Time out in southern France
I was born in Montréal, Quebec into an Anglophone, first-generation, Canadian family. My earliest memories are of travel. We visited relatives who all lived long plane rides away. I have been lucky enough to see many corners of the world, for both leisure and business. Over the years, the country I have visited most is France. Whether for fleeting trips, on the way somewhere else, or for just long enough to believe that my language skills were passable, France is a country that fills my soul. To me this country has everything, a diversity of geography with towering mountains and serene ocean front villages. The population is proud of their culture, within boundaries. Oh, and the food….it illustrates the nation’s rich diversity not only because of the enormous variety, but also the pride in quality and traditions of the harvest.
Growing up in Montréal, I got a reasonable level of proficiency with the French language. Canada is officially a bilingual country, but the further west one travels, the more Anglophone the regions are in practice. As my world unfolded, love and life took me further west and with that my French skills diminished.
It was time to dust off my rusty French and take a hiatus from life in Canada. With my husband and our 10-year-old black Labrador, I now live within the magical grasp of the Alpilles in Provence, in southern France. Initially, we planned to stay six months; it was not long before I arm-twisted both of them to stay for a year, or longer… We are exploring, hiking and biking. We are also wandering through the local markets and experiencing food so fresh that our mouths water thinking of dinner. Vineyards galore, we cannot help but try new wines. Restaurants are a joy, only serving the freshest and the best quality.
Is there a better place to enjoy life at a slower pace than in the heart of the French countryside? With time on my hands, I have focused on writing and recording some of our discoveries. I write a weekly blog called ‘Ginger and Nutmeg’.
The name Ginger and Nutmeg is certainly not French. In fact, these two spices are not featured much in continental French cuisine. The names were chosen for a few reasons; the most obvious is on our individual hair color. However, far more intriguing is the geographical range and history of these spices. Both spices thrive in temperate climates, they appear in the cuisines of exotic locals and even traveled on the spice trade routes many centuries ago. Ginger and nutmeg are found in both savory and sweet dishes. These spices can also provide either heating or cooling effects on the palate. In other words, we are both just a bit unpredictable, a bit engaging and certainly a little enduring.
We’re not sure when we’ll return to Canada; I could easily stay forever. Whenever we return, my suitcase will be full of fantastic memories. My gift to myself will be to continue to nurture my French soul and keep writing, regardless of geography.
Hello Carolyne and welcome to My French Life!