A Taste of Garlic


A new life in rural France

A Writer’s Lot in France

Reviewed – May 28, 2010

A Writer’s lot in France is Vanessa’s blog about her life near Montauban in the Tarn-et-Garonne department of the Midi-Pyrénées region of southern France.

Vanessa is (and may have been able to gather from the name of the blog) a writer. For morte details, you could take a look at her Writing website.

So, it should comer as no surprise that A Writer’s lot in France is full of well written articles that range from the helpful to the amusing.

Starting with the 2CV post!

I discovered that only one post refers to that iconic example of French engineering ingenuity, the Citroen 2CV.

Across the Sea – Those of you reading this probably know me, Kristen, a 23 year old with an English/French degree from Williams College. This fall I shipped off to Toulouse, France to teach high schoolers English (or “American” as they like to say here in Europe). I’ve started this blog to keep those of you several thousand miles away updated on my life and as a way to clear the clutter from my brain. Bon lecture alors, et gros bisous! xx

Adventures in Toulouse – Ann – I’m a lean, mean, translating machine, living in Toulouse with my French husband, Monsieur J.

An A to Z of Life in France

Reviewed – October 22, 2010

An A to Z of Life in France is Doreen’s witty and informative guide to life in France.

It’s still fairly young (it’s only been going since 9th of September) but it’ already got 28 posts and, most importantly of all, it has a detailed study of the wisest of all men, yes – a Citroen 2CV driver!

I’ll get to that bit later!

Doreen says of herself… “Little did I know when I made my first visit to France that I would end up living there. I was 14 and went with the family next door on a day trip to Boulogne. I was clutching my Post Office-issued visitor’s passport (valid one year), and it was also my first ever trip abroad. We sailed from Southend Pier on the pleasure steamer, the Royal Daffodil. Even the ice creams in Boulogne seemed exotic to me then. And as we made our way home, I knew that I would return…”

Well, return she certainly has!

Any fool can be an expat – James Irvine Robertson is an author, broadcaster, historian, humourous columnist & contributor to a wide variety of newspapers and magazines in the UK, US and Australia – After working in advertising he became a pig and dairy farmer in South West England, contributed to agricultural journals and wrote a series of comic novels – the ‘Any Fool’ series, including Any Fool Can Be A Dairy Farmer and Any Fool Can Be A Pig Farmer. He returned to Scotland in 1991 since when he has concentrated on history. This blog intends to document his move to France and a new stage in life as an expat and/or immigrant – time will tell.

Bits and Bob’s Show ‘n Tell – The blog is a ragbag of ideas, musings, insights, warnings (teenage children) advice (ditto) – yes i’m a dad – questions, fun and love – yes i’m married. It’s all in here, more besides. There’s a section -“Did i miss anything?” – a place to start for a quick tour, alternatively sit back, dive in. Everything Red is a link – click and set off on a journey. There’s a list of bloggers who have dropped in become part of it all; you can follow their name as it links to their own, excellent blogs. If you visit for two seconds or two years, leave a comment, say hello, become a friend. Thanks for visiting Chris x

Blog at Bardies

Caroline and Perry in France

Reviewed – December 1, 2009

Caroline and Perry left Amsterdam in March 2004 to start a new life in South West France.

This site is their way of keeping friends and family up to date on their progress.

Caroline is Dutch and was born in Amsterdam in 1965. She grew up in Abcoude and preferably spent her summer holidays helping out on a nearby farm.

Perry is English and was born in Oxford in 1958. He went to art school in London and designed everything from wine labels and theatre posters to record covers and soap packaging. From there, he went into advertising as an Art Director. Working in several agencies including TBWA in London. In 1991, Perry saw an opportunity to transfer to their Amsterdam office and grabbed it with both hands. This was followed by several years as a freelance art director, often travelling on photo shoots around southern Europe, mostly in France.

Chez Rigsby – Moving to, and living in the Ariege region of France

Dents de Lait

Reviewed – August 12, 2010

I find it hard to believe that I’ve only just got round to reviewing Dents de Lait.

In fact, I had to check (twice) to make sure that I hadn’t already done so.

