FrenchDuck’s turn to do the Blog Carnival of France a round-up of latest postings on and about France this week, which I hope will help you to find some gems amongst the blogs and web offerings “a la francaise”.
Being marooned in the English Midlands for most of the summer, I look forward to my regular “fix” of France, and one of the best is Julian Merrow Smith’s Postcard from Provence – every day a new picture, usually a landscape or a still life capturing the essence of rural Provence.
A little less consistent, but always interesting is the French section of TrekEarth where some excellent photos from all corners of France can be found.
My background is in French wine, so I am always seeking interesting wine sites, and the most enjoyable and innovative I have come across is the video blog of the amiable Benoit Tarlant at Champagne Tarlant. Using podcast and video he provides a fascinating insight into the process of making Champagne (all in French though) – and certainly demolishes the rather pompous image of many Champagne makers.
For something in English, the Kitcheners at Domaine de Lauroux keep a vineyard diary as they develop a vineyard in deepest Gascony – most recently collaborating with an Australian wine maker.
WIth many Brits soon to depart for French destinations This French Life has some useful tips for driving in France, taking account of the tougher approach of the gendarmerie in recent years, whilst those already living in (or planning to live in) the Languedoc can find everything they need to know at Creme-de-Languedoc where you can also find out about local events such as the Montpellier Dance Festival which is currently running.
For travel to and within France, I do find the ViaMichelin website really useful, as it calculates your route, notes any problems you will find en-route with road works etc on the day chosen – and even provides details of the locations of speed cameras!!
Whilst we go Wimbledon crazy in the UK, the French go Tour de France crazy for the first 3 weeks of July, and for a non-French slant on the race plus all the latest updates on the teams, politics, drug scandals etc see the TDFBlog. On France for Visitors Kelby Carr has lots of info on the tour – and you can vote for the 2006 Tour city you would most want to visit from the choice of Paris, Strasbourg, Bordeaux. Carcassonne. Beziers or Pau – I voted for Carcassonne which is simply unique and spectacular – is in the warm south, has wines (Minervois, Corbieres, Limoux, Cotes de Malepere, history (lots of Cathar links locally), the Canal du Midi and is quintessentially French!
I recently had ocassion to provide an updated translation of a French wine website, but the vigneronne and I both agreed that her English and my French were about the same level of amateur competence. Hence, I was dellighted to come across French-Word-a-Day which is much better than it sounds, as it is essentially a French cafe blog (with some good authentic photos of French life) and some gentle help with French vocabulary and verbs – written in a lively style by Arizonan Kristin Espinasse – entertaining and instructive. Hence, I now discover (rather disappointingly) that the “boudoir” is better translated as a “pouting” or “sulking” room than some exotic female lair!
This is part of the Blog Carnival of France.