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A room with a view or, if you like, une chambre avec une scène.  Read on in today's story, by guest blogger Lynn McBride.

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 Lié, e (lee-ay) adjective  

    : to be friendly with, close to, attached to


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 In the news... 

(headline) L'acteur vedette des films "Twilight" lié à Dracula par le sang‎. Robert Pattinson et Vlad Dracula sont semble-t-il liés par le biais de la famille royale britannique.
The star of the "Twilight" films linked to Dracula by blood. Robert Pattinson and Vlad Dracula are, it seems, linked by means of the British Royal Family.

Love and a Tarte Tatin
                                                  ... by Lynn McBride

A French window is a thing of beauty.  First there is the satisfying experience of turning a heavy, twisted iron handle.  Then with both arms you draw the windows toward you and suddenly, with no screen between you and the sky, you are truly outside, leaning into the sunshine.  From high in the château we live in, the view below--a patchwork of lush pastures with their leafy borders and white Charolais cows--is like a framed, living painting on our smooth stone wall.  

My husband Ron and I have become bien lié with Nicole and Pierre, the owners of this château.  When we decided to move to France several years ago, we were lucky enough to stumble into a fantasy life in a fairy tale castle in southern Burgundy with this extraordinary couple we’ve come to love, who have oriented us, taught us some French, and educated us about French food.  

And if food equals love, then love at the Château de Balleure is a tarte tatin

Tarte tatin.  Even the words, as they roll off your tongue, are delicious. The first time I ever heard of this warm, caramelized, topsy turvey apple pie was many years ago, when my husband sent me to a cooking class at the Cordon Bleu in Paris for my birthday.  When Monsieur le Chef announced that we would be making that iconic dessert, the woman next to me, a food writer, began almost dancing in her chair.  “Can you believe it?” she whispered excitedly in my ear.  “A tarte tatin!”  But now that I’ve had both, I must tell you this: that famous chef’s version couldn’t hold a candle to the one Nicole makes. 

 Nicole ron
                                          Lynn's husband, Ron, with Nicole.
The table in Nicole and Pierre’s dining room at the Château de Balleure is an imposing walnut affair, in a bright, grand room with dark wood beams. We’ve had many a fine meal there, but there are certain rules:  Ron, who is habitually spoiled by Nicole, has his own chair, at Nicole’s right.  And if we are invited to dine, even with a large group, there is tarte tatin for dessert.  This tradition started the very first time she served us her specialty, and Ron said, “Nicole, why would you ever make any other dessert?”  And with that clever comment, we have scored our favorite dish at every shared meal.

It was with great trepidation that I asked her to share her famous recipe. But Nicole, always generous, agreed, and Dear Reader, you are to be privy to her secrets.  Serve it hot, with cream, to someone you love. 

Go to www.southernfriedfrench.com today to find Nicole’s recipe.  Also on the menu at Southern Fried French:  the sweet little history of tarte tatin and the Tartin sisters.

6a0105365b2c1c970c0133eceb1210970b-800wiLynn McBride is a former magazine editor for Better Homes & Gardens who moved to Burgundy from Charleston, South Carolina. She and her husband serendipitously landed in a medieval château with a French couple, where she’s busy learning about language, French cooking, and the good life in France. You can subscribe to her weekly blog, with a recipe, at Southern Fried French (www.southernfriedfrench.com).

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

As my friend Stacy says: Comments are the "icing on the cake". Thanks for making this edition even sweeter by leaving a response to today's story, here, in the comments box. 

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One more of Lynn's beautiful photos.... 



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Bill in St. Paul

Lynn, I think you've got the ideal situation that every Francophile would love to find. Your description of opening the French windows brings back many a memory of staying in older hotels (the new hotels don't have that nice squeak of iron on iron that the old windows have). You're a lucky couple to have found Nicole and Pierre.

ann ceraldi

Ahh! I would love to follow in your footsteps! I am not actually living in Charleston at the moment, but my daughter is. I am in South Carolina, about 3 hours from Charleston. I envy you the French food (although Charleston has its own charms) and the screenless windows--and the lack of BUGS! I'll bet you don't have the humidity of the deep south there either! I would love to hear the story of how you ended up where you are....will check out your blog. Thanks for an enjoyable read!


