L'un pour l'autre + Deciding with (or for?) a family member
Ça passe ou ça casse + Doggy bags in France

Happiness is... a French quote about le Bonheur

Mas des brun bouganvillea

A one-line metaphorical update on the sale of our vineyard here in St. Cyr-sur-Mer: For 7 months now, despite a mountain of bureaucracy involved in the transfer of our property, and with a few thousand miles to go...it seems we are about to come in for a rough landing--and I can almost see us all (Mama Jules included) spread out, along with all of our belongings--across a parched yard in La Ciotat where we will slowly pick up the pieces, water the garden, and move inside, to a new chapter of our lives.

"à notre portée"

    - within our reach
    - within our grasp
    - available to us
    - upon us

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following quote

Le bonheur est l'art de faire un bouquet avec les fleurs qui sont à notre portée. - Anonymous
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet with the flowers that are within our grasp.

(At the end of this post, see the bouquet Jules made for my belle-mère, with the flowers she found here at the vineyard.)

Provence Vacation Rentals - Sablet Home courtyard
SABLET HOME- for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Recommended by readers. Click here for photos.

Mama Jules with the bouquet she made
My Mom and the bouquet she made my mother-in-law.

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Wow! Kristi, what a journey this has been for you! I am pleased to hear that your beautiful mom will be so close to you. Here's to a smooth transition and the softest landing possible!


Kristi, we hope to get to LaCiotat this trip. Thinking of you and I'm so happy we got to visit your beautiful home. Thank you for your hospitality. I too wish you a smooth transition and soft landing. So happy your mom is with you.

Audrey Wilson

So glad it looks as though things are going your way . A wrench to leave your beautiful home ,but your ''green fingers' will make a beautiful garden at your new home I'm sure !


I've just sent a tiny donation and thought I'd share the ups and downs of it, but I want to stress that it took me all of 2 minutes or even less. However to put the amount in was tricky - the only tricky but obviously very important bit. I clicked to get British pounds not dollars - no problem, it was in the drop down list. But it was putting in the amount that was tedious. It (the system) wanted to put in decimals and brackets, when I just wanted a simple figure like 10.00 - however, when it offered to log me into my Paypal, I accepted snd after that it sorted itself out! So please friends of this blog community, don't be put off. It takes 2 minutes. It said it was going to charge me five PENCE (5 CENTS?) to do the deed but it wiped that out on the final page. Though I'd gladly have paid that tiny charge.


Good luck with your move. This has been quite a journey for you.


Oh! I am so excited for you!! As everyone, even though it's been a turbulent flight, here's wishing you a smooth landing. And between Mama Jules' green thumb and yours you'll have that parched grass and garden gorgeous in no time! May you all flourish for many happy years together in your new home!

Lynn at Southern Fried French

The quote is beautiful, as is the always lovely Jules with the bouquet, and oh that vine! Bougainvillea, I suppose. Here's hoping that landing is not too rough, it's been a long voyage

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

Congrats and best wishes!

Alyssa Eppich

My fingers are crossed and my wishes fly to support yours in this move, Kristi! I send hearts.......


Hi Krist!
What a beautiful quote, beautifully read and a beautiful photo of your Mom with her bouquet of flowers!

I wish you all the best of luck and hope it's a smooth transition but if not, this to shall pass! You have your beautiful support system with you and your loving family will get you through.

Looking forward to your beautiful posts from La Ciotat! You will bloom where you are planted! 😊🌸💕


If I had the flowers at my 'porte' that you have, I could make a similarly beautiful bouquet. You make the beauty that surrounds you everywhere you go. Thanks for letting us tag along on your journeys. You and your family are inspirational - really 🌷🍀🌺🌸🍄🌹🌷


Kristi darling, What a beautiful post! I'm so glad the move is coming along. As someone who has done the same (scaling down and moving after the kids moved on....)it can be tumultuous but in the end it all works itself out. But honestly, seeing that picture of your Mom was almost the best part of the post, what a LADY. She is absolutely gorgeous...and we all know you are the spittin' image of her. Sending my love to all of you! Grand bisous, xoxoxo Robin


Kristi, bon chance! Hoping it all goes well and looking forward to your blog from La Ciotat!