It’s another one of those blogs that I seem to have grown up with and, if even if I don’t read it every day, I’ve certainly checked in at least once a month since I started blogging myself, way back in 2006.

In a way, Dents de Lait should be classified as a Paris blog as most of the action takes places there.

But, I’ve put it in the Midi-Pyrénées section because that’s where Aralena now lives with her French hubby and baby (in Toulouse, to be exact.)

So, who is Aralena and what is she doing in France?

Well, she does admit to being Mama Grrrrrrizzly sometimes!

Diary of a Malaysian mom in France – This blog tells of Roni’s ups and downs of everyday life as she adjusts to being a full time mom in France,struggling with the french language and driving on the other side of the road!


France – For Better or Worse – Life in the Midi Pyreness

France and the Unknown

Reviewed – May 1, 2010

It was with a bit of trepidation that I approached France and the Unknown.

You see, I’ve never been shy about my eating habits; basically… if it moves, I’ll eat it; if it recently moved but is a bit still now, I’ll still eat it and even if it was always a bit non-moving, I’ll probably eat it anyway! Apart, that is, from fish fingers! I do not, under any circumstances, eat fish fingers!

And I have been known to enjoy the odd glass of wine (and some of the glasses of wine that I’ve drunk, purely in the purposes of research, you understand, have been pretty damn odd!) and the occasional Ricard!

Frances Penwill-Cook, on the other hand describes herself as… “I’m a teetotal, vegan girl (apart from eating my own chickens’ eggs)” – would we get on?

French Fingers

Reviewed – November 26, 2010

French Fingers is the blog of Fingers who explains that he is… “A working Brit with a young family in the south of France. No car, no mobile phone and no time off during school holidays. After visiting ninety-odd countries, no desire to live anywhere else at the moment, either.”

Now, the blog hasn’t been updated for a while but I’m going to review it anyway in the hope that someone will tell Fingers and that, as a result, he pulls his finger out (no pun intended) and starts updating it again.

It really is that good a blog!

French Food Focus – Welcome to French Food Focus. The name describes the intent of this blog. I’ll focus on food and because I live in rural France the stress will be upon French food. Not that I will limit myself to food only. There are numerous posts concerning life in France, comments on life in general and, certainly, opinions about anything that strikes my fancy.
I welcome your comments and promise to publish all of them good & bad so long as they’re not offensive, pornographic or rude. If you have some good recipes you’d like to share or if you want to rave about any great French restaurants this is the place to do it. I hope you enjoy my ramblings about rural France!

French Housewife

Reviewed – December 30, 2010

French Housewife is a relatively new blog that has been running since September 2010.

The blog belongs to Samantha Brick who says of herself… “I’m a 39 year old Birmingham (UK) born wife to a super traditional Frenchman. I now live in rural South-West France, where I’ve had to learn how to run a french household. Having lived in London and Los Angeles – trust me when I say life here is blissful and idyllic, but also v-e-r-y different!”

For those of you who want to know more, there is an article in the Daily Mail by Samantha which is well worth a read.

Now, how posh is that?

I was once offered an interview by the Grunthorpe and Gridlington Gazette but, when the time arrived it appeared that it was some other Keith Eckstein that they wanted to interview and I got sent home without even a cup of tea!

Once you’ve read that article, and assuming you’ve not got swept up into the ten million or so other articles by Samantha in The Daily Mail (perhaps I exaggerate ever so slightly), you really should come back to her blog to find out more about the day to day activities of a French Housewife.

French Sampler

Reviewed – April 7, 2010

You know how you sometimes come across someone else’s blog and they seem to be having such a good time that their experiences enrich and enlighten your day?

Well, French Sampler is that sort of blog for me.

Just take a look at this recent post….. Lunch in Spain or Crusoe, the chicken rustler, strikes again!

Well, what heaven it would be to be able to go to Spain for lunch knowing that your well trained dog is going to sort out a chicken for Dinner?

I wonder if Crusoe is well trained enough to pluck and season the bird?

The author of this blog, Dash, explains in some of the early posts that she met her husband, Monsieur Grognon (Mr Grumpy, in English!), about 11 years ago whilst she was living in Northern England and he was living and working in Paris.