Dear Lynn,

Stumbling upon an apartment on the top of a medieval castle owned by that delightful couple who restored it, was, I guess, “la chance unique de votre vie – à prendre, ou à laisser” … and you took it! How wonderful to live "dans un appartement niché en haut d'un joli château"! A fairy tale, but "pour de vrai".

"Oh! La belle vie"!
...." de quoi faire envie et de quoi faire rêver bien des amoureux de la France"!
Thank you for sharing "la splendide vue verdoyante", taken from one of your windows!

So nice to hear about Nicole and "la Tarte Tatin". I knew the story about it and I have to admit I did try once to bake the famous upside down sort of pie... but... I didn't get a good result and never tried it again.
Mille mercis pour tous les détails de la bonne recette.

Salutations cordiales à Nicole et Pierre and all the very best to you and your husband.

Debbie Ambrous

Dear Lynn,
I am so happy to have the Tarte Tatin recipe. Mine is much more complicated. I am one of those southern ladies and I use the cast iron frying pan. It's good for so many dishes. Congratulations on landing in such a lovely place in France and I enjoyed your writing very much also.

Karen (in Towson, Md) Whitcome

Miam, miam!! I was hoping that Nicole would let you share that recipe as my mouth began to water with the progression of the story. Your photos are lovely and Nicole looks as sweet as her treat. I wonder how The Ritz did it differently.

You are certainly living the life of my dreams. I had a friend named Connie McBride who had a sister named Lynn. The family moved from Maryland to the south. Any chance you are the same?

Going over to read your blog now. Thank you so much for sharing that recipe! ... and for adding this the "France, take me away" story to our daydreams.

joie  carmel,ca

A wonderful story. I have Swiss friends who live in the Alps outside Flims and everytime I visit the last meal she makes is her gnocchi. I have tried the tarte tatin, but will go on line and try hers. I love to cook. There is a book called "Tarte Tatin" written by a Francophile. Actually when I think about it, it could be Kristin in some ways...a delightful book. Seeing the Charolais out the window reminds me of some of my travels there....oh, I so much need to return. Joie Lynn

Karen (in Towson, Md) Whitcome

I just bought a Kindle. Do you know if I can receive French Word-a-Day or Southern Fried French on it?


Bonjour Lynn!
I so envy you your French dream! I read your post to French-Word-a-Day this morning and navigated from there to your site. Then, I quickly read through every one of your "blobs" and subscribed to your weekly message.
You are SO talented - it is not surprising to discover that you are an incredible cook and homemaker since you are a former editor for Better Homes & Gardens. Since you have been an editor, it is not even too surprising that you have a knack for writing very enjoyable stories. But it is your photos that are truly amazing. Each one is more beautiful, and beautifully composed, than the last!
I immediately sent your link to two friends of mine -- a French cook in Tucson who makes a most delicious tarte tatin and a girlfriend in Alaska who absolutely adores them!
Your recipe for the French salad dressing made me smile. I stay with some friends in Annecy when I visit France, and I begged the recipe for the classic dressing in the moutarde jar. I keep one in my fridge now too, full of the amazing flavors!
I look forward to seeing your weekly message in my mailbox. Merci, merci, merci! Jacki in Boise, ID

Kristin - thank you for sharing Lynn's story and one more way to keep in touch with les rêves de vie française!


I just want to say that I just subscribed to this blog and I LOVE IT!!! thank you! I also have a request, this doesn't have anything to do with today's story, but is there any French music that you will recommend, I love everything that is French (I live in Utah) and when we have our meals every day I like to have some french music (that keeps me dreaming of France), so far I only have Ratatouille and la vie en rose with Edith Piaf, I really appreciate any recommendations. Thank you soooo much!!!


