Are We French Yet? by Keith Van Sickle


Keith and Val are at it again! Recording their life’s adventures in Provence. These part-time expats are immersing themselves deeper and deeper in the French way of life. But are they French yet?

If you can pass the French doctor test—the interrogation—and perhaps walk away with, not a prescription, but an invitation to a private wine tasting in one of the most famous wine villages of the world, you just might be French!

If you can subject yourself to the grueling pain that comes with learning the French language—the humiliation—and get to the point where you are fully conversational, you just might be French!

So are Keith and Val French yet? It doesn’t get anymore French than forming lifelong friendships with French people, characters such as Sophie and Jacques and Marie-France and Xavier, only these aren’t fictional characters but dear friends.

While Keith and Val’s life in Provence is what we dream of—outdoor markets, walks in the Alpilles, bike rides on lavender-scented country roads, and the best wine and food in the world at your fingertips—Keith takes us into a more in-depth look at the French culture and the people. We also get insider tips on the local region around the charming, lively little town of Saint-Rémy in the Alpilles—real Provence. Tips such as buying meat from a local butcher, where to buy good yet inexpensive wine, and the best picnic spots to enjoy the joie de vivre.

Are We French Yet? is filled with Keith’s usual wit and humor on the “idiosyncracies” of French life. But more than just fun, it inspires anyone trying to learn French not to give up but to keep working at it, even one word at a time.

What did I take away from the book most? I felt the hospitality of the French people as though I was experiencing it firsthand. It’s been said that “once a French person makes you their friend, you’re a friend for life.” And Keith and Val have certainly been enriched by that experience.

To enjoy the journey with Keith and Val, don’t miss out on this lighthearted yet inspirational read of Are We French Yet? here at Amazon.


A charming village in the Alpilles – Maussane-les-Alpilles



Le Clos de Rohan—A Hidden Retreat


Hidden high in the hills above the village of Rustrel lies a true Provençal oasis of tranquility. Enveloped by woods, hills, and fields of lavender, le Clos de Rohan is the Provence you are looking for. From the moment you enter the grounds, this soothing retreat will delight the senses, whisk away any stress, and calm any frazzled nerves.




Le Clos de Rohan is an 18th-century restored farmhouse with a bed and breakfast run by the gracious, hospitable owner Françoise, whose attention to detail does not go unnoticed. There are two beautiful two-story private suites with terraces overlooking a gorgeous pool and lavender field. These suites are located in a separate connecting building to the main house and are not your typical bed and breakfast rooms but really more like small gites.



Breakfast is a real delight, as Françoise presents a beautiful table with fine linen, quality china, and special little touches with lavender. Homemade jams, breads, croissants, fresh fruit, and honey produced from Francoise’s own bees await.

The ever gracious Françoise is available to answer any questions but never intrusive. This is a real private, secluded gem of a retreat. Located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department on the edge of the Luberon Regional Natural Park, le Clos de Rohan has received EU Ecolabel certification as the owners are committed to sustainable development and the use of renewable energy sources.

If you can bear to leave the peace and beauty of le Clos de Rohan, the nearby villages of Banon, Simiane-la-Rotonde, and Viens are all worth a visit. Or you can just drive around aimlessly through the beautiful lavender-filled countryside to discover what you discover. Sometimes no plan is the best plan. It leaves the thrill of discovery wide open.

À bientôt!

Maubec—Pure Enchantment


While I love the popular Luberon villages as much as the next person, I’m always on the hunt for the authentic, remote, captivating places that one just dreams about for years to come. I kept hearing mention of Maubec as a small, authentic French village and had it on my list of villages to visit one day. I was not disappointed. It made our top memorable evening experience of the trip! In fact, we returned two more times in a two-week period.

Old Maubec, sitting at the foot of the Luberon, is quiet, mysterious, peaceful; yet it is just minutes away from the bigger villages. It’s the type of place one would love to return to at the end of a day of sightseeing for peace and serenity.

For an unforgettable experience in ambiance, it is an absolute must to arrive in the evening for a simple, delicious meal at la Bergerie, which is a pizzeria with an outside terrace overlooking the vineyard and the picturesque baroque edifice illuminated at night. It is pure enchantment!


La Bergerie might not be a Michelin-starred restaurant, but the food is very good. Serving delicious, creative pizzas and hearty regional dishes, it’s the kind of place where locals go. In fact, we recognized the cook from a café in Gordes who was there eating with his family. But again, it’s the enchanting ambiance that is memorable.

Make sure to arrive before dinner to walk the mysterious cobblestone streets around the belfry. You will feel like you have gone back in time.

Pure enchantment indeed. À bientôt!

Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt—Unspoiled, Quintessential Provence


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Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt is a perfect Provençal village. Located in the Vaucluse department of Provence, it is a quiet, unspoiled village with spectacular views from the top. Walk the charming stone pathway to the ancient ruins above for a rewarding sight. It’s a … Continue reading