Especially if you’re in France! May starts with a Bank Holiday and there are several more to follow. On May 1st there is the celebration of not only Labour Day (La Fête du Travail) but also La Fête du Muguet. This translates as Lily of the Valley Day.
I have written about these celebrations before!
The next Bank Holiday takes place on the 8th May and is to commemorate the end of World War II in France. It is known as ‘La Fête de la Victoire’ and is celebrated with parades and religious ceremonies. Traditionally, the French president lays a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and lights the flame at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I was quite surprised that our local supermarket had a ‘special’ opening on that day.
The final Bank Holiday is on the 25th May; Ascension Day which falls on a Thursday. As a result, many people take a day of their annual leave on the Friday to be able to take a four-day weekend. This is known as a ‘pont’ or a bridge. It is quite usual to hear the phrase ‘faire le pont’.
And, then there’s Eurovision! No Bank Holiday for this, of course, but all part of the May madness. I did watch it when we were here last year as I wanted to see what it would be like without Graham Norton. This year I managed to
avoid miss the contest somehow. I must admit that I do like the French entry which came twelfth. It’s by a singer called Alma and the title is ‘Requiem’ . This video of the song is worth watching for the background shots of Paris:
Are you a Eurovision fan? I’d love to know…
Well, not me personally! Although some of my family and friends have commented on my current to-ing and fro-ing between the UK and France and some of them are surprised that I’m not in more of a spin.
I’m actually talking about the series ‘Spin’ or ‘Les Hommes de l’Ombre’.
Here, in the UK, the third series is currently been shown on More4. I love this programme! We don’t tend to watch much television, when we’re in France. If we do, we tend to watch more films.
Generally, I watch a lot of thrillers: Line of Duty, Broadchurch, Unforgotten, the Killing, the Bridge. I’m sure you get the idea!
However, Spin is something different; a political drama – very topical, as it turns out.
The cast has been brilliant. The first series included Nathalie Baye, one of my favourite French actors. The second and third series has Carole Bouquet but two of the main characters are the Spin doctors themselves, who have appeared in all three series.
They are played by Bruno Wolkowitch and
You may recognise him from the series ‘Mr Selfridge’, a programme I have never seen.
Unfortunately, the current series is the final one. Perhaps someone can recommend another French series I could enjoy? Have any of my readers also watched ‘Spin’ ? I’d love to know!
It is no secret as to how much I love an aperitif! It’s such a lovely precursor to a delicious meal. For me, sitting outside a café, in the sunshine, enjoying a Kir Royal is bliss!
Several of my blog posts have already focused on this quintessentially French tradition.
However, I was surprised to discover recently that there is a ‘Fédération Française de l’apéritif ‘.
It is situated in Paris and has its own Facebook page. Here’s a link if you want to find out more:
I must admit I ‘liked’ their page and their recent post concerning the Paris marathon bought a smile to my face. Europe 1 interviewed Christine, a seventy-eight year old marathon runner, who enjoys an aperitif, every evening! If you speak French and want to hear her interview, here’s the link (although I’m not sure about the smoking…)
What about you? Do you enjoy an aperitif? If yes, I’d love to know which one!
One of the things I have always loved the most about France is the language. I feel as if I morph into a different person when I’m speaking French. I wonder if everybody feels like this… I wonder if it’s the same for other languages…I’m guessing: yes!
Anyhow, we’re now back in Castelnaudary and on this occasion decided to drive down. We caught the ferry from Newhaven and broke our long journey south by staying in a hotel outside of Tours. It was an unremarkable hotel, one of a chain, but ideal if you just want somewhere to lay your head that is clean and comfortable. However, the staff were exceptionally accommodating and friendly.
At breakfast this caught my eye:
It wasn’t the coffee machine that intrigued me, although it did produce surprisingly decent coffee. It was the expression ‘nuage de lait’ which I’ve never noticed before, perhaps because I always drink my coffee black!
I’ve known about a ‘larme de lait’ – a tear 💧 drop of milk but this is the my first experience of a ‘cloud of milk’. What a charming expression!
All kinds of images came into my head:
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Photos courtesy of
I’m afraid I can’t credit for the two photos above. They are from freeimages.com The cloud was taken by Kimberley V and the coffee by se hui (Shirley) Kim.
Do you come across phrases that really catch your attention and charm you?
Please share if you do!
I am linking this post with #AllAboutFrance
I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in France, over the years, and in lots of different places. My first ever trip was to Paris and I’ve returned countless times since. I spent a year in Tours, as a student and a year in Metz as a teacher. I’ve spent months in Grenoble and Angers, on courses. As a family, we’ve visited Brittany, Limousin. les Landes, Charentes and that’s just for starters!
So, why Castelnaudary to buy our home? Even my husband has asked me this question! It’s quite difficult to put a feeling into words … the Canal du Midi, the location – between Toulouse and Carcassone – a sense of the ‘real’ France and much, much more…
Why did you chose your home in France? Or anywhere else? Was it heart or head that influenced your decision? I’d love to know.
It’s been a little while since I lasted posted; partly because we’ve been back in the UK for Christmas, New Year, and various family birthdays – and dog sitting!
Also, I’ve been totally poleaxed by what has been happening in the world. First Brexit and now Trump ! I voted to stay in the E.U. which now, apparently, makes me a Remoaner. Fine, I don’t see why should I keep quiet, surely that’s the point of freedom of speech? And don’t get me started on Trump – no, seriously don’t get me started. There are not enough words to say how much I deplore everything he stands for. Rant over…
I’ve been reflecting over the many aspects of France I have been missing and I have decided to share these in photos.
What would you miss the most? I’d love to know.