chambre d'amis

Sunflowers (c) Kristin Espinasse
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One meaning of "host" is "lord of strangers". How's that for mystique? As well, hosting another person is considered, by some, as mystical, even sacred! And guests, in some parts of the world, are considered gods (or angels), who have been sent with messages. That ought to teach us to see visitors in a new light!

How do you feel about hospitality? Are you a thoughtful or absent-minded host? Is hosting something you look forward to or shy away from? Why? What are your best tips for welcoming a guest to your home? Do you offer friends a fold-out couch, or chambre d'amis? Or do you give up your own bed for a weary traveler? For how many days is a guest welcome to stay, chez vous? And what about offering a room to a complete stranger? Thank you for sharing your thoughts, here, in the comments box. Now for today's word:

la chambre d'amis

    : guest room, spare room

A favorite quote written (in English) on the wall of a favorite bookstore in Paris, Shakespeare & Company:

Ne négligez pas de pratiquer l'hospitalité. Car plusieurs, en l'exerçant, ont accueilli des anges sans le savoir. Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise.

Thank you, George Christian, for pointing out that the original quote is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 13, verse 2:

    Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
    for by doing that some have entertained angels
    without knowing it.

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Lord of Strangers

When a friend offered a room for us to stay in, on Saturday, her son's wedding night, I wondered if my husband had not dropped a hint first.

"Are you sure you didn't say anything? You didn't tell Anne-Marie we were having difficulty finding lodging nearby?"
"No," Jean-Marc insisted. "I think she has reserved rooms for many of the wedding guests."

This was another concern, and so I voiced it: "But the groom's mother has other things to do than to worry about where we will stay! We can't trouble her with this detail!"

"Don't worry! I think Anne-Marie has rented a grange next-door, and we will be in a studio there."

My mind immediately conjured up a B&B, or a kind of rural gîte, and I pictured several chambre d'hôtes. I began warming to the idea of accepting another's kind offer. This was, after all, la campagne, and there were, beside vineyards, many old farmhouses that doubled as hotels. As long as we wouldn't be putting anybody out... and as long as we wouldn't be staying chez elle, with Anne-Marie, where there must be enough activity already, what with the wedding preparations.

When Jean-Marc and I drove up to the neighbor's lodge to get a key to our room, I noticed we were entering some sort of equestrian park. There were a few beautifully manicured arenas and neat stables at the top of the drive, beside a newly planted oliveraie. I figured that the owners had two businesses: rooms for rent and horse riding lessons. Speaking of the owners, there they were now, walking toward the car to greet us, along with three barking dogs (two Jack Russells and an épagneul).

The couple was striking; the woman might have been a sosie of Katharine Hepburn and, from her energetic manner, she seemed to share the same character. I watched as she signaled, briskly, for us to pull up closer to the garden gate. We rolled down the window in order to hear her instructions. "A little closer. There you are. Just mind the dogs (she pointed to the small Jack Russells), who have a tendency to slip under the tires!"

Jean-Marc got out and shook the our hosts' hands. I waited in the car, figuring that the lodge owners must have received many of the wedding guests by now. We would simply collect our key to the studio and be on our way to the wedding dinner.

When the greeting lingered I realized I needed to get out of the car and say hello."Why don't you have a look at the room?" the couple offered.

Jean-Marc and I collected our bags and followed the woman up a dirt path, onto a small patio, and into what seemed to be a private home. We passed by the kitchen, and walked through an informal living room. Gesturing toward the hallway, our hostess pointed out the home's private quarters: "This is where we stay," she said, referring to herself and her husband. On the way down the stairs, she warned us to "mind the bannister," which was wobbly.

On the lower level, the tour continued. "And this is the buanderie," she said, pointing to the closed door beside our room. I appreciated her taking the time to reveal this room, as I might have wondered, through the night, just who or what was behind that door. 

"And here is your bathroom." Again, more rooms were thoughtfully pointed out, so that we were familiar with our surroundings. This is when it occurred to me that we were the only people she was lodging. What Jean-Marc had guessed to be a many-roomed B&B was really one room in a private home. We had been in similar one-room-only B&B's, though I had never travelled through so many private spaces to get to the chambre d'hôte....

