A Taste of Garlic


A Landscape Selected at Random – I moved to France in 2006 as an English language assistant in Lorraine, stayed in 2007 as a lectrice in Champagne, went home to do my masters degree at UT Austin, and then came back in 2009 as a maitre de langue in Poitou-Charentes. I currently live in Poitiers, teach at an engineering school, and am preparing for the CAFEP in 2011.

A Little Drop of Cognac

Reviewed – December 2, 2010

A Little Drop of Cognac is Graham Downie’s blog. Graham is a property professional with over 20 years experience with Savills & Chesterton and who has lived in Cognac since 2003.

Although many of the posts are to do with buying and selling property, this really is a personal blog as entries such as… French Schooling, Thumbs up for a French Christmas and Felicity Kendall eat your heart out will attest.

However, Graham does offer plenty of free advice on property matters on this blog and these articles are interesting, even to me (and I’m not looking to buy any time soon.)

The other posts cover such diverse matters as… How not to earn a living, Living in France, the reality and Now, that’s what I call a party!

A Night on the Tiles

Reviewed – December 26, 2009

A Night on the Tiles is Stewart Paterson’s blog about working in a tile factory.

Because he hasn’t updated it for a few months, I wouldn’t normally include on A Taste of Garlic but…. having myself spent 600 years working in a Pig Abattoir (was it only 6 years – it seemed an awful lot longer!)

I felt that I had to let people know that sometimes there is more to living in France than sipping Pastis outside a sunny restored farmhouse overlooking the lavender fields.

Now, I do have to warn you that some of Mr Paterson’s posts contain rude words – please forgive him and try to bear in mind that he does work in a tile factory!

An American in Angoulême – DREADPIRATEMEGAN – I’m an Assistante de langue in Angoulême, France, teaching primary school for 7 months – basically, trying to teach little ones that “how are you” and “how old are you” are 2 different things. I’m also a cultural ambassador, which means I try to teach “that’s what she said” to as many people as possible. When appropriate. Other goals include eating a lot of goat cheese, trying to pronounce “myrtille” correctly, and looking for a French pop singer to marry. Stay tuned!

An American in Poitiers – You couldn’t get more American than me 17 years ago. A baseball fan and former cheerleader who had never visited a foreign country, I would never have imagined I’d end up moving to one. So how did I end up in France? I fell in love.

An Englishman and his Castle – Renovating a medieval castle in France

An ‘Old Biddie’s’ Life

Reviewed – February 20, 2010

An ‘Old Biddies’ Life is Trisha’s account of her life running a Bed and Breakfast in Deux Sèvres (more details here… La Tranchardière) and downsizing at the end of it all.

Trisha says that she’s been married forever to the same man, is mother to 3 lovely daughters and grandmother to 4 delightful grandsons and 3 beautiful granddaughters.

Trisha blogs about the weather, good or otherwise, a fair bit…

Ancienne Boulangerie Restoration

Anji Patchwork

Reviewed – May 16, 2010

Anji Patchwork is a blog that has been going since the beginning of time.

Well, since the beginning of the internet anyway.

Well, to be absolutely precise, it’s been going since 2003 but, that is a very very long time in blogging terms.

What gives this blog that enduring quality?

Well, Anji is based in La Rochelle and does something with vintage postcards (actually, she is a professional power seller on ebay, whatever that is – I’ve yet to be let loose on ebay and she and her husband have made over 5400 sales and have 2000 postcards on display!)

Baguettes and Roses

Reviewed – January 14, 2010

Baguettes and Roses is the blog of Katie Anderson who introduces herself in the following way… “I’m Katie Anderson and I moved to France in 2004 after working as a broadcaster for the BBC.

One thing I discovered is that living in Poitou Charentes isn’t all about basking in the sun and eating baguettes.

My blog is all about my life broadcasting, podcasting, writing, running a busy restaurant and seeking out gorgeous designs for my Vintage Homeware business.”

Now, I haven’t got the faintest idea how I stumbled on this blog but I’m certainly glad I did.

