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Bon weekend from pinch-myself pretty France!


I hope that you and yours are well.

Autumn has officially landed here in France, though the late summer sun decided to make an appearance right up until this week. The nights are drawing in earlier. The maize growing in the fields hereabouts is swaying in the wind when I walk with the dogs. Leaves are twirling and whirling as they uncouple themselves from the trees. And in the evenings, it’s necessary to pop on a jumper as the cooler nights draw in.

Last week I went local for my travel fix. I already know that I live in one of the most amazing places in France, the 7 Valleys in the department of Pas-de-Calais in the far north. This area has a reputation for being rather rainy, but it’s by and large not half as wet as some imagine and we have plenty of dry weather too – and as the sun shone over the Opal Coast, one of the most gorgeous coastlines of France where seals frolic, at times dramatic with cliffs looking to their twin, the White Cliffs of Dover, and at other times silky-sand beaches, dotted with authentic fishing villages, Belle Epoque resorts and historic ports – I had to pinch myself at how lucky I am to live here. Inland I visited the ancient marshes of Saint-Omer and the glorious countryside in the north of the department. I dined at Michelin Star restaurants and estaminets – cosy inn type restaurants (this is old Flanders country, and the Flemish influence is still strong), enjoyed a local tipple (or two!), tasted some of the finest cheese ever made and checked out the regional cuisine. Yes, I do love my job! And yes, you will be reading all about it in The Good Life France Magazine!

Speaking of which, in case you missed it last week the Autumn issue is out – totally FREE here: The Good Life France Magazine Autumn 2023

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I can provide it as a print magazine. Well, I thought about doing that, but with the cost of ink, paper and delivery feeling like it rises daily, I’d have to charge what I think is a way too expensive price to avoid me going bankrupt. And I don’t want to do that. So, for now it’s digital and free, and if the economic situation changes (seems unlikely though doesn’t it?), then I will absolutely be looking to offer a print version.

Meanwhile, I’m packing my bags to head to Picardy! It’s the department next to mine and I’ll be following in Van Gogh’s footsteps – he spent his last days in Picardy and painted some of his most famous works there. And I’ll learn to make Chantilly cream at the Chateau de Chantilly. Plus I’ll visit some of the less well-known but fabulous towns in Picardy. Feel free to join me on Instagram as I go!

Wishing you a happy autumn and bon weekend from France,


Read the whole newsletter and see this week’s top feature and recipe picks

Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream,  My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life and Toujours la France: Living the Dream in Rural France all available as ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online. Her new book How to be French – a celebration of the French lifestyle, is out in October 2023 – a look at the French way of life.

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