Monthly Archives: March 2012

Zaz, a rising star in French music

Zaz, a rising star in French music

Zaz, bête de scène
Zaz, born to be on stage

(unknown photographer)
Today, I would like to introduce you to a very special young lady. Her name is Isabelle Geffroy, but in France and in Europe, she is known as “Zaz.”
Zaz became a “Star” just three years ago, but she has been involved in music her whole life. She was born in the center of France, near Tours. When she was a child, she joined the renowned Tours music academy where she studied the violin, the piano, the guitar and singing. She is only 11 when she leaves the academy, but she will keep working hard at her art over the next few years, more noticeably in Bordeaux. She claims she was inspired by Vivaldi; jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald; French singers such as Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour; Jacques Brel; Bobby Mc Ferrin, and she loves rap, afro, latino, and cuban music. Drawing from a variety of styles and influences, she has created her own sound. They refer to it as “Zaz’s gypsy jazz sound.” Maybe. To me, her music is unique, inspired and… happy! Let me warn you, her tunes are catchy and addictive.
Here is her breakthrough single, “Je Veux” (I Want.) Zaz is not a materialistic girl and she wants the world to know!
There she is, singing in the streets, with a couple of musicians. Does she remind you of someone? Zaz has often been compared to the great Edith Piaf, who started as a street performer. Like Piaf, Zaz is renowned for her “gouaille,” a cheeky, outspoken way of expressing herself. While still an unknown singer, I suspect she did justice to all of the great Piaf’s songs, but also infused them with her own style and personality.
Zaz, “une personnalité” (a “character”)
(Unknown photographer)
Even though she looks barely 20, Zaz is in her early 30s and has been performing with small bands all over Europe for years. She is full of life, passionate, [admittedly] loud; loves the stage, and in spite of appearances (she makes it all look so easy,) is a hard worker.
Zaz on stage
(unknown photographer)
Her voice is unique. Husky, broken at times, but powerful. The girl also has rhythm. She can imitate the sound of a trumpet like there is no tomorrow. As a side note, like me, she enjoys walking in city streets and people-watch. Here is another favorite song: Les Passants (the Passers-by.) This is a live version, just Zaz and two musician friends, performing in Paris near Montmartre.
If you look up Zaz’s videos on YouTube, you will notice there are many versions of her songs, both official videos and live sessions, recorded in concert or in the street. Often, comments are written by fans based in Greece or in Eastern Europe, Russia for example. That is because she toured extensively in those countries before she made it to the big leagues. She also performed (primarily in small venues) in Egypt and Japan. Now that she is famous, she continues to tour in France and around Europe. According to her official website, Zaz will be in Germany this spring.
Here is the official version of my favorite Zaz song: “La Fée” (the Fairy.) I heard this is an amateur video a father shot of his young children (both Zaz fans, apparently.) He sent it to the singer, who loved and adopted it. The words in the song are somewhat mysterious, and it starts like this: “Moi aussi, j’ai une fée chez moi...” (I have a fairy in my house, too…)
Zaz, if you are reading this, when are you coming to Seattle? I know you prefer performing in small venues, and I think I have just the place for you! Check this out: You, too, could perform at the venerable Paramount Theatre, a local landmark. Imagine your name up there, in big letters! I will bring a crowd, that’s a promise! The Pacific Northwest could use some of your contagious joie de vivre this time of year. Think about it, d’accord?
Paramount Theatre, Seattle WA
French Girl and les Girls, Mamma Mia,
Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA 3/24/2012
An experienced musician and performer, Zaz still only has a couple of albums out. Here is her breakthrough CD, released in 2010.
I have also heard of a Live album but have not listened to it yet. It is featured on her website.
In 2010, she officially became France’s favorite female performer, and the rumor has it her concerts sell out in a few hours. She is courted by renowned TV shows, where she appears on occasion, a bit shy, but true to her style, and often performs with more established French artists. I saw her recently in an interview with renowned French composer and singer Pierre Perret. She did more than hold her own! The song is Perret’s moving “Mon P’tit Loup.” (My little darling.) Beautiful.
And here she is. 32 years old. Une étoile qui monte (a rising star,) in European music. I listen to Zaz a lot. She is French, but also a citizen of the world, because her music incorporates so many styles and cultures. No wonder she has such a widespread appeal. Respectful of the past and her idols, Zaz also looks forward and creates a brand new sound. From now on, the sky is the limit! If you don’t know her yet, do yourself a favor, and download her music. You will not be regret it.
A bientôt.
For those of you who speak French, this website lists the words of all Zaz songs on the 2010 “Je Veux” album, as well as the video clips. Enjoy!
All right. If you insist. There is always an Encore, after all. So, for those of you who have not had enough, voilà two more video clips.
Zaz sings Edith Piaf:  During a French TV show, she interprets “Padam-Padam” for the audience and French singer Veronique Sanson.
Zaz chante Edith Piaf: “La Vie en Rose.” Check out the talented, happy girl in action!
A bientôt.