I determined to review as soon as I read the first post, Vintage Clothing treasure hunt from January 2010, where Katie describes “people fighting over Johnny Halliday records!”

How could I not review this blog?

A very thoughtful post about A wise man (with a poem) convinced me!

Becoming Niortaise – A young Australian teacher gradually finds her feet in the French town of Niort, slowing becoming une Niortaise with her French fiancé, le Niortais – last post (13/09/10) said…Time to Say Goodbye To France. To the life I’ve been building here for the last few years. It’s time to go home, alone. For a little while things hadn’t been working out for leniortais and I. He, panicked about getting married among other things, me getting anxious about living here and not finding work (ie. purpose ie. for a workaholic). So Saturday I’m heading home to Brisbane, back to mum and dad’s. I’ll try to get work and just cruise along back home for a while and see how things go.

Bees in France


Reviewed – March 24, 2010

Having spent far too much time in Paris recently (purely in an electronic sense), I decided to head out to pastures new.

I ended up in Poitou-Charentes at the lovely blog known as Bellebouche!

Bellebouche tells the ongoing tale of restoring an 1850′s farmhouse that was first spotted on a hot, sunny day in September 2004.

According to Adrian and Joan, it…. “looked like a great place that was in need of some TLC. Bits of it were more derelict than they looked, other parts less so.”

Boris in Cognac

Reviewed – January 12, 2010

Boris in Cognac is a strange blog in that it is written by Boris (who else), who happens to be a six year old Old English Sheepdog!

For a six year old, he certainly writes well!

I do have a sneaking suspicion that some of the posts are written by his owners (Clive and Craig) but I’m sure that Boris had editorial control!

The reason I say this is because of some of the posts, such as…. An Irish Prostitute – not really doggy sense of humour, is it?

I’ve asked permission to interview Boris for A Taste of Garlic and, once I’ve worked out what sort of questions are suitable for a six year old dog (I don’t know how that equates to people-years and don’t want to ask anything too old for him), I’ll publish the interview here.

Charente Birding

Diary Of Amy Rigby

Equine Rescue France

Reviewed – January 17, 2010

Reviewed – May 25, 2010

Equine Rescue France is the blog of ERF, a not-for-profit association created by like-minded individuals in the West of France who are all passionate about welfare in both the short and long term, and are working to promote the well-being of equines in France.

I’ve got to warn you, at times the blog can be a bit upsetting – I can’t believe that people would abandon their horses and donkeys and am glad that there are people about to sort out the mess afterwards.

I’m pretty sure that I’m going to ask the people behind ERF for an interview – their project just seems such a worthwhile thing to do.

Rather than ask my own silly questions, I’ll probably throw open the questions to all the visitors to A Taste of Garlic so that you can ask your, probably less silly, questions too.

Ex ‘Expat’ now in France – Having worked overseas for the past few years, it’s now time to ‘chill-out’ for a while.

farming-frenchstyle – I am an English woman, married to an Englishman, and we are farming in France. I have three children, the oldest of which is 20, one of 19 and the youngest 18. Yes, very close together! We have been in France for 11 years and the find the way of life v

Haddock in the Kitchen

Reviewed – May 20, 2010

Haddock in the Kitchen is a blog that I’ve been following for a long, long time now.

I also follow Helen on Facebook (and one day I’ll work out how to use Facebook properly!)

The author of Haddock in the Kitchen is Helen Aurelius-Haddock who, according to her about page….

“lives in France. I moved here in 2004. Our home is in the Poitou Charentes. I wear many hats – wife, mother, teacher, renovator of old houses, and more recently , blogger and writer. I have wanted to write for some time and blogging has allowed me the accessibility to writing I was looking for. Having a laptop in the corner of my kitchen helps as well. My master plan was to write . I do that, here and other places too. I want to write a book about my experiences here, as I have a story worth telling to others.”

Helen also writes for Flavour Magazine, French Property News, Haddock’s Daily on Twitter, The Connexion and The Daily Telegraph.