Once in our room we were given a few tips: "There are mosquito nets on the bathroom window, feel free to leave it open for some fresh air. Help yourself to the shampoo... and there are fresh towels and gants. I heard the concern in our hostesse's voice. It was clear that she wished us comfort. "Beware! In the morning, this one (here she pointed at one of the Jack Russells) might run in and pounce on your bed! The little Jack Russell's antics broke the ice and we felt more at home than ever.

"Is there anything else you might need? How about an extra pillow?"

"Oh, no, thank you! This is just perfect!" I thought to tell her that we would be back very late. Given that this was a French wedding, chances were we'd return in the early morning hours. 

"Pas de souci. I will be here, in my bathrobe," she chuckled, "to let you in". With that, our hostess offered another welcoming smile. "Don't worry, I will hear you -- the dogs are sure to bark. Oh, and sleep as late as you like. And when you wake up you might like to go for a swim," she said, pointing out the pool area.

True to her word our hostess greeted us at 2 a.m., our presence being announced by a trio of yapping dogs.

"Hey-oh! Taisez-vous!" she warned the dogs and she guided us to the front porch, lest we miss a step in the dark night. Passing by the kitchen, she reached for a bottle of cold water for us and, at the top of the stairs, she wished us a good rest. I hoped she had had a little rest of her own, but imagined she must have waited up for us.

Several hours later we awoke to the screeching of cicadas and the early morning heat of summertime. The bright sun filtered into the room from an opening along the sage green shutters. I could hear commands out in the garden and wondered if the hostess was taking care of the animals.

We appreciated all of the items left for us in the bathroom--including a comb!--for we had forgotten our trousses de toilette. And we were careful to share one towel, not wanting to trouble our hostess with more washing, after the sheets that she'd need to change from one nuitée.

At breakfast, in the cozy kitchen-living room area, we were joined by our hosts, who I imagined had been waiting dans les parages, or in the wings, for us. Over coffee, croissants, and fresh peaches from their verger, I learned a little more about this gracious couple. Horses are their passion, not their business. The beautiful stables and arena are for their pleasure, which they take on the weekend after a hectic week in the city, where each is kept busy Monday through Friday with a demanding work schedule.

I realized, then, that this couple had only their weekends to enjoy their horses and to care for their property. We didn't want to take any more of their time, and so we finished our coffees, savored a little bit more enriching conversation, and returned to "business mode" -- by asking for l'addition.

"But you owe us nothing!" the woman assured us. And, on seeing our hesitation, she clarified, "I am doing a favor for my friend," she said, referring back to the groom's mother, "by offering a room for someone in need."

It finally dawned on me that Jean-Marc and I were the strangers in need...

Suddenly another's generosity and humility deeply touched me. I thought about all the little comforts the couple had thoughtfully provided us, right down to the earplugs and the eye-mask on the nightstand! How their morning had been interrupted, so as to be present when we woke up, not knowing whether that would be at nine or at noon! In my mind's eye I saw the couple rushing home from work to get the room in order and to make sure there would be something for breakfast.

Jean-Marc was equally touched. "But, we don't even have a bottle of wine with which to thank you!" he said. 

"It is our pleasure!" our hostess assured us. And, just in case we were feeling indebted, she offered: "It is a honor to help another in need. I am sure you would do the very same."

These words echoed in my mind as we drove off, in a cloud of gratitude, touched by the kindness of strangers, who we risked never to see again. We were left with only a lesson: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Could it be that simple? These "others" sure made it seem so.


Post note: I doubt our hôtes are reading, but just in case: MERCI BEAUCOUP!!!

Le Coin Commentaires

The meaning of "host" can be read, according to Wikipedia, as "lord of strangers". What does hospitality mean to you? Is it your strength or weakness? What are your best tips for welcoming a guest to your home? Do you have a guest room, or chambre d'amis? Or do you give up your own bed for your guests. Will you be hosting over-nighters this summer? What about offering a room to a complete stranger, as our gracious hosts did? Comments are welcome here, in the comments box.

