Posted by: Carolyn ODonnell | February 4, 2016

Baby, there’s cheese outside

Countries where I’ve previously done Christmas include Italy, South Africa and Nepal, but now I can add France and its transformational dairy to the list.

It was cold (even in the south), but there was so much amazing cheese – enough to clog my arteries till the end of time – that I didn’t care. There was also incredible paté on offer, and palate-caressing dessert wine at the village supermarché for tres petit €4 a bottle. I had forgotten how intensely satisfying even simple French food could be. It was a like a dream – for the first couple of days after I arrived paté and wine were thrust at me from all directions (and totally in a good way).


Accommodation was a gracious Provencal semi-chateau (above), surrounded by vineyards and also occupied by various beasts: dogs, a cat, a mud-covered horse and some chickens. I had to come to grips with driving on the other side of the road, but as the car was the only way of reaching the site where all the cheese had congregated, it had to be done.


So much cheese …

Among the triumphs of this visit were driving to St Tropez, not getting mugged in Marseille, and a conversation at a bus stop. Information was exchanged! I said something in French, a French person understood, replied and I actually processed in a meaningful way what they said back. I felt a bit like Helen Keller with her hand under that tap realising the possibilities of communication.

grubby horse

One day, when it stops raining, the body of this horse will be the same colour as its head

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