To all our subscribers and friends,
We hope you and your families are coping well in these surreal and challenging times.
Although we’re all stuck at home and can’t travel right now, there’s no excuse not to revel in French reflection! So we thought we’d transport you from our respective neighbourhoods to our favourite spots in la belle France. There’s a lot we’ve been lucky enough to experience across the Channel – and even more that we’re looking forward to when we get our freedom back. So here, we’ve penned a few billets doux – better known as love letters – to lift your mood.
We can’t wait to continue talking to you about France in the months to come… and we wish you all excellent health and some entertaining escapism in the meantime.
The Atout France press team x
Anne is looking forward to… Sipping rosé in Provence
The sun, the sea, the rosé! One of my first trips with Atout France was to Hyeres. Up until then, I hadn’t really been a massive rosé fan – but it quickly emerged that I simply hadn’t been drinking it in the right places. Sitting at small beachside restaurant, so close to the Mediterranean that we could nearly dip our toes in it, whilst eating freshly grilled fish, is a pretty good place to start! I discovered that summer sun, the southern French landscape and pale rosé wine is a match made in heaven. Needless to say, I can’t wait to head back to Provence to soak up all three.
Marine is looking forward to… Strolling in Paris
During the current lockdown, my favourite escape is my weekly grocery adventure. On my way, I admire the iconic Crystal Palace transmission tower, affectionately known to locals as ‘the Eiffel Tower’s cheeky little brother’. It reminds me of Paris and home. And it makes me smile thinking of the little things I’ll do when I next visit: sip a ‘Monaco’ on a terrace in Saint-Michel, count the steps up to Montmartre, discover new exhibitions, handpick cheeses at our local fromagerie and most of all, share all the secrets of the City of Lights with you!
Tiphaine is looking forward to… Skiing in the French mountains
Over time I’ve collected beanies from the ski resorts I’ve visited in France. I’m looking forward to gathering more, not for the beanies in themselves, but for the thrilling experiences they represent. I like the French mountains best in January, when I’ve experienced some of the best snow on near-empty slopes. I can’t wait to be back on a summit, surrounded by a silent white landscape, ready to ski down a freshly groomed slope. But for now – it’s on with a beanie as I walk around my local Hammersmith.
Fran is looking forward to… Celebrating autumn in Normandy
Luckily for me, I have a bit of Normandy here at home, namely calvados! A wee dram of Christian Drouin’s finest – from a family-run distillery in the Pays d’Auge – is all it takes to transport me to Normandy in what is arguably my favourite time to visit the region: autumn. Full of festivals celebrating cider, calvados, cheese and seafood, beautiful changing colours on the trees, soft autumn sunshine and orchards bearing apples and pears… I can’t wait to be back enjoying it all again.
Rachel is looking forward to… Sailing on the Atlantic coast
As a lover of water and the great outdoors, I’ve been dodging lockdown tedium by taking daily walks by the river in Twickenham. There may not be anyone out sailing right now, but all the boats silently moored along the banks turn my thoughts to the Vendée Globe, which this year – provided it goes ahead – is set to include four British skippers, three of whom are female. I’m proud that it’ll be such an important event for women in sport, and for Pays de la Loire, which claims 450km of France’s Atlantic coastline and offers a plethora of fantastic watersports.
Manon is looking forward to… Soaking up festival vibes
I couldn’t talk about my French experience without mentioning the foodie and music festivals I’ve been lucky enough to go to in Paris. I’m looking forward to going back to recapture the amazing feeling of being in a crowd of excitable people, dancing, laughing and smelling the various tempting aromas coming from the food trucks. But what I miss the most is finding myself having to pick between a lovely French craft beer, or the unique Kronenbourg poured into these cups that I’ve now collected at home.