57 Responses to Zaz, a rising star in French music

  1. Coucou, effectivement, pas de liste à jour sur ma sidebar depuis 3 semaines maintenant. Et pas de solution connue..
    Pour une fois, nos avis divergent. Autant je te suis à fond sur Mamma Mia, autant je te laisse Zaz. Pas ma tasse de thé.Je te souhaite une excellente semaine, et t’envoie un peu de soleil que je joints à ce commentaire!(au moins virtuellement, avant le vrai)

    • Ah, notre premiere “brouille,” Malyss! — Je plaisante. Pas de souci. Tous les gouts sont dans la nature, dit-on… Et, au fait, merci pour ce rayon de soleil. J’en avais bien besoin. Je crois que je vais installer un compteur sur le blog: “J – xxx avant Nice” – Chouette, non? 😉

  2. The video with kids is irresistible.
    Love Zaz for a couple of years and discovered her accidentally. Her record was playing while the passengers were boarding flight Paris-Toronto. She is so genuine and unpretentious and original. Thank you.

  3. Salut Véronique! I decided to drop by as I hadn’t had any new posts from you on my dashboard and I was curious – just as well as I see you have had some problems with it. Anyway – great post about Zaz. As you know I’m a huge fan and listening to her music is always so uplifting.

  4. Dearest Véronique,

    So sorry to read that you still have not solved the Blogger problem. Did you double-check your Publishing link, that it is under you ‘main’ blog name and not the latest blog? If I do right click on French Girl in Seatle, the latest blog shows. When I right click on my own than the main page opens and my newest post shows up on the side bar. Just try this again…
    Zaz does have some talent and she’s so down to earth! Hope she will hold her own for quite some time to come.
    Love to you,


  5. Voilà un reportage très intéressant sur une chanteuse que je ne connaissais pas.
    Bonne journée, Véronique, en espérant que ton printemps est aussi beau que celui d’Antibes.

    • Merci Richard. Désolée de reporter que le printemps est loin d’être arrivé à Seattle… Nous avons l’habitude et nous estimerons heureux si les temperatures remontent avant la mi-juillet! Je crois que tu apprecierais Mademoiselle Zaz. Elle est charmante et très douée!

  6. I was ignorant of Zaz – she has a wonderful tone and strength in her voice. I will be adding her to my collection of French CD’s……too old for the online purchasing thing!

    • Dearest Mariette. I can’t thank you enough for all your support and technical help over the last few weeks. I will not forget your kindness. It looks like, thanks to Le Husband, we are now in the clear, hopefully for a while. I agree with you: What a huge waste of time! Hugs to you and Georgia!

  7. Zaz has got a great voice and an incredible smile, so cute!

    I’m sorry to hear about your problems with Blogger. You have my sympathy because I had a lot of trouble with my feed at the back end of last year too.
    In the end I got so exasperated I actually deleted my blog and started again.
    Glad to hear you’ve sorted things out!

  8. I loooooove this post!! Fantastic write-up, Veronique. I had never heard of Zaz before and I’m so pleased I know about her now. Her voice is wonderful. I listened to all these videos, by the way. Haha. She has a very smoky yet whimsical tone to her voice. It’s very unique. I think my favorite song is the fairy one. I’m going to have it stuck in my head for the rest of the day now. Well, the beat at least. I don’t know the lyrics. 😛

    • Oh no. The fairy song is completely addictive. Really hard to get out of your head once you have listened to it a couple of times. I should have warned you! 😉 You can go to that website I mentioned for the lyrics. They are a little strange and I am not sure I understand them 😉

    • It was a feed problem. Le Husband fixed it last night. Thank you for trying to help. Most people were clueless, still it appears to be a common issue on Blogger. I am lucky Fred got rid of the problem, but how frustrating!