French Vocabulary

une grange = a barn (sometime re-structed into living quarters)

le gîte = self-catering cottage

la chambre d'hôte = room in a B&B

le gant de toilette = wash cloth

taisez-vous! =quiet down!

la campagne = country

une oliveraie = olive grove

un épagneul,e = spaniel

le sosie = one's double

la buanderie = laundry room

la trousse de toilette = makeup bag, travelling necessities case

la nuitée = (tourism) night (ex: deux nuitées = two night's stay in hotel)

le verger = orchard

l'addition = the bill


Mama Braise, teaching three of her six pups a lesson in hospitality: "There is always room for another!" Mama Braise says. "And, remember, warm affection not perfection!" Photo taken in 2009. Read some puppy stories!

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Wonderful rendering of this great story of warm and generous welcome! We were in Poland once for the wedding of a man who had worked for us a couple of times. His future wife to be once stayed with us over a long weekend and as she spoke only Polish (and we don't) we gestured a great deal and the communication was just fabulous! Later, it was a real surprise and honor to be invited to the wedding, not just once but very urgently at least 10 times - and so we went and made the trip into vacation to boot - the town near the Russian border was 2000 km away! But what a welcome! What a wedding! We were guests of honor, sat at the couple's main table, the minister in Church mentioned that we had come from afar just to join the wedding community, and a friend of the groom offered us sleeping quarters. When we arrived we were shown into a bedroom which obviously was the main bedroom of the couple. Although we protested and said we would be perfectly happy to sleep on air-mattresses on the floor they refused. The next morning (after a very short night!) we found out that they had been sleeping on air-mattresses in the basement! We apologized profusely but they explained they would not have had it otherwise (the friend of the groom spoke English).
Tipps on helping guests feel at home? I have a couple of airline overnight cases with toothbrush, comb etc. in addition to providing the general bathroom stuff. A Japanese Yukata (morning robe) and light-weight hotel slippers help making the guest comfortable. For children I have saved a couple of toys from my own children and that has often been a really good idea! Keeps the little guys busy while the adults enjoy a glass of French wine.

Rina Rao.

Thankyou Kristin, it's nice to know that there is a saying in French---a stanger could be an angel, kind.
We have a similar one in India, infact the main byline for Indian Tourism is 'Atithi Devo Bhavh' Your guest is like god'!!!
Thought as you are writer, you would like to know this.
Sharing and Hospitality are inherent parts of our culture.
It is nice when the well to do do it, but beautiful when someone who can't afford to, does it.
For this , if you ever get a chance, watch the Hindi movie(subtitled in English and French)'Swades'. I saw it with my French friends in a Paris movie hall--it got a standing ovation at the end. Thought I should let you know.
Thanks for all the topics you write on. I wanted to comment on the'compliment one--have been fortunate to get outstanding ones, but for writing they are one too many!!

Kristin Espinasse

Laura, your story beautifully expresses the selfless act of hospitality

Rina, thank you for sharing about the Indian custom the guest is god and for pointing out Swades film. I hope to see it -- am reading about it at Wikipedia : I like what you say about it being nice when those who can afford it give -- and it being beautiful when those who cannot... do!

Cynthia Lewis

"Southern Hospitality" here in the United States is not just an expression without is an art which is very much alive and taken seriously. The first thing you are taught as a young child is to always offer a guest in your home a cold drink. This was easy to remember when I was young for there was no airconditioning and a drink was especially welcomed. Your hosts this past weekend could have written the book on hositality. What a charming story! Thanks!

Cynthia Lewis on hospitality...

Gail Jolley

We have a guest room that also doubles as a "snoring room" (a term I learned just the other day). Some years ago our neighbors were having a reunion with their offspring and didn't have enough bedrooms for all of them, so we gave them our entire house to use since we were planning to be away. We didn't know their children at that point, but we were sure it would be just fine.

mary Paulson

As I began to write, a song ran through my mind."Angels flying close to the ground". A gracious gesture by your host, a gracious receiving by you and Marc. What a sweet story of gratitude.My day has a sweetness to it now.Thank you.


Please, what does taisez-vous mean? I was reading a French magazine at my hairdresser's one day when we were living in Paris, and I think this is the verb I came across. I asked him what it meant, and he said, "Shut up!" It was one of those verbs I hoped to remember, so to use on our screeching cockatiel back home. Being nasty in a foreign language takes a little of the bite out for both giver and receiver.

Of course I lost the verb before we returned, as (you can imagine) I didn't use it! Now the cockatiel continues to screech with impunity. Am I remembering correctly? Or does taisez-vous mean something else?

