Michelle Lawson has long been intrigued by people who act upon a dream to move abroad for a new life and she gained a PhD in Applied Linguistics for her academic study of Britons in France. She lives in Devon and Ariège and she spends her spare time writing, photographing and walking in the Pyrenees.
So as he hits middle-age, Michael takes up the challenge of broadening his horizons. He decides to improve himself in the same way English gentlemen lacking refined edges have for centuries: by learning from our more cultured French neighbours. Michael, an English provincial ingénue, sets off to discover just what the Gallic nation can teach him and the rest of us Anglo-Saxons about living the good life. Armed only with 50 Useful Phrases in French, he waits to see if his odyssey from La Manche to the Riviera will finally turn him from the scotch-egg eating spawn of Anne Widdecombe and John McCririck into the champagne-sipping love child of Serge Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve. Julia is saying a prayer for him at Lourdes.
When Patricia Atkinson - bestselling author of The Ripening Sun - first moved to France, her intention was simply to establish a vineyard. Over the years, however, she found herself becoming integrated into a way of life that, had she stayed in England, she would hardly have believed existed. Grounded in the rhythms of the land and the seasons, daily life in Patricia's south-western corner of France is dictated by a series of rituals and celebrations that we have long lost in our supermarket age.
La Belle Saison is Patricia's eulogy to this way of life: a testament to the timelessness of the beautiful French countryside, the bounty of the land, and the generous-hearted French neighbours who showed Patricia that a simple life has many rewards. In France, every season is 'la belle saison', offering up its gifts to those willing to appreciate and look after the land.