French Vie

Reviewed – December 22, 2009

French Vie is the blog of Amanda Lawrence who lives and works in the Quercy region of France, surrounded by the vineyards of Cahors.

Amanda is the Regional Editor of the popular information site www.frenchentree-lotandquercy.com and the author of White Stone Black Wine – Life Among the Ancient Vineyards of the Quercy Blanc.

She is also a contributor to The French Paper – quality English language newspaper in France.

From 82 to 82 – Worldwide financial meltdown, house prices in freefall, collapse of the pound against the euro, share values plummeting – We have decided that despite all of the above we WILL head to France when TC eventually retires – now that is within the next 12 months.

From here to Eternity

Reviewed – December 02, 2010

You know, I was going to review a different blog today and then I read a comment on someone’s site and decided to review that commentator’s blog instead.

Sorry to the guy who missed out; I’ll get round to you sooner or later and you’ve certainly been here long enough to be used to dreadful customer service and tradesmen not turning up when they should!

So, with no further apology I’l get on and review this delightful little blog.

Gina Mastio – I’m an Australian lass with a longing for majestic trees with peeling bark… Textiles artist, clothing designer, permaculturist and world traveler who oops… fell in love and settled in France. But my longing and admiration for the Australian landscape is constantly finding expression in my unique, handmade creations. Using natural fibers and primarily natural dyes, original wearable art clothing emerges in my homage to the stunning, rugged beauty of my homeland. My aim is to create breathtaking, unique pieces that are respectful of the environment, biodegradable when finally laid to rest on or within the earth, yet will be worn and adored for many years to come. These are not one season wonders, but rather can be seen as timeless pieces of art to add to as the years pass, creating a truly unique collection of wearable art. Thus making you a true living sculpture. Gina Mastio

How to Paint Watercolour with Tarnincolour

Jack & Martine’s fun & discovery of France’s Dordogne Valley

John Goes To France: Part Two

La France Profonde

Reviewed – January 15, 2010

La France Profonde is Betty C’s blog about her life in Southwest France.

Betty is a native of Olympia, Washington and has been raising a dual nationality family and teaching English in France for 19 years.

She’s also been blogging pretty much non-stop for four years now.

To discover her blog you are best off starting with this beautiful article… Lost in Aveyron and then moving on from there.

The blog is full of interesting and attractive photographs which are complemented by considered and clever text.

La Vie en Rose – Rosie Vie is the pseudonym of Sue Smith – writing on behalf of (and in spite of) herself and Jon, her ever-patient better half.  The Smiths moved to Southwest France in 2007 following Jon’s retirement from a UK police force after 30 years of plodding, fast driving, researching and being nice to (most) members of the public. Before she, too, retired, Sue worked for Hydronix Limited in administration, marketing and as PA to two of the Directors.  Newcomers to DIY and garden design, they are currently working at redecorating, loft conversion and creating a garden out of a blank canvas.  Three beautiful Maine Coon cats accompanied them from England, but sadly one of them walked out one day and didn’t return. The two remaining cats, Figaro and Misty Blue are constant companions, full of love and mischief.

Le Pechoir des Paons – The perfect location in the Lot region of SW France for a relaxing break. Susie and Mike offer B&B, home cooked evening meals, Art Holidays and lots more!! To contact us email: mike.susie@wanadoo.fr or see our website for more details: http://www.leperchoirdespaons.com

Les aventures d’une fille américaine en france – I’m an American starting my second year of life in France as an English teacher, having just made the move from Metz to Toulouse. I’ve discovered the abundant joy, pain, excitement, catastrophes, miracles, lessons learned, and everything in between, and will surely encounter more. One thing is certain, whether I live in the Northeast or the Southwest corners of this magnificent country, France has forever changed my life.

Les poissons en France – Rosie Vie is the pseudonym of Sue Smith – writing on behalf of (and in spite of) herself and Jon, her ever-patient better half.  The Smiths moved to Southwest France in 2007 following Jon’s retirement from a UK police force after 30 years of plodding, fast driving, researching and being nice to (most) members of the public. Before she, too, retired, Sue worked for Hydronix Limited in administration, marketing and as PA to two of the Directors.

