what is your plan for the new year?
While I love to turn the page and start a new year, I think we are all a bit leery about throwing around the familiar phrase "this will be the best year ever"! Remaining "cautiously optimistic" seems to be a better course. I hope, however, that the France trip you have had to postpone, maybe several times, will come to fruition. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, and France is worth the wait.
With all of the sacrifices we have had to make over the past two years, do you still want to make all of those limiting resolutions, or simply live life to the fullest? For the past 5 years or so, I have chosen a word to guide my year, instead of endless promises to do better. This year my word is "Joie" (joy). Yes, this year I choose reckless abandon! I was lucky enough to spend almost 3 months in France this past fall, and I enjoyed every aspect to the fullest. Like a kid in the candy store, I couldn't get enough! You know that part of the Wizard of Oz where the black and white film turns to technicolor? That is what I felt like, landing in the Motherland! The landscapes, the people, the food ... it all seemed even more dazzling than I remembered! I was so busy taking it all in, living in the moment, that I didn't have time to adequately share all of the stories, photos and videos. I promise to take the time to share everything with you in 2022. (Does that kind of sounds like a resolution?). Maybe my travels will provide inspiration for your trip.
Sharing our favorite places for others to enjoy seems to be a natural characteristic of travelers. We simply want others to experience the joy we found off the beaten path. That is what French Detours is all about - sharing the best that each region has to offer. In 2022, we will do it even better, with much more to offer.
New Year - New Look
Our website is getting quite the facelift! I am working with an amazing, creative partner to redesign the look, make the site much easier to navigate, and of course, we are adding a ton of new things to help you indulge your inner Frenchie, even while you are in the US!
Explore: Our travel section will feature amazing trip itineraries, no matter what your comfort level. Want to download the details, rent a car and take off? We have you covered! We will be adding new regions regularly, featuring everything you need for an extraordinary trip. Maybe you prefer to have everything arranged, and just show up with your passport? As a travel agent we have packages where all you do is choose your dates!
Shop: Do you share our passion for all-things-French? We are revamping our online boutique to offer limited edition boxes "coffrets cadeaux" by theme. Once they are gone, they are gone, and new ones will take their place. We will always carry a few staple items (like the incredible Castelas Olive Oils) that you have come to love and can order à la carte. We are also affiliates of some famous French brands, such as Saint James, who has been making the iconic blue and white stripes since 1889.
Learn: Thanks to the fun we had during confinement Zoom presentations, we have decided to add an "event" component to the website. Of course, events won't always be virtual! We look forward to gathering with others who adore the French language and lifestyle.
The newly improved website should be live at the end of March. Until then, please be patient if things go through that awkward growing stage!
What else is in store?
The amazingly talented artist Isabelle Skoog and I teamed up for an article called "A Slice of Normandy" in France magazine's November issue. Look for our article on the Basque Country coming up soon, as well as a more personal article about my love affair with France. We hope to keep this series of "what to buy and what to try" in each region a regular feature!
A picture speaks a thousand words, but a video immediately immerses you into another world. For you, it is the best way to see if an area is worth a closer look. For me, it is an absolute joy to film! (There is that word again!) Locals love to share their passion, and it is evident when you watch them speak. This fall, I spent quite a bit of time in Beaujolais, capturing the essence of this often overlooked area. Guided by Romain Teyteau of Georges Duboeuf wines, we roamed every picturesque corner, accompanied by Leety Films and AL Drone. While a short version of this video was released with the Beaujolais Nouveau at the FACCMN* gala, a longer version will be released this spring, including my private cooking lesson!
Speaking of the *French-American Chamber of Commerce, I am delighted to be one of the Board of Directors. The "Beaujolais and Beyond" gala in November was a great success, and we are in the process of planning our event schedule for 2022. I will keep you updated here as well!
Traveling back to France brought me almost tears. I have no explanation for why this country has such a hold on my heart, but it does. So I will jump through whatever hoops I need to in order to keep going back. People always ask if I will lead a group. Maybe. You will be the first to know. And in the mean time, I will keep researching to bring you the best that I can find as I explore every vibrant city, hilltop village and seaside resort I can find my way to.
Wishing you health, happiness and especially travel in 2022!
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