La Crève and Chili Basta! Fast and Easy Chili recipe with a Provençal twist
Will the sun still rise tomorrow? + Le bénéfice du doute

apprendre à profiter de la vie + Patricia Sands novel set in Arles and Camargue

Somewhere in Provence

In the novel DRAWING LESSONS, set in Arles, Arianna will learn to embrace life. Hear the previous sentence in French and discover Patricia Sand's novel set also in the breathtaking Camargue!

apprendre à profiter de la vie

    : learn to embrace life

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence, profiter de la vie

Dans le roman Drawing Lessons, qui se déroule en Arles, Arianna va apprendre à profiter de la vie.


    by Kristi Espinasse

I will never forget listening to Patricia Sands speak at The Scotch Tea House. It was a sweltering June day in Nice, France, and as the audience fanned itself with tea house menus, the Canadian author was radiant, standing at the podium sharing her journey to becoming an author--author, I might add, of a bestselling trilogy set in France.

My Mom sat on the edge of her red velvet tea house seat, like a straight-A student who would breeze the test were we to be drilled at the end of the presentation. But this was no ordinary speech - it was an inspiring account of how someone like you or me went on to live her dream.... 

Patricia Sands in Nice at Scotch Tea House

I had heard about Patricia Sands before this muggy and memorable day, and even become good friends via social media, but meeting the author in person I was struck by her grace, her beauty and her generous, encouraging spirit. Just like my friend Lou, Patricia is a natural born coach! Indeed, the opening message on her website (with its subtitle "Everyone Has A Story") is a quote from Norman Vincent Peale:

Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities -- always see them, for they're always there.

"Patricia is a good mentor for you!" Mom said on the ride home from Nice. With that, she disappeared behind an inviting book cover, Patricia Sand's latest, and was not to be heard from again for the two-hour ride home.


Drawing lessons

I will be downloading Drawing Lessons on Kindle. The paperback version is also available. Please join me in reading Patrica's latest! If you have already read it, or another of Patricia's books, thanks for sharing your feedback on the comments, below.

Jules and Patricia Sands

My Mom, left, and author Patricia Sands, in Nice, France


The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself…

Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists' workshop full of anticipation, but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband's dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she's loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas. 

Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat—as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and cowboy—Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her, and like the sunflowers, once again face the light.



Calanque painter
Photo of an artist painting (and soon to be resting. Notice the inviting hammock) at Port d'Alon, down the road from our old vineyard. It is never too late to learn how to embrace life or apprendre à profiter de la vie. Enjoy your week!

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

I have not met Patricia in person, but, like you, on social media, we have crossed paths. Also, like you, I have been the recipient of her generous and encouraging spirit. Patricia was one of the first, if not the first, to follow me on Goodreads, after my book was published, and continued thereafter to give me friendly suggestions about how to go about the daunting task of marketing and publicity. It'd be a real pleasure to meet one day and share stories of our affection for France and to thank her in person for her guidance and support.

Patricia Sands

Catherine, it would be a pleasure to meet you in person too ... although it often feels like we already have, through the power of the internet!

Patricia Sands

Dear Kristi ~ You have left me blushing. That day in Nice when we all finally met in person, after all the years of connecting online, was very special for me too. Having Jules there was such a beautiful bonus ... and J-M too, le top!!! Thank you for such a lovely endorsement. You know I'm a great believer in your talent ... and even more so in your gracious spirit (and hilarious sense of humour)! Thank you for all you give so generously to all of us. <3

Anne Kennedy

Are these available in French?

Suzanne Dunaway

Love reading. Love books. Love the idea of plunging into these. Thanks for bringing this lovely author to our attention. And your mama looks so incredibly happy and beautiful in the photo. It is clear where you got your beautiful face.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

I love Patricia's books and have them all. The latest should be arriving any day now on my doorstep!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Suzanne!

Sherry Frank

Love Patricia Sands books and I think I have read them all. I preordered Drawing Lessons from Amazon and oh happy day, it arrived on my Kindle yesterday morning. Can't wait to get started.


Hope you are all over the cold. Will definitely read these books. I keep dreaming about living in France but something keeps me from actually doing it. Thank you for sharing.

Cynthia Lewis

What a lovely picture of your mother, Jules, and Patricia Sands. They, along with you, are an inspiration to us all. Many thanks for this post, as always. Best wishes for all!

Ahulani McAdam

Dear Kristi,
As always, your generousity and loving spirit strike home with me! I look forward to reading just about anything women write about life in the South of France so I can fuel my own dreams and make them come true! I am so grateful too to Patricia Sands for writing about a woman "of a certain age". I'm getting the Kindle edition today. Thank you always. Love, Ahulani


What is it about Provence that brings out the 'adventurer' in women (younger & older)? I love hearing about others who upended their lives after coming to this region. At the age of 80 (for my birthday present to myself) I bought a large apartment in the Vaucluse that needed to be renovated and furnished. (After 4 months, I'm still waiting for a kitchen to be installed....) I walk everywhere, climb 23 steps to my new home and take less medication than before. Never having seriously considered becoming a writer, I spent 4 years researching writers of the Resistance and blended this with a fictional family in an historic novel, published a year ago. Just keep on dreaming until it becomes a reality.

