November in Essoyes (2017 Version)

November 30, 2017 at 1:38 pm 2 comments


So the month of November has come and gone. Most of the leaves are off of the trees now, and the days are getting both colder and shorter. One of these days it will probably snow, a little bit. In some parts of France it already has.

I still have plenty of wood left from my great wood-hunting adventure last year, so I’m all set for the winter. And next time I have to look for wood, I’ll know much more about what to do!

The month began, of course, with Toussaint, which I have already written about. Then there was Armistice Day, which I did not write about this year, but I did last year.

Then there was the uncorking of the “Beaujolais Nouveau,” on November 16.

I was lucky to be invited to a festive culinary celebration of this day, when this fresh, new wine from Burgundy is made available to the public. The celebration was at our recently reopened hotel, Les Demoiselles: the feast was fine, and our gracious new hotel proprietors presided over the evening with très bon accueil.

Unfortunately (for you), I was too busy eating to take pictures. And to be honest, I don’t remember what the food was, exactly. I just remember that it was succulent, delicious, and that there was a lot of it! (Sorry, foodies! 😦 )

Then the following week, there was a little vernissage for a traveling exhibition prepared by our local historian, M. Bernard Pharisien, called “Renoir: 30 Years in the Aube.” (L’Aube is the départment that Essoyes is located in). It was only in Essoyes for one week, and now it has gone on to other locations in l’Aube. As at the Renoir Center here in Essoyes, the focus of the exhibit is strongly on the life of the Renoir family in this little village, and especially on what (actually, who) brought Renoir here in the first place: his wife, Aline Charigot. One panel talks about Renoir’s discovery of Essoyes in 1888, which is the first year that Aline was able to convince him to come and spend a summer here. Another is labeled “Aline’s dream: to be a homeowner in Essoyes.” You can read more about the back story of how Renoir came to love, and spend a great deal of time in this beautiful little village in an article I wrote for France Revisited here.


The last two Thanksgivings I had spent here in Essoyes, sharing the celebration with a nice mix of French and American friends. This year for a variety of reasons, I decided to “skip” it. But I didn’t forget to be grateful for all the blessings of this life.

And, now that hunting season is in full swing, and I live on the edge of the forest, I have found another thing to be grateful for: a wonderful new use for the brightly colored “pussy hat” a friend made for me to wear in the Women’s March in Paris last January. That use is to MAKE SURE NO CARELESS HUNTERS MISTAKE ME FOR A DEER!  (Thanks again, Patty!) Who knew this hat could be a lifesaver? Can’t be too careful in hunting season, on the edge of the forest!


Christmas will be here soon, and my sons will be here to celebrate it with me. Now that is cause for rejoicing!


And p.s. Look what happened here overnight! YAY!!!

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She leads book groups at the American Library in Paris, writing workshops in Essoyes, a village in the Champagne region, and teaches “Paris: A Literary Adventure” each summer, in Paris, for Queens College, CUNY.




Entry filed under: About Essoyes, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

Hallowe’en and Toussaint in Essoyes Our Little Bibliothèque

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jude L Sales  |  November 30, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Janet I’m so pleased to be on your list–I love your posts! So pleased to hear your sons will be with you at Christmas, as I had both kids home at Thanksgiving I’m not planning on seeing them here again for awhile (but if they’d care to surprise me???). The wildfires that raged here in October are still the focus of all–I was blessed to be far from the danger but many of my friends have lost everything. But the wonderful energy of a small town taking care of it’s own is quite the thing to be part of–it’s good know we can pull together and make things happen.
    Wishing you all the best this holiday season –do keep writing but a little food description now and again might open some new doors for you! Ha!

  • 2. Janet Hulstrand  |  December 1, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Thanks, Jude, so glad you are enjoying my blog. It is so rewarding to have enthusiastic readers! 🙂 I laughed at your comment about food description. I have a lot to say about that, but the most succinct thing to say is that for me food is a wonderful, very pleasurable, but fleeting, sensual experience. I find it very hard to focus on the details of it either before or afterward. Having said that, I know that it is pretty damn lazy of me as a writer to try to cop out in such a way 🙂 I must confess I was eager to post since it had been a while and I wanted to capture November before it was gone. I will take your kind reminder to heart and try to do more justice to the wonderful cuisine I am treated to here in more detail in future! -) (PS Did you see what happened here in the transition from November 30 to December 1? If not, take another look at the end of my post!!!) Best to you, Janet


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