  9. It’ so late here in Perth but I couldn’t not listen to Zaz, how fabulous is she!! I love her jazzy style, I haven’t heard ‘scatting’ in French before, tres groovy! I think Edith Piaf would have thoroughly enjoyed her version of La vie en Rose, so good! We still have a few small music stores here in Perth that sell international music so will see if I can find her CD OR even better I’ll get Aimee to download it pour moi, merci beaucoup Veronique et bon nuit!

    • Ah, Zaz kept you up, then, Grace! 😉 Downloading her songs might be the easiest way to go. Let me know what you think once you have listened to all her songs. ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL AUSTRALIAN SUMMER (I wish!)

  10. She is a girl after my own heart. Thanks for sharing. She reminds me of Pink a little…maybe her raspy voice and maybe a little of her attitude. Fun post…now let me go listen to more of her songs. =) Bon weekend!

  11. My husband said that you were in the shop today and loved it. Thank you and I would have liked to meet you..maybe next time. Nice blog!

    • Bonjour Annie. I stopped by today indeed, and had a fabulous time in your shop! I took pictures of some favorite things and will be showing them on Le Blog soon if that is all right with you! Eddie is a sweetheart! (and your husband very friendly too! 😉 A bientot!

  12. Oh I love hearing about Zaz. I especially liked “Padam, Padam”. When I was in Paris last January, the singers and dancers on rue Mouffetard sang that song. Thank you for introducing me to this delightful new voice from France.

  13. I have come here to check for your answer, but I haven’t found my comment! In the last few months, this has happened the second time. I really love Zaz; I have been listening to her on YouTube for several years.

  14. Ohhhh, i love this post, because i love ZAZ too! The funny thing is that i loved her before my move in France. And this is strange because the french music isn’t so common abroad, particularly in Italy.

    Anyway, i love her voice. My favorite song is obviously the happy “Je veux”, but also “Eblouie Par La Nuit”, that instead is really sad.

    I love special and unusual voices. For example now in France have a new young star, that is “coeur de pirate”. A really special and sweet voice. Do you know her?


  16. Veronique, loved your blog! Love ZAZ, she’s amazing, too! You’re involved with four of my passions in life: English, French, music and traveling. What’s not to like about your blog. Congratulations!!!
    Have you ever heard of Anne Limpscomb? She’s also from Seattle and, due to a health condition, lives part-time in Paris every year. I also love her videos and blog.

  17. Bonjour Veronique, j’adore votre blog! I realize this is an older post but I found it because I was looking for Zaz…I love French music and I think she’s great ! I’ve been studying French language for two years in anticipation of a long vacation in France later this year. I hope to read more of your stories here ! Merci beaucoup !

    Jetgirl visiting via Forty, c’est Fantastique

  18. i listened to her song at the end of the Movie ” Dead Man Down” and since then cannot stop to listen to here songs, on you tube, day and night, ever since.

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Happy Birthday, French Girl!

Happy Birthday, French Girl!

Warning: This post includes champagne, chocolate, lots of laughs…and a green dog! I am très fatiguée. Exhausted, even. Just coming out of the famous celebration known as “Veroni-kkah.” What do you mean you have never heard of it? Well, let me fill you in. A few days ago, I celebrated my birthday. It started over…

34 Responses to Happy Birthday, French Girl!

  1. It seems that you had a fantastic week and all kinds of reasons to forget the obviously lousy weather!
    We celebrated also St. Patrick (my son’s name), but didn’t paint the dog! 🙂

    • Ah! Would love to see the new Eiffel Tower. You can never have too many of those. Virginia would agree (see her comment below!) I have already seen the movie three times, and I keep noticing cool details. I might have to watch it once again, for good measure!

  2. OH now that was a fun day. I think a French bulldog is DEFINITELY in your future. ANd about la Tour Eiffel on the table. I think it needs to fly to B’ham and join my ever growing collection, svp!

    Bonne anneversaire chère amie,

  3. You threw back your head and laughed at Seattle’s weather – bravo!! The Frenchies are adorable and the one you are holding even has a smile. I am fairly familiar with Seattle but do not know about your restaurant, but I do speak “Kir Royal!” Your adventure with Kaydee looks like fun and I love how the quality of the photos changed ever so slightly after the KRs – hah!

    Wish that I could have been there to help you celebrate, and I agree that a birthday should be enjoyed for as long as possible, a week minimum. So, I am wishing you a few more days at least of Veroni-kkah… joyeaux anniversaire, mon amie!