Tom from Detroit

The 'proverb' Kristen used is a beautiful verse from the bible, (Hebrews 13:2). It's English translation is, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it."

My wife and I entertained many 'angels' when living in Bretagne. Most, but not all, were students. Some stayed the night, others, entire semesters. We never regretted the hospitality we showed, even to those who were "un peu difficile". We learned something from everybody.


Thank you for this story. It makes my heart leap. True generosity without limit, and I love "chambre d'ami" rather than the cold, impersonal "guest room". Mary

Larry Krakauer

Cyndy, yes, "taisez-vous" does mean "shut up" (or, put more politely, "keep quiet"). The verb is "taire". If you say it to a child, or someone else you would speak to with "tu", you say "tais-toi".

"Hôte" is a very interesting word, because it can mean both "host" and "guest", depending on context. As usual, that circumflex over the o represents a missing s after the vowel that was present in old French (hôte --> host, fête --> festival, feast, bête --> beast, pâte --> paste, and countless others). And hôte is the source of both "hotel" and "hostel" in English.

Suzanne Dunaway

I'm a southerner, too, and yes, hospitality is our second name..guests are welcome to anything and it gives me great pleasure to cook, to point the way to places of interest, to meet again at dinner (or be asked to be taken out--often the case of polite guests' thank-yous) BUT...the Italian phrase is Gli hospiti sono come pesci...dopo tre giorni, puzzano. Guests are like fish, after three days, they smell. Not a very kind phrase, and yet, maybe it's just my quirk, but I like to see hosts for one night only, maybe two and them I'm gone. Also, some guests need to be taken everywhere or shown things, which is all very well and good, but it's so much fun to have them go out on their own and come back with adventure stories. So, yes, guests are at the top of the list. For three days....
Someone in dire need, of course, is another matter. We once had a guest for 2 months. He made fresh mayonnaise and stocked the wine cellar. A perfect guest.

Maary-Anne Helms

What a lovely couple and story. I find it quite common in the US and the UK for friends of the bridal family to offer rooms for the out-of-town guests. It is such a nice gesture of hospitality
but often guests prefer the privacy of a hotel room. And always, there is a lovely brunch the next day usually at the home of a dear friend.
Even in these modern, rushed times hospitality is not dead!!


Oh Kristin I love having guests! When living in France we were able to accommodate visiting friends and relatives and it was so much fun. Fresh flowers in their room, beautiful soaps, water by the bed and chocolates on their pillow. There was a robe available and toiletries if needed. I tried to provide brochures and all sorts of info for those going off on their own, but I also loved playing tour guide, navigating mountain roads and beautiful provençal villages, going places I might not have visited if it weren't for my guests. Now I try to make everyone feel just as special and pampered while introducing them to the beauty of southern Louisiana and delicious Cajun cooking. La joie de vivre!

Karen Whitcome

Beautiful story, message and proverb.

My parents ALWAYS gave up their bed to guests as we had a modest home. I've never had anyone do that for me but usually people have guests rooms (as I do). I think I would LOVE to run a "gite" or B&B.

I have offered my home for bridal showers and even a wedding once because we have a large area for things like that. It's always fun to plan and, as exhausting as the preparations are, it adds a history to our home and beautiful memories for all. If only things like you experienced, Kristin, were the norm and came naturally, the world would be a happier place.

Marianne Rankin

All of the various actions described above are good ones for guests. I keep a spare toothbrush handy, among other things.

I've invited numerous people to visit, not all of whom have come; surprising more people wouldn't like to stay so close to Washington, D.C.,but maybe they have limited vacation.

I was a guest with a French family for about 3 weeks, years ago. They'd been old friends of my father, and refused to take any payment. I helped with housework and so on, but most of the giving was at their end.

I have heard that among Russians, you can go to the home of a complete stranger and say something like "Ivan Petrov told me I could use your floor." And they let you do it. Apparently places to stay in the old USSR, and maybe modern Russia as well, are so hard to find that staying with friends of friends is fairly common.

It's not always possible to "repay" people who show kindness to us. Whenever we can, though, we can "pass it on" by doing a similar kindness to someone else. And we can look for things to do which might be different, but still helpful, which could be driving a person to a medical appointment or the airport, taking care of their pet while they are away, and so on and so forth. There's always something we can do.

