Joyeux Noel!                                    December 2011
in this issue
Les Santons
Article Headline
Recipe: Pain aux Abricot
Book: Courage & Croissant
 Les Santons de Provence 

Les santons de Provence 


Les santons (or "little saints") of Provence are reminiscent of a time when the making of a gift was a labor of love. This Christmas creche was made by Daniel Scaturro. You may enjoy learning more in an article by France Today which begins like this: 

In Provence the holiday season belongs to the colorful world of santons-santous or santoùos in Provençal, "little saints" to the rest of us. A wrinkle, the shining dot of an eye, a graceful pose, the tilting of a hat, a lace bonnet, a weary back stooped by toil and age, a smile of contentment, an ample fold in a garment-since these clay figurines are often no bigger than Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina, you will not be surprised that 85% of the cost goes to labor, a far cry from the modern mass-production Christmas industry. The making of a santon is a labor of love. 


Best Christmas Markets in France

Two years ago (December 2009), I was fortunate enough to travel to both to the south of France and to Todi, Italy at Christmastime. The air was crisp, I picked up a favorite blue wool coat and matching scarf to wear home, and enjoyed meandering through the market of Avignon, so close to four of our home shares in France; le Muguet- a 2 bedroom,2 bath remodeled monastery near Avignon, Catalonia, which overlooks the blue Mediterranean and coast of Spain, Maison Bleue- a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home in bustling Quarante, and Crazy for Cruzy-our spacious 3 bedroom/3 bath home completely remodeled by an architect.


Much as you might imagine, chestnuts were roasting, the lights and sounds of the market were vibrant, and shoppers stopped to 'ooh' and 'aah' over this gift or that. Perhaps next year you can enjoy a month's stay at your own home away from home in the Languedoc (or soon in Umbria!) and treat yourself to a merry little Christmas stay!   Click here for Best Christmas Markets in France...

Pain aux abricots
Pain aux abricots

 Abricot Bread Recipe


Where have I been all these years?? Thanks to a more "with it" client of mine, I was recently introduced to a website,  www.poilane.fr where one of the cutest interactive ways to order your weekly French  bread exists.  Especially if you want this delivered fresh from the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France...


Below I've included one of Poilane's holiday bread recipes. You'll either love me or hate me for making you wander your way through the entire process in French. So sad! Seriously, if you ever truly desire to live in France (in your own place or in one FPS home shares) you'll thank me for this exercise in French. Feel free to call me if you get in a pinch: Ginny- 585 905-0849.


o 500g abricots secs ou demi-secs
o 500g farine de blé
o 15g levure fraîche ou 7g levure sèche à diluer dans un petit verre d'eau
o 10g sel
o 30cl eau tiède (25-30°C)
o 1 terrine
o 1 moule
o 1 linge de coton 


   1. Mélanger la farine et la levure dans un grand bol ou sur un marbre. Ajouter l'eau puis le sel et enfin les abricots.

   2. Créer une boule de pâte. Laisser reposer dans un bol recouvert d'un linge de coton pendant 1h30 à 2 heures.

   3. Donner forme à votre boule de pâte : une tresse, une miche, ou une couronne. Laisser reposer votre création pendant 1h30 à 2 heures.

   4. Scarifier (signer) votre pain à l'aide d'un couteau aiguisé. Cuire pendant 45-60min dans un four chauffé à 200/220°C ou thermostat 7.

Courage & Croissants-  by Suzanne & Jean Saxe-Roux



I got a sweet phone call from  Anna Marie, a co-owner of le Muguet,  asking whether I had read the book "Courage & Croissants".  She said she enjoyed it immensely.   After googling the title and  reading the passage below, I knew I would definitely buy a copy. After all, the parallels between our two family stories were striking; packing our 3 Blackwell sons, their luggage and our lives into a jet plane and heading to a small French village for one adventuresome year in 2003.


"Courage and Croissants begins with the couple's search for balance, and clarity in a hectic modern world. Reeling from the stress of life as a dual career couple with a young daughter, they decided to give up a life that was full of status but lacking in sanity. They left the housecleaner and gardener behind, along with the SUVs, moving instead to a small village in the South of France. They would take time to live simply, reassess, learn and grow as a family, be invigorated for the next phase of life and learn from the French what Joie de Vivre really looks like."


More on my thoughts after reading Courage &Croissants  in the January newsletter! (Now, why didn't I write that book??) 

Quick Links...
News flash!   At last, a place to call home in Umbria- In 2012 you'll find details of Casa Leone LLC, our home share in Italy!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Learn how Karen & Marian rise to the call and become International Property Shares defacto Italy House Hunters in October 2011.


Please note: One more lucky reader can become #2 owner in Casa Leone ($63900/4 week owner share) and actually spend SIX FULL weeks in Italy in 2012. Interested?

Contact Information
Ginny Blackwell   phone: (001) 585 905-0849 email: fpshares@gmail.com