  4. He ben, quel bel anniversaire!Happy belated birthday, chère Veronique! (j’aurais pu te le souhaiter plus tôt, mais ma sidebarre n’affiche plus tes nouveaux posts! 🙁 )
    Je n’ai jamais assisté à une presentation de chiens comme celle là, et je crois qu’il faudrait m’en arracher, tellement je me régalerais à papouiller les toutous! :).Les bateaux , j’adore , pour de multiples raisons.Et la pluie me manque , donc pour moi tu as eu un anniversaire idéal! :o)
    Je parle parfois de livres sur mon autre blog (, tu y trouveras peut-être des idées pour ta tablette Nook.
    Et j’adore ce film de Woody Allen!
    Bref, à lire ton anniversaire, j’ai l’impression d’avoir eu un peu une fête aussi! :o)
    Bises niçoises à ajouter à tes cadeaux!

  5. Désolée for your Blogger woes and hope they will soon be resolved. In the meantime, “Happy Belated Birthday!!” Does that mean you are a Poisson? Perhaps that is why you have adapted so well to the wet weather in Seattle.

    I celebrated a rather significant (as in the beginning of a new decade) birthday in early February (I am Verseau.) I was a bit upset at first, but decided to toast the occasion w/a Kir Royal (or 2 or 3). Yet again, we have something very special in common.

    I have a Kir every evening before dinner. Do you know its history? You might enjoy one of my blog posts from last year:

    • Bonjour M-T. Oui, je suis “Poisson, ascendant Lion.” A Kir Royal (or two, or three,) is ALWAYS a good idea. 😉 I will visit your post about that delicious drink tonight. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction… A bientot!

  6. Dearest Véronique,

    Happy belated and forever going on Birthday! Isn’t that the truth if you receive cards from different continents, it does extend your birthdays!
    Lovely post and I hope you will resolve the problems with Blogger!
    Love to you,


  7. Happy belated birthday. Sounds you had a grand party. By the way we own a 150 pound newfie named Abbi and she is the sweetest thing ever. Actually, has to start out every night on our bed before she retires to the shower where she sleeps because its cooler than the carpet in our room. Bonne journee.

  8. I’m sure that only French Girl could organize such a wonderful birthday for herself and for her loved ones to enjoy. At least I wouldn’t say no to all the joys that you have described 🙂

  9. Oh my! That is way too much fun for words Veronique! Happy late Birthday lady. I don’t have to wish you an awesome one. You already had an awesome b-day!;) I believe, I also have a picture on the same piggy at the Pike Market…I also believe, umm I was very And those little frenchy bull dogs – are too cute!! They almost hurt my feelings. Have a great weekend!

    • Dear Dash– Thank you for stopping by. You did not miss my posts. Blogger made it impossible for ANYONE to see them over the last three weeks. Problem fixed as of last night (not thanks to Blogger though.) A bientot!

  10. Salut, Véronique! I found you via Peter’s Paris, and have only read a few of your posts. But I love your humor, your sense of fun, your positive outlook under dreary skies, and your fabulous pig-riding skills. I just had to comment because my dearest and I are currently planning our next Big Trip for the Pacific Northwest…and I have a feeling if I stick around, I might get some great ideas of where to spend our time. Because you know, being French means you have impeccable taste. 😉

    • Salut et bienvenue chez French Girl! Thank you for your kind comments and vote of confidence. Let me know when your trip gets closer. If I have not succumbed to a case of S.A.D. [a result of permanently grey skies] I will be happy to give you some pointers! A bientot!

  11. Oh I can’t believe I missed your birthday Veronique, belated wishes. It sounds like you had the very best time with all your girfriends..You would have loved to be here in Perth last week, there was a boat show at my favorite spot Sorrento Quay, oh la la some of the yachts were magnificent, but they cost more than a three bedroom maison! The dog show sounded like fun, did you see the movie ‘Best in Show’ about the goings on at dog shows,it’s so funny! Well I certainly learnt something tonight..Dobermans eat BANANAS, who knew!! I see in your photo ‘The Paris Wife’ is this a book or a movie, whichever I definitely want to either read or see it. Keep on keeping on enjoying your birthday, why not!!