A busy girl, eh? But it is Haddock in the Kitchen that I am about to review.

So, bib on, belt loosened… let’s tuck in!

Home in the Charente

Live in the Charente

London to La Rochelle

My Life in the Charente

Reviewed – May 26, 2010

My Life in the Charente is Diane’s blog.

Diane says that “At the moment I live in France for the summer and in the UK for winter. As soon as my husband retires then France will become our permanent residence. Meanwhile he takes as many holidays as possible to join me during the summer. Before this I lived for many years in what was Rhodesia and then South Africa.”

My Life in the Charente is a blog that was bound to come to my attention with posts like Old Vehicles, Two and Four Wheels.

I counted 17 2CVs – there may have been more but, by the time I got in to double figures, I was so excited that I may have missed a few!

My Photo Blog

Reviewed – December 15, 2009

My Photo Blog is the (wait for it….) photo blog of La Spice.

La Spice lives in the Poitou-Charentes region of France and takes photos that somehow sum up much of the experience of living in France.

Whether she’s taking photos of sunsets or bumble bees, La Spice seems to get the ambiance just right.

I think that my favourite photos are these two at… Still Waters but it really was a very difficult decision to make – too many great photos, too little time!

No damn blog – A pot pourri of observations and opinions

Notes from the OPOL family – Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert – France – Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert is British and married to a Frenchman. The family lives in the Poitou-Charentes region with their three more-or-less bilingual children, aged 12, 10 and 6. Suzanne has a Masters in Education and teaches English as a second language. She also independently researches family bilingualism and multilingualism. Suzanne is on the Editorial board of The Bilingual Family Newsletter and writes a quarterly column: ‘Notes from the OPOL Family’ and writes about bilingualism/language for ‘The Connexion’ newspaper. Suzanne is the author of ‘Language Strategies for Bilingual Families – the one parent-one language approach.’ (Multilingual Matters, 2004) and is currently working on a book about siblings and bilingualism.

Prunings from the Vines

Reviewed – June 7, 2010

Prunings from the Vines is Andy’s blog about his life in the Cognac area of the Charente.

I say that you can always tell the man from photos taken of him in the 70′s.

In Wish you were here we get to learn a bit more about Andy.

Groovy sandals, Man! Groovy beard!

He’s a bit of an old Rocker, isn’t he?

It’s obvious that Andy used to (and probably still does) like a bit of music.

Now, whilst I’m firmly an Elgar, Mozart and The Nolan Sisters man, I do like to wave my bald spot in time to some more modern music!

Still Learning

Tout Sweet

Reviewed – January 2, 2010

Reviewed – May 3, 2010

I knew I was going to like this blog. How could anyone not like a blog a that starts with the words… “OH DEAR GOD, what have I done?”

tout sweet is the blog of Karen Wheeler.

Karen describes herself as … “the former Fashion Editor of a well-known British newspaper – now a freelance fashion and beauty writer, living in a small and unfashionable French village in the Poitou-Charente.”

As well as the opening sentence, I also got the feeling that I was going to enjoy tout sweet when I read articles such as… serial killer, how to keep a minx and bell bottoms!

Village de Vaux

Yarns from a barn in France – I live in France with my husband who works in construction and renovation. I work from home as an internet researcher and freelance writer. I have two grown up sons; they each have lovely wives and between them have provided me with three gorgeous grandchildren, a boy aged 10, and two girls, one aged 7 and one who has just had her first birthday. This little one also has a brother or sister due in March! I am part of an online knitting group which makes items for all sorts of charities, from preemie babies to animal rescue centres. Details of our group – and all the relevant info for anyone who wants to join us – is in this blog.

If you know of any other blogs from English speaking expats living in Poitou-Charentes, 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

 Poitou Charentes   because we all love reading blogs about life in France

1 Comment

  • By Iain, April 9, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

    Hi, A nice blogsite resource. Many thanks, full of interesting info and people.

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