Visit Donna on Facebook Follow Donna on Twitter
Donna 2.jpg

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

www.donnafletchercrow.com

Read More Articles:

Disney World Reflections Jane Austen Seashore Tour Japan Journey Kishanda Fulford Newsletter Posts by Fay Sampson Regency World Short Stories The Celtic Cross Series The Power of Story The Writing Life Trans-Canada Adventure Uncategorized Writers in France Then and Now

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History

 

Follow This Blog Subscribe to Newsletter

The Authorized Version

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History

A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.

Check out my books on Amazon

New Blog series: Writers in France, Then and Now, Villefranche

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 7, 2021

We were so fortunate. In late July of this year it seems that the planets aligned and a brief window opened after travel restrictions eased and before the Delta variant ramped up—and we managed to dash through like Alice through the looking-glass.

My granddaughter Jane had an interval between her ballet program at the Princess Grace School in Monaco and her return to her regular studies in Basel. My daughter-in-law Kelly and I were convinced she needed our chaperonage. Never mind that Jane was securely locked in during her time in Monaco and that she knows Switzerland far better than either one of us…

Kelly is a food writer with a Cordon Bleu Grand Diplome and since I am always on the look-out for all things literary, she crafted an itinerary perfectly suited to our interests. Now I am excited to take my readers along on our journey visiting the sites of literary figures and the tastes of exquisite food through France.

Site 1: Villefranche-sur-Mer for Somerset Maugham, one of my favorite writers. Maugham was born in the English embassy in Paris where his father worked. Orphaned at the age of 10, he was raised by an uncle in England. As an adult he travelled widely, but lived much of the time in France.

Maugham by Sutherland, Hotel Welcome

Poet-painter-playwright-film director Jean Cocteau was first. He so loved the Welcome Hotel that he simply chose to stay after his first visit. Cocteau invited many of his writer friends to visit, including Colette and Somerset Maugham.  Maugham so loved Villefranche that he purchased and remodeled the classical villa La Mauresque on the tip of the peninsula that forms the eastern side of Villefranche’s peaceful, sheltered harbor and lived there for the rest of his life.

A 15-minute train ride from Nice, where Kelly had rented our Mediterranean-view flat for the week, took us to the train station above Villefranche, and an 8-minute walk—all downhill—brought us to the hotel on the waterfront.

We sat on the glassed-in terrasse and ordered tea. I was delighted to discover that in France one is seldom served merely a cup of tea. In this case it was accompanied by tiny, crispy amaretti—in the hotel’s china bearing the signature and a drawing by Cocteau.

Later, we strolled to the peaceful harbor and ate a lunch of cheese, fruit and baguette we had purchased in the market that morning.

The only sound was the chirping of birds in nearby bushes and the lapping of water against hulls of the moored boats. It was, indeed, easy to understand why tiny Villefranche-sur-Mer had been a refuge and inspiration to so many writers and artists.

I had long named Maugham’s novels Of Human Bondage, The Painted Veil, and The Razor’s Edge, as favorites, as well as enjoying his short stories. But since “visiting” Maugham on the Riviera, and experiencing the food there, his short story “The Three Fat Women of Antibes” has become a great favorite. I invite my readers to take a few minutes to listen to this excellent recording, read by Andrew Wincott.

Savor Maugham’s wry sense of humor and his careful understanding of human nature. The theme of the transformative possibilities of food is similar to that wonderful movie "Babette's Feast." Perhaps you will come away, as I did, with a smile and a renewed belief in the importance of appreciating life’s good gifts—as Kelly and I did on our glorious carpe diem experience. If so, do remember, as we tried to do, to say a heartfelt “Thank you” every night.

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

www.donnafletchercrow.com

Read More: Writers in France Then and Now

Share This Post:

LinkedIn

Reader Comments:

Please share your comments
on this article:
Username:
Email address:
(will not be shown)

Blog Main Page

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.