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55 Responses to The Negresco, Nice: The Museum-Hotel (French icons series)

    • I’ve moved to France from Italy last July, exactly in Nice. I feel very lucky, indeed, not only because I live in a very beautiful part of France (and as I understand, highly coveted ;-)), but mostly because I have the opportunity to discover this beautiful country that often I find in your posts . =)

    • Thanks for the follow! 😉

      I don’t know if my bad English can help (I hope so), but every post on my blog has also an English version (simply scroll down). I think it’s easier for you than learn Italian! ;-D

      However, if you prefer, some friends commenting in French and also I equally answer in French, but I’m still not so good as to write my post in French! I do a lot of mistakes! =P

  1. Merci pour la dédicace (et le lien)! D’accord, on “echange” une visite au Negresco contre une virée aux Hauts de Cagnes.:o)
    En fait , je suis entrée une fois au Negresco, avec une amie allemande. Elle disait que tous les touristes allaient y faire un tour,pour eux c’etait normal. Nous , à Nice, on est peut-être trop respectueux, je ne sais pas , mais peu de Niçois y vont. Pour en revenir à Mme Augier, oui, une sacrée personnalité! elle a fait aussi scandale il y a qq années par qu’elle militait activement contre la corrida, et avait accroché un panneau geant sur les façades de l’hotel!
    Encore un tres joli post, et je suis contente que tu montres à tes lecteurs autre chose que Paris de la France.
    Bonne semaine!

  2. Love that picture of the Ritz Paris! We have a trip planned for Paris in June and I am beyond excited as it will be my first trip. These are wonderful photographs filled with all kinds of great information – and a fun story.

    Happy Birthday to YOU!! Thank you for stopping by today and leaving the personal comment. I’m am following you and look forward to your next post 🙂


    • Bonjour Leslie. Thank you for your message. I understand why you are excited about your upcoming trip. I will be going to Paris in June as well. This won’t be my first time, but I am excited all the same 😉

  3. This is such a wonderful post. It was, in fact, quite délicieux. I felt as if I were sitting down to a wonderful meal with old friends whom I have yet to meet.

    My parents married in Toulon and honeymooned in Nice, although not in such a magnificent palace as the Negresco.

    • I have not made a visit to Nice, although my husband (a devout francophile and “almost” francophone) would love to spend some time in the côte d’azur, particulalry Monaco. He did business with Princess Grace’s brother, Jack, in Philadelphia and was very fond of him — what a lovely man he was. I have always felt a special bond with Grace because I grew up in Philadelphia, which is Kelly territory.

    • Ah Monaco. I did write a review of the place last August. I would not let your husband read it before he arrives, though 😉 Grace Kelly is a favorite on this blog where she makes frequent appearances. Don’t forget to stop by chez French Girl in May. You should be happy 😉

    • Ouf! I checked out your August piece and am so glad I did…clearly not what I had dreamed of for so long…a bit of a “douche froide” so to speak. Still, the pictures were wonderful, “comme d’habitude,” particularly those of the tourists (“quelle horreur!!”). Thought you might enjoy my brush with fame à la Grace Kelly in a previous post:

      I will stop by in May, if not not frequently before.

      A bientôt, M-T

  4. Gosh, watching the video I hope I look half as good as Jeanne Augier at 89 yrs. What an amazing Lady and what an incredible life she has led! I enjoyed this post so very much, I do think that the after the war years seemed to be very elegant, I guess everyone was so tired of the drudgery of war, that they wanted to celebrate in every way. Well Veronique, I know where I’m headed the minute I win that elusive lotto, I’ll let Malyss and yourself know as soon as that happens oui!

  5. This is so wonderful. I love this hotel although I never ventured to the executive floor, lol! The history is fascinating and the photos gorgeous. My last siting of the Negresco was of it decorated at Christmas in 2008 along with the whole main drag. Breathtaking. Oh, you’re making me homesick.


  6. Ah Véronique quel post super! I really enjoyed learning about the famous Négresco hotel. I have walked by it several time and taken its outside picture but never been inside – it must be a feast to the eye. I am also pleased that France is strong in historic preservation and made it a Historic Monument of France.

    • Bonsoir Vagabonde. It’s amazing the number of people who have told me they have walked past the building without peeking inside! Truth be told, I noticed the hotel staff “screens” people at the door, especially people who are not dressed properly. The last thing they want is to have a bunch of flip-flop clad tourists shooting away at the Eiffel ceiling in the middle of the “Salon Royal.” I get that. 😉

  7. The hotel cat is something else.
    I am going through a phase of watching Babylon Hotel. I’m learning many interesting things about hotels. You have added many interesting details to my collection of hotel knowledge.

  8. You have taken me to two places calling my name: Nice (to have a visit with Malyss) and the Hemingway Bar. You, Malyss, and I can enjoy a nice déjeuner at Negresco. Let’s invite Grace, and perhaps Madame Augier could stop by our table… le sigh


  9. Hello Veronica

    I love this post. We had our honeymoon in Nice – 31 years ago. We stayed at the Hyatt and visited the Negresco for lunch and drinks. ( Also the Ritz Carlton in Cannes). I loved this hotel so very much and how marvelous that it shall continue due to Madame Augier’s careful and strategic planning.