Kristin Espinasse

Liz, your comment about moving to France is inspiring, and your book looks so interesting. I'm including a link to it for those who want to order the paperback or download it via Kindle:

The Bitterest Wine: A novel about a French family's conflicting roles during the German Occupation of Provence and famous writers and poets who inspired resistance.

Kathleen Hawley


I have been away for a while.

Thank you a great welcome back post!! I will definitely order "Drawing Lessons" on my Kindle!!


Kristin Espinasse


So glad to have you back with us!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Cynthia!

Lee-Anne Spurdens

What wonderfully perfect timing to happen upon this post! Thank you!

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

I agree, Patricia, the social media connections that I have made feel very real...and this from someone who resisted and resisted until only relatively recently. I remain cautious and wary, though, and possibly like in real life, take my time before opening up. Now that we have put it 'out there', I am sure that we will meet one day. Look forward to it.


Our dear Kristi,
Today's post was absolutely wonderful!
And always,such beautiful pictures!
Along with you(of course!), Pat is one of my favorite authors and I love to return and reread her books all over again.
Just ordered her newest and also Liz's(both on Kindle.I used to use Kindle because of the ease of transporting things wth me wherever we are,but now,quite honestly, I really enjoy it most because our library is REALLY full to bursting!)
Dear Jules is lovely as ever.So good to see her smiling face again!
Natalia XO

Kristin Espinasse

Liz, your story is inspiring, and your book looks great! Here is the link for those who want to order in paperback or for Kindle:
The Bitterest Wine: A novel about a French familys conflicting roles during the German Occupation of Provence and famous writers and poets who inspired resistance.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi, Anne, Good question. So far I have not seen a French translation, but noticed Patricias book on the Amazon France site.

Sue Malizia

Enjoyed reading your post and all the comments. I just received my Kindle version of Patricia Sands newest book yesterday! I love then=m all, especially the Provence series and look forward to reading this one. What a fun day that must have been for you, listening and meeting her... by the way, the picture of your mom next to Patricia is so cute!

Patricia Sands

Hello Anne ~ So far the books are not in French, although there is talk of translation. Some things move slowly in the publishing world, I'm afraid.

Patricia Sands

Liz, what a wonderful story! You are a woman after my own heart and I'm delighted to meet you here through dear Kristi! Now here's a real coincidence. I have your book in my Kindle library. I was intrigued when I read a review about it last year, but I have not had time to read it. Now that I'm just beginning a new novel and have a little time to read, I will make sure I put it at the top of my list. I will find you on social media and connect. All the best!

Kristi, don't you love how these things happen? xo

Patricia Sands

Kristi, look at my response to Liz! Small world!

Patricia Sands

Dear Natalia ~ How lovely to see you here. Thank you for your kind words!

Chris Allin

I am a huge Patricia Sands fan! Her grace and charm translate into her novels. Am awaiting the arrival of Drawing Lessons. Can't wait!


I can hardly wait to read Patricia's third book in this series. I loved the first two and know I will love this one, too! What an amazing gift both you, Kristi, and Patricia, have given us with your fabulous books - to keep our dreams alive. And, to Liz, my hat off to you, much admiration! Makes me wonder, just what am I waiting for! Such a happy post today! Thank you, Kristi!

Kristin Espinasse

Patricia, this is serendipitous, and lovely to read these comments. 

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Natalia, so good to read you got Lizs book too! Youve reminded me to order a copy. I am hoping to read more, with the Kindle, after a long period of readers block. For the last few years I have stuck to daily devotionals and not much more. 

Sue Whelan

Dear Kristi, What a coincidence! I just finished the “Love in Provence” trilogy last week and absolutely loved it. I had not run across Patricia Sands before but found her books through my Amazon subscription. Such a delight, especially since I live in Toronto and am definitely “of a certain age.” I look forward to reading her new book.
Love your blog, Kristi, and am a long time reader. I, too, was married to a Frenchman and lived in France (Paris) for several years. Unlike yours, my marriage did not last but I fell in love with France as completely as you have, and envy you your many years of living there. La douceur de vie is unmatchable, even in the hustle and bustle of the capital. Blessings on you and your lovely family, Kristi. Thank you for so generously sharing them with us.


Thank you, Kristin, for keeping so many of us Francophones in touch!


Wow! I hope you enjoy 'The Bitterest Wine,' as I found the research and interviews absolutely mesmerizing! Now I can 'lighten up' and enjoy one of your highly recommended books. L.

Anne Kennedy


Patricia Sands

Thanks so much, Eileen! I look forward to your wonderful photos on IG and so appreciate your enthusiastic support. I've been away at a writers' conference, so please excuse my delayed response.

Patricia Sands

Sherry, I've just returned from a writers' conference so please excuse my delayed response. I hope you are enjoying Arianna's story!

Patricia Sands

Nice to meet you here, Ahulani. Bonne lecture!

Patricia Sands

Bonne lecture, Kathleen, and welcome back to Kristi's wonderful site!

Patricia Sands

Dear Sue ~ what fun to see you here and no surprise at all! The day I spent with Kristi, J-M and Jules was special indeed! We will do it again. :-)

Patricia Sands

Bonjour Chris! Thank you for your lovely comment. I've been away at a writers' conference and am just catching up. So sorry for the delay!

Patricia Sands

Judi, don't delay if France is calling to you! The sooner you arrive, the better! Thanks for bringing smiles to all of us today!

Patricia Sands

Sue, thank you for sharing your thoughtful comments here. Your love of France shines through.

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