Love French-Word-A-Day and now SouthernFriedFrench. Try Francis Cabrel's album "Les Beaux Degats."
Will be visiting France in September. Can't wait!!

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Wonderful writing about a wonderful way of life, thank you Lynn! What a blessing for Nicole and Lynn to share the recipe with us. Thank you!!!

Kristi, you and your FWAD bless my life in untold ways! Yes, the icing on the sweet cake of life.

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Oh, missed Lynn's last photo the first time around...cosmos(?) and the castle! Wow, lovely!

Nicole lidji

LOVED reading about Lynn ,Ron and Nicole .
Went into Lynn blog and promptly made the salad dressing !
The pictures are beautiful . Always dreamed of living in a medieval
chateau !
Thank you !!!


After these lovely comments... maybe Lynn will be back for another article at some point? Like many of you, I too made the salad dressing (see the southernfriedfrench.com site...) it was delicious (with honey)! And a little bird told me that Newforest was off to the store for some apples... I'll bet a tarte tatin is in the oven there...

Thank you so much, Lynn, for your story. Please say hello to Nicole, Pierre, and Ron, bien sûr!

Karen -- thanks for getting the Kindle! I'm not sure if French Word-A-Day is on there. I remember looking into it... but getting stuck before some obstacle or another. Your note motivates me to try again!

Happy weekend to all.

Laurel Guadazno

I echo the sentiments of everyone else. Thank you for sharing your story with those of us dreaming France but spending the summer working.


A lovely blog. You are right about the windows -- they are a feature of French houses that are enormously appealing. Our blog this week features a watercolour of a couple of windows that you might enjoy. Plus a few musings on "franglais" that French word-a-day folks might appreciate.


Jules Greer

Dearest Lynn, You are just as beautiful as I
remember the first time we met. I was covered with dirt from gardening and you were a vision of grace and charm. As I walked off to find Kristi for you I was struck by the peace which radiated from you and amazed by the strength in your husbands hand as we shook. What a first impression you two made in my memory, steel and silk.
When I later talked with Kristi she was smitten with instant love and awe...she had
found a new and inspiring friend. We have remained your two biggest fans ever since.




Lynn, Love the picture with you and a basket of... are they hydrangeas? Just beautiful, whatever they are. This was a great little piece. As always, I can't wait to hear more.

Rod Crislip

I suggest Tarte Tatin aux poires from Patricia Wells Bistro cooking.I prefer the pears to apples.

Joan Linneman

apprivoiser: "creer des liens" Ch 21 le renard du Petit Prince Joan L.

Lynn McBride

I’ve just zipped over from Southern Fried French to read the comments on my guest blog (a bit late—I’ve got grandkids visiting, and all normal life stops, as some of you know). I’m overwhelmed and humbled by all the lovely comments. Merci, merci! You should all know that you’ve made my day.

A few specific responses: Idolina, I’ve got various and sundry French tunes on my ipod, but I’m always searching for good French music too. I’m certainly going to try Les Beaux Degats, which Peggy suggested, and I’m going to ask my French friends for recommendations for a future blog. Great idea!

Karen, as far as I know you can only get books on the Kindle, but I’m no expert. I’ll bet you can get Kristin’s book, Words in a French life, but not our blogs. (the blogs look great on my new ipad, though—a special birthday surprise from my husband!).

Rod, I love Patricia Well’s books, and Tarte Tatin with pears sounds like a fabulous idea, I’ll be trying it.

And dear Jules, I only met you briefly, but you made such an impression! As did your paintings. (and of course I feel I know you well, from the blog!). Thanks for the kind words and I hope we meet again.

Kristin, once again, it was great fun and thanks for the opportunity to connect with your readers!

judith dunn

You are one of theluckiestpeople I have ever read about.... libing your dream in a beautiful setting. I will be back in my beloved France in September 2011, this time instead of Provence... Burgundy...lovely Semur-en-Auxois. I have looked out many a window like yours and year so to do it again.... thanks for all your sensitive musings... they keep me connected... JD

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