Coronavirus: how are the Complete France team keeping their love of France alive under lockdown?


Find out what the team behind are missing about France, their favourite places and the French activities they’ve been doing at home under the coronavirus lockdown

Karen Tait, Group Editor

Favourite place: It’s impossible to pick just one place but one of my favourites is Annecy – the turquoise lake with its mountain backdrop, quaint old town criss-crossed by canals – it provides the perfect year-round combination of outdoor activities and restaurants and bars.

Looking forward to: Jumping in our sportscar or on the motorbikes and heading through the tunnel for a weekend exploring the beautiful scenery of northern France.

Keeping my love of France alive by: I’d like to say I’m watching lots of high-brow French films and reading classic French books but the reality is I’m drinking French wine – santé!

Vicky Leigh, Editor, Living France

Favourite place: It has to be Paris – it was the first place I visited as a child and the magic of that experience has never left me. The novelty of walking through Montmartre with a crêpe in my hand still hasn’t worn off.

Looking forward to: I spent my university year abroad in the Vosges and have been saying I’ll go back ever since but somehow I still haven’t managed to return. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s changed in the past 20 years but also to reconnecting with the friends I made when I lived there.

Keeping my love of France alive by: Discovering a new world of French podcasts. If I close my eyes I can almost convince myself I’m sitting in a café in France listening to the conversations going on around me!

Helen Parkinson, Staff Writer, France Magazine

Favourite place: I’m a mountain girl so it always used to be the Alps – until I visited the Pyrénées for the first time last year and I was converted! It’s got everything I love about France – great scenery, food and people – but without the hefty prices and the (slightly unruly) Alpine tourists.

Looking forward to: I’ve always dreamed of doing a horse-riding holiday in France, it’s just a question of where. All these weekends at home have given me lots of time to do some research – at the moment it’s a toss-up between a trek through the vineyards of Bordeaux or a beach ride near Mont-St-Michel.

Keeping my love of France alive by: Eating copious amounts of croissants, naturally! I’m also devouring all the French film offerings on Netflix and Amazon, and enjoying some virtual tours of France to combat my constant itchy feet.

Lucy Parford, Assistant Editor, Living France

Favourite place: Summer always makes me think of the Côte d’Azur, from spending family holidays near St-Raphael to doing Nice on the cheap in my twenties. You can’t beat the spectacular coastline, sandy beaches and fabulous weather.

Looking forward to: I can’t wait to travel back to France with my family for a relaxing seaside break somewhere like Brittany or Vendée. Not being able to get to a beach, anywhere, during lockdown, especially when the weather has been so good, is a shame.

Keeping my love of France alive by: I’m using my yellow and green pottery plates and salad bowl decorated with olives which I bought in St-Tropez years ago to eat outdoors as much as possible and buying fresh croissants and pain aux raisins whenever I get to the shops, if there are any left!

Hannah Evans, Staff Writer, French Property News

Favourite place: Either Béziers and the surrounding villages, which is the most quintessentially French area I can think of and seems like it’s permanently bathed in sunshine, or the coastal resorts of Var, just because of all the childhood holiday memories.

Looking forward to: Exploring places I’ve never been before – Alsace is high on the list; so are the islands off the coast of Morbihan.

Keeping my love of France alive by: Re-reading books about my favourite French painters and (probably too much) scrolling through French interiors on Instagram

Brigitte Nicolas, Staff Writer, Living France

Favourite place: I love the Tarn countryside and its rolling hills dotted with chateaux and vineyards.

Looking forward to: Walking down a French street hearing locals chat in the beautiful language and peering in the windows of the patisseries I pass. There are many places on my list that I want to visit including the Basque Coast, the colourful villages of Alsace and another trip to Paris.

Keeping my love of France alive by: I’m drinking coffee, eating croissants and enjoying exploring all the virtual ways you can visit France such as through Google Arts and Culture.

Janet Brice, Assistant Editor, France Magazine

Favourite place: A Parisian pavement café where I can enjoy the simple pleasure of an espresso shot and freshly baked croissant while watching the world go by. Stopping for coffee is always my springboard into the city and marks the beginning of all my adventures in the City of Light. Nothing beats Paris in spring, summer, autumn or winter…

Looking forward to: Visiting the beautiful coastal town of Collioure, featured in our May edition. I would love to embark on an artists’ retreat to this Mediterranean gem which inspired such great artists as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso with its light and spectacular landscapes. I have been meaning to visit the Bayeux Tapestry too but for some reason it has always eluded me so this will be high on my list. Once in Normandy I would like to combine the visit with a horse trekking holiday. What better way to end the day than a gallop through the waves on the beach in the shadow of Le Mont-Saint Michel?

Keeping my love of France alive by: I have been playing boules with my sons in the garden. We all love hearing the thud of the heavy ball as it hits the grass and rolls towards the jack – but I must admit we all get a little bit too competitive! Boules works well on our lawn but obviously we can’t wait to play it again on our favourite gravel court in Fréjus where we have spent many happy family holidays. The boules set was a gift from my parents whose love of France took them to the Riviera each year on their Triumph motorbike in their younger years.

Emma Kestin, Advertising Manager

Favourite place: Savoie, where I lived for a couple of year after uni – the French Alps – beautiful in winter and in summer!

Looking forward to: We have a long weekend in Brittany pencilled in for August, so keeping our fingers crossed we can still go!

Keeping my love of France alive by: Keeping in touch with our French friends via zoom, and with all this extra time I am learning to make croissants from scratch!

Stephen Eggerton, Advertising Account Manager

Favourite place: Beaune or Saumur; both have food and wine credentials, both steeped in history, both have stunning architecture.

Looking forward to: Nothing life changing, just the opposite. Sitting at a pavement cafe with a glass of pastis in the sunshine and enjoy watching day-to-day life unfold again.

Keeping my love of France alive by: Listening to France Inter radio and watching TV5.

Don’t miss

Coronavirus: what is the current situation in France?

How will the lockdown be eased in France on 11 May?

What does the end of confinement mean for the French property market?

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