Bonne chance!!! I like the quote! Joan


Our dear Kristi,
Answered prayers for this encouraging news!
We are keeping good thoughts (and fingers crossed) for
a happy ending to this journey.
So hope beautiful Jules will be there with you,sharing in this long awaited happiness!
Beautiful flowers and pictures,as always!
And what a thoughtful,glorious bouquet!
Natalia. xo


I think Jules could make a bouquet out of anything!

Good luck on the sale and the move--I've been watching every step with bated breath.

Kitty Wilson-Pote

With you all the way, Kristi, Jean-Marc and now dear Jules too! Onwards through this transition time to a new chapter ... with much affection, admiration, and infinite respect. Le Ciotat is gaining a treasure of a family.


Was there a post here yesterday about the beautiful bougainvillea that seemed to say you were somehow unsure about leaving your present house? Did you take something down? I swear I read this curious, interesting post that is no longer here. Can't find it now. Am I losing my mind?

Barbara Becker

We just got back from a trip to Provence and to the Dordogne...inspired by your blog.
Thanks you so very much!
What is that beautiful climbing plant in this blog post?

Andrea Hughes

It's amazing to me that the sale of property in France is so complex and tedious! I'm sure, however, that it will be well worth the wait!!
Looking forward to seeing your new digs, Kristi!!

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

To my dear friend,
Lovely update, lovely quote, lovely pictures, lovely lady your dear mom!
I look forward to hearing where you place your "hat" this summer!
With Love,


Beautiful post and pictures. Moving is hell but it is short lived. And you have a loving family to help. All of you are gorgeous and you make beauty wherever you go.


Beautiful bouquet and beautiful Mom who wears her age so beautifully. May God bless her in every way!
God bless, C-Marie

Betty Gleason

Prayers for a pillow soft landing, some star dust to lighten your hearts, and love all around to keep you cozy. Hugs


Happy landings and best wishes for a happy future in your new home. Thank you for your entertaining, inspiring and educational posts. You are a superstar.

Kimberley Cameron

You look so much like your beautiful mother - will send donation soon!



Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

I well understand the heart-wrenching experience of leaving a place you have come to love. But I also have learned that the next place always has positive potential. I can only imagine how you and Jean-Marc will turn this house in La Ciotat into a wonderful inviting home.

Patience and persistence pay off, bringing security and finally contentment. Hoping that at some point you all be able to start down this new path with anticipation and excitement. My heart is especially with Jules...

Vicky from Athens

Did I misunderstand? It sounds like the sale has fallen through and you'll not be moving after all ... to me, that is.
The good news is ... your mother is gorgeous and you know what you'll look like when you're her age!


I am thinking of the sorrow that your mom must still feel since the passing of her beloved husband. Her face shines above all the pain and she is always an inspiration and joy. She radiates love and goodness. Thanks to you, we have gotten to know her as well as your family in France.
Thank you for continuing to blog for us. We would be desolate without your updates !!!!!

Kathleen from Connecticut

I am sure that La Ciotat will welcome you with open arms and that it will become a warm and gracious home for you. The two times that we have stayed there have been wonderful. You won't have the vineyard, but then you still have each other. You will make it bloom and your plants will thrive and they will surround you with color, scents and love.
Bon chance on your move.


Louis Bogue

much good luck on the move, every thing will be fine, see you in SEPT. Lou Bogue


I've copied this wonderful quote so I don't forget to do just this very thing each day! I think I'll make a sign of some sort and put it up to remind me!


Beautiful mom and beautiful flowers.

Hope your move happens soon and as smoothly as possible.

Love your blog.

Christine Webb-Curtis

The bumpy ride will make the landing all that much sweeter. Lovely quotation and wonderful bouquet. Your mother has a wonderful sense of both whimsy and pleasing design. Clever use of what's available.


Jan Hersh

Dear Kristi,
I am quite sure my husband and I will be La Ciotat in early July. I will contact you and see if we can be of help.

Jan Hersh

I meant to say near by La Ciotat.

Lynda House

Wonderful quote ...... I will write it out and put it on my fridge door so I can see it every day.

I do feel for you Kristi, all this waiting is so tedious, especially for impatient types like me! But as I get older I am learning not to try and push the universe .... just let things unfold in their own time ......

As someone famous once said, 'Life is what happens whilst you are making plans'. ........ something along those lines!

June is such a fabulous month ..... I have picked my first bunch of sweet peas and am luxuriating in their inimitable and intoxicating perfume. I love my life! Even though I now have to go and complete my annual tax return, my worst job ever!

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