    Thanks for this journey

    Helen xx

    • Bonjour Helen. Thank you for stopping by. I see you are one of the happy fews who actually went inside the Negresco and enjoyed some of its amenities. I am due for lunch next time I go there (I might even book it inside le Chantecler…) One day, maybe, a room on the Executive Floor 😉 – A bientot!

  10. Another delightful tale that only you can weave. What a fabulous place as is most everything there. I wonder if our Jilly has had any meetings with Madame as she is an avid animal rights supporter and takes in rescue pups as well.

  11. What a story Veronique! I was around last August but haven’t even dare to enter.
    It’s surely a crown jewel of Cote d’Azur, recognasied as a National treasure at last.
    Authenticity is as rear as a pure diamond.
    Thank you.

  12. Bonjour Veronique! I just found your blog through Becoming Madame… I am also a French teacher writing in English so i am looking forward to following your adventures!

    Also, I found great inspiration on your teaching website as I am in the process of quitting my job to become an independent teacher. Thanks!

  13. Oh my gosh! I want to go there! And you are right when you say 2 days at such a place is much more magnificent a vacation than a week at a spa. No question about that. What a gorgeous, marvelous place with so much charm and authenticity! The art! The history! The beauty! I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for Madame Augier though i don’t know her. What a wonderful thing she has created with her Foundation. Her critics can bite it. (pardon the expression!) 🙂 And the dome! The chandelier! Sigh. Maybe someday i can meet Carmen the kitty. And the idea that this luxury place is pet friendly makes me love it all the way around. What a place. I could go on all night, so i best stop now. Thank you for such a great post. I truly savored it. Mary

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  15. Great post. The Negresco is one of the grand dames of Nice. How nice to be able to peek inside. As much as we love food, we had planned to eat at the Chantecler when we were in Nice, but were intimidated by the menu posted outside. Now I’m sorry we didn’t venture in. Loved the story of Jeanne Augier too.

    Merci beaucoup,

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48 Responses to A Mexican Getaway (Puerto Vallarta, Part 2)

  1. Tu avais largement de quoi faire trois posts, un sur les Burton, un sur l’ecole, et le dernier sur les chiens.Les trois parties sont riches, interessantes, dures à commenter en quelques lignes . Ah ,pouvoir discuter avec toi de vive voix, te poser toutes les questions sur tes rencontres, les lieux visités,, parler cinema..En résumé, tu as passé des vacances belles,et enrichissantes humainement et emotionellement, et qui donnent envie.ET en plus, j’adore ton chihuahua!:o)

    • Tu as raison Malyss. J’aurais pu faire durer un peu ma serie sur Puerto Vallarta, et puisque tu parles d’echanger de vive voix, il est question que je passe par Nice fin juin. Je te ferai signe, bien entendu!

  2. What a great post! As I shared before, we have been to Puerto Vallarta but had no idea about the connection the town has to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. I enjoyed the pictures of the school and children too. Have a great week.

  3. This was transfixing, Veronique. A very heartfelt, generous, enchanting POV from many angles–from International celebs to fleabag pooches. What a marvelous journey to a fabulous place! Thanks for taking us along!

  4. Hola Veronique! Thanks for taking me back to PV – we actually stayed at the Hacienda San Angel last year — our friends got married there, it was absolutley a dream, and I’ll have to pop over to read Suzanne’s story.

    Being there for a wedding celebration was a lot different than your experience, and I appreciate seeing the other side of life there. Thanks for telling us about your scholarship experience. And the dogs, they melted my heart, as well. XO

    • You lucky dog! I would love to stay at the Hacienda San Angel one day. Maybe I will have to splurge for one night during our next visit. I can’t wait to see my old friends the Puerto Vallarta pooches again 😉

  5. What wonderful experiences you have had! Seeing local life and getting to know the locals always leads to a richer experience, I think. I too am a big dog lover…love your photos (and the one you brought home!) 🙂

  6. What a cool souvenir(ceramic chihuahua) from this epic trip. Wonderful post. =) I didn’t know the story about Taylor and Burton…neat shot of you near the same bridge! What an experience it must have been to have visited this school. I know, I would have had a hard time going back to the resort too. Have a great week Veronique. =)