Nan Reinhardt

Kristin, my grandmother once told me that fish and houseguests both start to stink after about five days, so we limit our own visits to friends/family to around three to five days depending on where we're going. But, we just bought a lake cottage in our home state of Indiana and love to have guests on the weekends we're there!


Over the years my means of "hosting" have changed according to my circumstances. When I was newly married & living in San Diego, my husband was on a naval cruise & I was pregnant with my honeymoon baby, a 2nd cousin (newly met) stayed with me after my son was born, for a week. She slept on the couch while I had the only bedroom with the infant crib. Needless to say she was the "angel". My mother was in Falls Church VA dying of cancer and of course couldn't be with me.

Now I have a small guest suite, which I stock with lots of bed pillows because my friends from other states, love to read as much as I do. And beside the bed there are collected magazines that I think they would like to peruse during their visit. In the bathroom I have plenty of different fragrant soaps for their choice & use. Also keep shampoos/conditioners/body washes in the shower. Next to the lavatory, in a basket, I collect numerous "samples", face creams, body scrubs, they may take to try out. Also scented candles to light if they so desire, plus the usual containers of Q tips, cotton pads and perfumes.

It's fun for me & hopefully my guests enjoy it too.


I'm shy about hosting myself, partly because my house is never how I'd like it. Like the 'shoemaker's children', a contractor's house...(Even though I know many contractors with beautiful houses, that is not my lot). Also I am just shy in general, and not good at chitchat. I am always trying to better myself and having people over in spite of my insecurities is something I'm working on. Your story was really good for me. Thank you.

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Recently I was in Norway and stayed with a young couples parents. We hadn't met them yet and yet they had a beautiful room ready for us. We stayed with them for two weeks and traveled all over Norway, ending the trip with the wedding of the young couple. It wasn't until the last day of our trip that the other bedroom door was opened enough to see in when I noticed the cot and single bed. That is when I realized they had given up their bedroom for us. I felt so bad but realized how they insisted we stay with them. They wanted us there to get to know the people who always have a room for their daughter when she visits the US.


many years ago my wife and I rented a small gite in Provence (Bedoin, exactly) and had a great time. the next time we rented a slightly larger house for a little longer with another couple and had an even better time. since then we rent a big house and invite lots of friends to come join us. seeing Provence through the eyes of others is always fun. I write this while sitting under the shade of a tree listening to the cigales signing while this week's friends explore the village shops.

Southern hospitality does not only apply to the U.S. it seems to apply in France and most definitely applies in Italy. When i've visited friends in Sicily, there always seems to an apartment of a friend or relative who has just left on 'vacation' and wants me to use their apartment while i'm gone. Although I'm sure I'm not an angel, it is nice to know that perhaps some people in Sicily think there is a chance I might be

Rina Rao.

Thankyou very much for replying and understanding the nuance, Kristin.
If you come to the city---please feel free to get in touch--it is an Indian home in Paris!!!

Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ

I loved this story, Kristin. We have always had la chambre d'ami but when recently remodeling we were able to expand it and connect it to a bathroom. Most of the time it is family (would this be la chambre de la famille)? I have never hosted strangers, but it is so nice to have a comfortable space for friends who want to stay over after a long, late dinner party in the winter. We have also hosted "film weekends." In addition to la chambre d'ami, we have a sofa bed in the living room and a shower on the ground floor so we can easily host up to six people. Several years ago when my childhood friend and her second husband were touring New York and New England during the autumn, they stayed with us for a day and night. After 30 years it was as though we had never been separated ... and they said they had the best night's sleep of their two week trip that night in our guest bedroom.

Rina, your comment reminded me of the first time we visited friends of friends. Manjul and Ajee (sp?) gave us a tour of their wonderful gardens only 5 miles from our home and would not let us leave without serving a wonderful meal. It was over that meal that we learned about 'Atithi Devo Bhavh'. The next morning on my way to the train station, I left a basket of home grown figs on their doorstep.

Lisa A., CA

In my house, we have an extra room with it's own bathroom that we let friends and family use when they are in town. The longest a friend has stayed at my house was two months to get back on his feet again.

It is interesting that this is the subject of the day...I just offered the room to my neighbor's friend for a night, because we all are going to be up very late. I didn't want her to drive so late back home after the party next month. She was so happy that I offered the room, she gave me a huge hug. She acted as if I had given her money or something. :) And, I thought it was just the right thing to do...It feels good to do nice things for others.