Life in Laroque – Six years ago, we – husband Malcolm and I – bought a house in Laroque d’Olmes, in the Ariège. And about 2 years ago, we started to spend nearly all our time here.

Life in The Deep South of France

Reviewed – June 4, 2010

Anyone who starts her blog with an article about Lardons and Croutons has got to be a pretty decent person in my book!

To follow that up with posts on Cascades, Pork Chops and Peperonata and Precisely Planned Chutney and Impromptu Duck Confit before finishing at The Friday Night Market in Léran shows pure genius.

Or have I just found a blog by someone who is as much of a piggy as me?

Living in Paradis

Reviewed – December 28, 2009

Living in Paradis is the blog of Olga Swan who lives in Tarn et Garonne. The blog, going since August 2008, details life in the South of France from the perspective of someone who makes no pretence that she is the pensionable part of her life.

There are interesting posts that range from Thierry Henri, Jeremy Clarkson to local markets to Susan Boyle (who ever she is) back to local markets again.

And… pretty much everything in between!

I certainly hope I’m as active as Olga when I’m drawing my pension – I’m just a little bit worried that I’m not even that active now and I’m 20 years away from drawing my pension!

Olga has written a number of books, two of which stand out as being of interest to readers of this site.

Magali’s Adventures in Toulouse – Bilingual blog

Mud Walls & Beams – Welcome to my blog. I never realised what a time waster belonging to this “blogging” community could be… I love seeing what people in this virtual craft world create and some are so generous and show us how to make things too! We are currently living out our dream of living in France renovating an old farmhouse and loving every minute of it.

Notre Vie Juteuse

Reviewed – December 24, 2009

Notre Vie Juteuse is a blog that I came across a while back and enjoyed reading.

I didn’t review it because, at the time, it appeared that Alisa and her husband, Bruce had moved back to the States.

They had but…

They’ve now returned to France!

Pissou in the French Pyrenees

Pyrénées adventure – I left the UK to live permanently in the Couserans Pyrénées in summer 2006. Having renovated my cottage at ‘Quélébu’ I am now enjoying spending more time living in the mountains, trying to be self-sufficiency, and learning to speak better French.

Quercy Chronicles – Quercy Chronicles recounts the ongoing adventures of novelist Gregory Mose living with his wife and son in the Quercy, a very quiet rural corner of Southwest France. For more about me or my award-winning novel Stunt Road, please visit my website www.gregorymose.com. I also run a property finding business here in the southwest, so if you’re intrigued by the thought of buying  a house in the area, please see my property site at www.paysdocproperty.com.

Raison d’Art

Random Ramblings

Reviewed – Spetember 30, 2010

Random Ramblings is Kat’s blog about her life in Gers in the Midi-Pyrénées.

And this is what she has to say about herself… “I’m a single mother, living in SW France. I love photography and cooking, and would love in some way to combine the two skills! My blogs are really to share some of my recipes, some of my experiences, and some of my opinions on the places I’ve been to and the place where I live!”

Now, I do have to say that Kat is back in the UK at the moment.

Whether that is just for now or whether it is for good, I don’t know?

Signed by Ange

Reviewed – April 14, 2010

Living in the Toulouse countryside, we find Ange, an artist who describes herself as …. “One of those active/creative types who can’t stand just dreaming about things that could be but who would rather be out making them happen! Artiste, Maman … un mot d’encouragement qui arrive sur une aile d’ange…”

I think that fairly sums up the owner of Signed by Ange.

I’ve been trying to review this site for the last two weeks; it’s been difficult!

Where to start, where to finish and, what to say in the middle?

Slow Living in the French Pyrénées

Reviewed – July 21, 2010

It’s quite apt that I’m reviewing Slow Living in the French Pyrénées as I am in the process of reading Labyrinth by Kate Mosse which is partly set in the same area.

Slow Living in the French Pyrénées is Kalba Meadows’ blog and she says of herself that she is… “a lover of life, food, wine, France, mountains, walking, wildlife, growing things, cooking, writing, people, laughter, dancing, singing, contemplation, authenticity; person-centred therapist, searcher, one time restaurateur. In 2007 I moved with my partner John to Grillou, in the foothills of the Pyrénées in Ariège. We’ve come here to live more slowly and more simply, to find time, space and balance, and to share this magical place from time to time with like-minded others.”