  7. Dearest Véronique,

    What a joy to read all this! I had no idea you came to study in Atlanta through Rotary. We do host each year with our east Georgia district, the GRSP = Georgia Rotary Student Programme where numerous students from around the world study one year at college. All paid for by Rotary and they do stay with a guest family on holidays. During the annual conferences they used to perform during the banquette evening. I remember one girl, no father, from east-east Russia who got in 2 days enough money for completing one more college year and they let her Mama come over for a visit. Brings tears to your eyes! So your trip was very special in that regard!!! Education is for Pieter and myself THE most important thing in life.
    Iguanas, oh we lived with them in Curaçao as well and the palm trees. Did you know that Saint Martin is half French and half Dutch; Sint Maarten? That is another island where we went twice before.
    You know that we only changed this plan last minute? We had tickets for 9 days to go to México, to visit with our boss/Friend Agustin and Carmen their new home in Puerto Escondido, the south west of México. For a penalty of $ 300.00 we flew instead to Curaçao due to the grave condition Agustin’s Father suddenly was in, health-wise…. It turned out to be a lovely vacation anyway and we were grateful that our 70,000 frequent flyer miles still got honored. Only the trip back was long, 15 hours from hotel to our home. That is also due to the fact that it was a frequent flyer mile ticket. But we made it, in bed by 3:00 AM and in a couple of days we will adjust to normal life again.
    Okay, as for the Blogger interface, I use the old one, as a pop-up so not all the photos and gadgets do have to load also. Saves time for those that want to comment.
    Love to you and as for the dogs, cute but during our many travels all through Mexico for work at the different locations, we noticed that there are many stray dogs…


    • Thank you for your visit and for your help with Blogger today. So you and your husband belong to the GRSP, the wonderful group of people who financed my college year abroad so many years ago. MERCI BEAUCOUP! There were only two French students chosen that year, and I was one of them! 😉 On another note, I am dying to see St Martin one day. I have heard a lot about it, and I am very curious to visit an island “with a dual personality!” 😉
      A bientot, Mariette.

  8. Chère Veronique,

    What a generous, animal loving, humanitarian you are, but I already knew all of that…

    Your journal of a vacation adventure was stunning and thought-provoking. Thanks for all the stories and insight to the other side of a vacation spot. I will hold these places in my heart.


    • Merci beaucoup Genie. I don’t know if I am a humanitarian, but I, and many other children and young people around the world, have already benefited from the generosity of wonderful organizations like the Rotary Club! I am glad I got to say “thank you” through this story. Visiting that small school surrounded by the jungle was one of the highlights of our trip.

    • Merci beaucoup miss b. Funny how the Burtons are long gone, but we all still love hearing or reading about them. They were a true celebrity couple (unlike some of the tramps making the news these days…)

  9. Thank you Veronique for taking us along for an unforgettable journey. Les boys won’t forget this visit to local school no doubt.
    And the story Burton/Taylor is full of action. I learned a lot from your post, I didn’t know this chapter of their turbulent life.
    It was a very fulfilling vacation and having seen the sidebar cities you had lived in, you’re a 5 Stars traveler.

    • Merci Natalie. There is so much to write about all the places where the famous Burtons lived their chaotic love stories! I know of at least three more, but I have heard Casa Kimberley was probably their favorite place to be. I certainly understand! 😉

  10. Fun post. We’ve never been to Puerto Vallarta, just San Miguel and Oaxaca – both beautiful areas. Thanks for taking us along with all the great photos and detailed dialog. Love my visits here. ~ Sarah

  11. How fascinating. A wonderful account of your trip and the history of Puerto Vallarta. I had no idea of the Burton’s and Huston’s involvement in the town’s past!

    Art by Karena

  12. Have you read Furious Love?! I think you would love it! It’s about Liz & Dick’s tumultuous romance. Puerto Vallarta is prominantly featured in it and includes the stories you mentioned here. I remember reading locals abhorred the couple, because they would have wild parties and drunken “orgies” that were incredibly loud and disrupt the peaceful village. (During the shooting of that movie, at least).

    I think it’s incredibly cool you got to go see the house and take a photo there. I’m envious! I’m sad that it is in such a state of disrepair! I wish someone would fix it up and perhaps turn it back into a museum…

    • That’s perfect Jenny. Furious Love has been added to my reading list 😉 I am guessing that La Liz and Dick spent a lot of time with other expats in PV and shocked the heck out of locals! I also heard that they had some ties with the community: They gave a lot of money to charities and even “adopted” a local boy who later traveled the world with them. He has become a renowned photographer. If I had the time and the Pesos, I would LOVE to refurbish Casa Kimberley and turn it into a bed and breakfast (next week’s story will explain why… ) Bye, friend.