This is a "mixed review" of Chief Grape's recipe for roasted peppers.
I had to try it since I love peppers, olive oil and especially garlic, and it looked so easy. At my age I look for easy recipes. I've been a huge fan of garlic always, because I had a childless hip Seattle aunt who was a superb cook. Garlic was not the popular herb it is now. We have a good crop of it in Andree's backyard garden - the hard neck kind.
Anyway, this morning I did the second stage, and was appalled at
the small amount of flesh and the difficulty of removing the seeds.
Goodbye clean white tee shirt! Hope the tasting will compensate.
Had to leave a few seeds.

Re your wedding hospitality post - I'm sorry to keep bringing up
Quebec again, but they are much more hospitable than here. Exceptions are folks from the prairie provinces. I was constantly surprised by how they gave up their bedrooms. It was the norm.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
Charming story today! I am originally from Atlanta and am very conscious of making guests feel comfortable. We have a chambre d'ami and I always enjoy having people stay. I love to wake up a bit early and make a big breakfast for our guests.
Remember the saying...."Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."
Benjamin Franklin

Frances Anamosa

What a most beautiful and touching story of genuine hospitality and giving to others. I was moved to tears, and I thank you so much for sharing so carefully and thoughtfully with your readers. Your writings are something I look forward to with pleasure. Thank you.

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

May I borrow “Warm affection not perfection!” for my motto? Love it and the photo of Braise and three of her pups! This photo is too sweet to not end up in one of your books.

A joy to read this beautifully written and heartwarming story! Their place sounded just as lovely as their gracious hospitality. The addition of the two Jack Russells would have put me at ease at once, having shared my life with two of these loyal and amazing creatures for nearly twenty years.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful example of giving and serving others --- even strangers! I shall aspire to be such a caring host no matter who the company.


Fortunately our home has rooms we use as guest quarters on one side of the living area our master suite on the other. Every year we find ourselves with guests for a period of time - and they usually remark how wonderful they find this arrangement. Finding the perfect balance to doting on guests vs. allowing them to feel at home, to come and go uninterrupted, is a varied experience. Our best time is giving guests/friends our one car and just letting them do whatever they like. (Hawaii Blue Book is bedside) After their adventures each day, collaborating and sharing dinner on the lanai is just the best! Guests always open my eyes to new parts or things of the Island I haven't yet discovered myself! The joy others bring from a first time experience here in Hawaii add dimension to life and I have enjoyed providing that opportunity over the years.

Kent Benson

I don’t know how it is in France, but in America many of us have difficulty receiving. Perhaps it is part of our “rugged individualism” which says, “I can take care of myself. I don’t need the help of anyone else.” However, if we truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive, we would be more joyous and less uncomfortable receiving. Looked at this way, there is an element of giving in receiving and a lack of consideration for the giver in being reluctant to receive. Any of our attempts to prevent the generosity of others towards us, in a very real way, is an effort, however unintended, to rob the gracious of their blessing.

My guess is your hosts would have been truly disappointed, perhaps even offended had you insisted on paying. I’ve heard it said before that the true test of humility is a willingness to receive undeserved favor. Pride says, “I don’t need your help. I am self-sufficient.” Humility says, “Your pleasure in being gracious is more important than my need to feel independent and I will not rob you of the joy it brings you.

Karen Whitcome

Oh, Kent - that is exactly what this is about. And if one puts up too much of a "No, no, no. I couldn't let you do that for me." It becomes almost insensitive, when you look at it like that.

I'm entering THAT in my journal!

Kristin Espinasse

Kent, thank you for some excellent food for thought. As my mom would say, "I'll chew on that for a while." I'm off to do as Karen said: to enter those thoughts on humility (the true test) and graciousness in my journal.

Janine Cortell

Bonjour Kristin:
I just loved this story. My husband and I enjoy having guests and this summer we will have many including a 19 year old French boy who is staying for 10 days. His mother is a French friend
and she is sending him to us to perfect his English. When I was a student in France my host family did so much to make me feel welcome and I was always hoping that one day I could do as much for a foreign student. This is my chance and I can hardly wait to see him.
Janine in Port Townsend

As they say, what goes around, comes around.
Bonne journee, Janine, Port Townsend, WA.