A bit of a change from me? I moved here for the charcuterie!

Snippets from our Smallholding

Reviewed – December 14, 2009

Snippets from our smallholding in France is Vera’s often funny story of a couple’s smallholding in the Hautes-Pyrénées.

Vera describes herself as psychically well endowed, fledgling writer, apprentice smallholder, novice at French language, skilled at caravan life, seriously earnest about living life in SW France.

As Vera explains, the blog describes her adventures and experiences (with her husband) as she copes with: learning to be self sufficient, trying to speak at least two French words in a row with the local people, remaining patient with the process of trying to rescue their ruin of a home, and generally adapting to a completely different lifestyle to the one she had in the UK.

Soar Dream France

Reviewed – May 17, 2010

Soar-Dream-France is the blog of Laury Bourgeois.

Laury is, to use her own words…. “a social worker by profession, born in England, raised in St. Louis, lived in New Orleans for the last 30 years, but now makes her home in the Lot Valley in the Midi-Pyrennes Region of Southern France.”

She lists her interests as… “gardening, hiking, playing piano, bike riding, reading, cooking and photography.”

So, with a background like that is it any wonder that I found her blog full of interesting and enjoyable posts?

St. Céré Blog – Saint Céré is a small market town in the Lot (département 46), in the Midi-Pyrénées region of South West France. Phew. Quite a description. Let’s put it this way… I am deep, deep inside France profonde, about as far away from either of the big ponds (Atlantic and Mediteranean) as you can get and a long, long way from the hustle and bustle of London town, I can tell you!

The Tramizal Diary

Reviewed – January 3, 2010

The Tramizal Diary is artist Catherine Stock’s blog where she manages to entertain with tales from her life teaching art, living the life in South West France and generally exploring what sounds to me, to be a very interesting part of France.

As Catherine explains… “I gave up New York in early 2005 to see if I could live happily year round in a small village in southwest France. I hoped, by getting away from the constant bombardment of big city distractions, to be able to focus on my own creative work. I see this blog as a bit of a record of this time in my life.”

The painting courses that Catherine runs are detailed at this website… http://catherinestock.com from where I gleaned these details…” Rignac is a working village with small farms: cows and sheep clog the roads on their way to grazing each morning and evening. The landscape of Quercy is green with gently rolling hills- perfect for hiking and bicycling. It is a lovely area for watercolorists from daubers to professionals. “

Toutes Directions

Troc, Broc and Recup’

Tarte Tartan – Scottish, single mother and cake baker discovers life in rural france can be as sticky as it is sweet.

Up Stix to France – We’re moving! from ireland via sussex to castres struggling to work & finish our cottage renovation. me, the husband & dog learning french & html, running a dance music website and preparing for our new life running a B&B in the sunny midi-pyrenees!

When in France

If you know of any other blogs from English speaking expats living in the Midi-Pyrénées, please let me know and I’ll add them to this page.

And if you decide to visit any of the blogs shown on this page, why not leave a comment and say hello? It can sometimes be a lonely business (or, rather, hobby) being a blogger and an unexpected comment or email can really put a sparkle on the day!

All the best

 Midi Pyrénées   because we all love reading blogs about life in France


  • By Laury Bourgeois, September 4, 2011 @ 6:30 am

    Hey Keith-thanks again for including me…my friend Evelyn Jackson is on her way back to Cadrieu at the end of September. She has managed the nasty foray of getting her long term visa and will be renting the little train house down the road from me. She’s already blogged quite a bit about here while she was house-sitting and taking care of Dal and Sam for me when I was going off to work…but she’s full-time France starting the end of September…her blog is http://www.melangedmagic.blogspot.com (I think!)Hope all is well with you-Take care-Laury

  • By Val Johnstone, October 7, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    Hello Keith

    Our blog is not the traditional account of our experiences in France, but a popular meeting place for news, views and things for sale in our part of midi pyrenees, the corner that joins Tarn, Aveyron and Tarn & Garonne (hence TAG).
    Could you please add it to the regional list for those readers who may find it useful and interesting.

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