris and take a home tour of art gallery owner Fanny Saulay, shared on Parisian Vibe’s channel
~Catch up on last week’s This & That: August 12, 2022
As the summer entertainment season winds down, more than a few films worth exploring, a new series debuting starring Nicola Walker from The Split, two different styles of classic trench coats, both at great prices, a new series adapted from a favorite film that is receiving high praise, a book to read that is already on the Best Books of 2022 list, travel to and visit Provence with a favorite blogger in her new offering, and much more.