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While I am deeply engrossed in When in Rome which I am thoroughly enjoying, I realised over the weekend that I have allowed beautiful Italy to seduce me somewhat, and to entice me away from my first love – France. On Saturday morning, while having my usual coffee with a group of gym friends, one of them mentioned a local supplier of beautiful French products, French Country Collections, and so the longings began … On returning home, I picked up the property section of The New Zealand Herald,  to see a well-known face on the cover – that of Peta Mathias – one of my favourite food and travel writers.  Flamboyant and fabulous Peta is selling her Auckland home to go and live in Uzes, where she has a cooking school – hmmmm – the South of France is now sitting firmly back on the agenda. We really wanted to visit Uzes and were so near when we were on a trip to Nimes, Arles and the Pont du Gard, but we couldn’t do it all – and of course it is a good excuse to go back!

The amazing Pont du Gard – I was there

Peta’s book,  French Toast (now available in a new updated edition, so I discover), was one of several I read prior to our trip to France in 2007 – it was informative, funny, evocative, honest, and useful, and I dipped into it again before we returned to the South of France in June. Reading about Peta’s imminent move set me daydreaming about going back to France yet again, and on Sunday morning the dreams became more vivid, when I opened the Sunday Star Times,  to see a piece by Elizabeth Lind with the attractive title,  “A Few Days in Paris”. Elizabeth owns La Cigale, a local French market and cafe, and is a frequent traveller to France. The excellent article is an extract from her soon to be released book La Cigale. Her advice for visitors to Paris seems excellent and I have kept the article for future reference. Check out the  Notes from France page on the La Cigale website – very helpful and interesting, so I expect the book to be good.

To satisfy my French longings, I have purchased two books for my iPad, so I can dip in and out of Paris and the South of France whenever I like. David Downie’s Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light comes highly recommended and Kristen Espinasse’s Blossoming in Provence had me hooked as soon as I saw the cover. Having dipped into it already I can see that it will not disappoint … and it may bring back fond memories of our wonderful cycling trip in Provence – here is a glimpse of one of lovely towns we staying in – Vaison-la-Romaine – overnight it turned into a hustling bustling, colourful marketplace- wonderful!

Herbs and Spices in the market at Vaison-la-Romaine.

Vaison-la-Romaine – medieval town

Market stalls in the carpark at Vaison-La-Romaine