Our passion for France and the French was partly the result of the generosity of two Frenchmen we met while on holiday in Malaysia three years ago. After our return to Australia we remainedin touch by email and Skype and then they invited us to visit them in Paris. They moved in together for the 3 weeks we were there so that we could use the apartment of one; EVERYTHING was provided for us, including transport cards, and trips to the country to see different sights and to meet their friends, even for me to meet for the first time a long lost cousin. More recently they again surrendered the apartment for our daughter's use while she visited for 3 days. And just as they did with us, they shepherded her everywhere and took joy in watching her discovery of Paris. Our love for these men is immense not just because of their unstinting generosity but because of the personal qualities they have that are expressed in that manner.
best wishes


Umm sorry I forgot to add that we hope that our French brothers will visit us early next year when we will spoil them rotten as they did us.


Denise Givens

Hello Kristin, a lovely story as always! The small town we live in here in MA has a sister city in France and we are having a student exchange program for 2 weeks in July. We are hosting the chaperone and her 7 year old daughter for two weeks - we've never met them but have talked on Skype! We're very excited to have these new friends with us, and we have no children so we've been busy buying toys and games and planning activities so that our little guest can be comfortable far away from home. Your hosts for the wedding in France sound lovely, I hope we can do the same for our guests here!

All the best,



In 1991 I did an exchange of art work with a school in Paris and visited other schools. I became friends with a math teacher from one of the schools and to this day we are welcome in their home in Paris and in Lentillac de Causse. Unfortunately they have only visited us once.
We have 2 guests rooms in our house and have had friends stay with us up to 2 months. These are usually friends in need of a place to stay for a while until they get settled. We also have had 5 Spanish students stay with us for a month at a time.
Our neighbors needed an extra room for one of their guests so she stayed with us.
We are always meeting people and inviting them to visit us, especially people from another country.
I have been lucky to be the recipient of the hospitality of strangers many times.
As the saying goes - it is better to give than to receive - or - do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


Our chambre d'amis is in the center of our house with it's own bathroom and not too far from the kitchen. Once upon a time I ran a bed & breakfast in an old whaling captain's house and the most important thing for me was to be sure the guests were comfortable and not lacking for anything (within reason). I particularly liked to send warm, wonderful aromas wafting up the stairs every morning. Hot coffee would be the first aroma, followed by the aroma of baking muffins or popovers. This would all be accompanied by homemade jams and lemon curd. It was a joy to see the satisfaction on the guests faces, and these days we do the same for family and friends. The aromas just have a smaller distance to travel.


I loved this story. I am embarrassed to admit that I usually don't host people because I am ashamed of the state of my home. It is such a mess and in need of repair. I would just be mortified. I hope to work my way out of this morass, inviting people gradually in as I fix it up.


Thank you for sharing this lovely story Kristin. Your hosts are truly loving people. I aspire to be this selfless when it comes to hosting guests in the future. I'm amazed at all the amazing stories of generosity coming from other readers. This world is truly filled with beautiful people!

Have a wonderful day everyone!


Excuse the redundant, "amazed at all the amazing stories" I just wrote above. :)

lou bogue

Bonjour Kristin, Yes i believe in the sharing of private homes, that is how I traved last year when I came to visit and spent two days helping out with the harvest and I am in the midddle of planning my 30 day trip to France and a weddig in Hamburg, with a old friend from Australia, whom I hope you can meet when we drive up from Avignon in Sept. and the whole trip will be spent staying in people"s homes that I book thru a unique company, called, stated by a young lady from Montpellier 7 years ago and now has accommadtions all over the world, I have a choice of several places for under 40 euro a night and have met some very nice poeple, when you have time (HA HA) take a look at the site, you can sign in free, as a traveller or a host. Au Revior and Bonne chance, Lou

Georgia Catasca

We were not at a house--We were older people at Gar Tours//St. Pierre and we were going ti Paris. A ery nice couple with two children helped us with our two suitcases and many plastic bags . we were on the same car-- He helped us --and ordered two cabs and helped to get e drugging in the cab.

We do not know them but we will remember them for the rest of our lives.
we will do something for other people, and we will remember them

Georgia and dog Madeleine

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