  13. MA CHÈRE AMIE!!!

    Bonjour! Quel joli billet et souvenir de tes vacances! Tu sais, mon père est né au Mexique dans un petit village, fondé par ces ancêtres de l’Espagne…et lui, mon père n’a pas fini l’école. Il était très intelligent et doué de talents, mais notre culture ne permet pas à tous les enfants de finir leurs études.

    AHHHH! Nous avons beaucoup en commun!!! SUPER! Merci pour tes commentaires si enthusiastes et gentils Véronique! Et je te souhaite une année scolaire formidable. La mienne et fatiguante!!!!


    • Bonjour Anita. Quelle coïncidence. Je ne savais pas que ton papa était mexicain! Je compte retourner au Mexique très bientôt. C’est vraiment un beau pays! En attendant, bon courage à l’école. Mes élèves sont un peu plus calmes que les tiens: ce sont des adultes! 😉

  14. I enjoyed your post about Puerto Vallarta. We had a lovely visit to nearby Punta Mita last year for a friend’s wedding.

    I also have a Rotary connection – many years ago, I was one of their summer exchange students. I requested France, but was given Finland instead. Although I was initially disappointed, I made lifelong friends in Finland and even hosted my friend’s daughter as an exchange student last year. And I eventually made it to Rouen, France as a college exchange student. Some things take time!

    Loved the dog pictures – they are everywhere in Mexico!

    • Bonjour Erika. It is a small world, isn’t it? I had no idea you were a former Rotary scholar as well. Glad you made it to France, eventually 😉 The life-long friendships that come out of international exchanges enrich our lives and make the world a better place. Don’t you think living in a foreign country (preferably with locals) should be a requirement for all college students?

  15. What a brilliant holiday, what wonderful story about the very glamorous Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, what passion they had! I remember seeing John Houston when we took David and Aimee on a trip to Dunk Island which is just off the NE coast on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef ( was such a fabulous place back then, a very non commercialized tropical island. J’adored your pictures of the local dog population, how anyone cannot love dogs (and animals in general) I don’t know. I think this was a very rewarding trip for your whole family Veronique, always a good thing.

    • Welcome back Grace. I read your message too fast and thought you had seen John Huston on “DRUNK Island” 😉 It did not even surprise me at first, and that says a lot about his reputation. No wonder he was good friends with the Burtons! As for the Puerto Vallarta dogs, I wish I could have brought them home with me. It would have been impossible to choose, even though I must confess the sight of the beat-up rescue pit-bull (the mellowest of them all) brought tears to my eyes. May he enjoy a long, peaceful life (and I will keep to myself what I wish for the jerks who put him in the fighting ring in the first place.)
      Bon weekend!

  16. Hello Veronique

    I enjoyed this post very much and will be reading your previous post shortly. Travel is not wasted on you!!! You travel with eyes wide open. You observe and refrain from judging. Wonderful and how beautiful that you left Puerta Vallarta better than when you found it.

    You are a wonderful ambassador for America and France. Bravo!!!

    Helen xx

    • Well… I do not know what to say (an unusual occurrence for me, as my friends could attest 😉 Merci beaucoup Helen. I do enjoy traveling and learning new things along the way. I am grateful that this visit to Mexico offered so many opportunities to do so! Bon weekend (and good luck with the painting “stealth operation”!)

  17. Chere Veronique,
    I’ve finally had the chance to sit quietly and catch up on my favorite thing, blog reading. And I’m so happy to have read this post without distractions. I love the story of the pink bridge. It sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it? I’ll tell P-Daddy.
    But my favorite part was your visit to the Mexican school. I would love to start an international pen pal group so that children can learn and see the differences around the world and feel appreciative and grateful for the resources and opportunities that not every one is given. Is there danger in PV like in other places in Mexico at this time? As a Texan who doesn’t like walls and fences I feel for my neighboring country and its people. It makes me want to cry to think of the lost chances and opportunities in all those lives. Beautiful post. What a perfect lesson for Junior and his friend. And for the rest of us too.

  18. Visiting a Mexical school is the part of your post that absorbed me the most. I don’t know very much about life in that country, but learning about different lifestyles is one of the most important aspects of my life. I’m very proud that you made an international pen-pal group part of your family activities.

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