Introducing Vicki Archer
Since the move in 2000 the property near Saint-Rémy has been completely renovated. The project was covered in Vicki’s first book, My French Life and you can take a peek inside to see how the Mas de Berard has been styled on her website.
Vicki’s dressing table is groaning with pretty French perfume bottles, the salon is filled with light and warmth (thanks in part to the large stone fireplace) and the bedrooms are furnished with what look like antiques.
The garden is green but for some tufts of lavender and its shady spots provide the perfect place to curl up on a comfy chair with one of Vicki’s books… Or perhaps write a new one, if you are Vicki.
Looking after the olive grove also takes some work. Vicki planted it herself. There are some 2,000 trees in total and it can take up to a month to harvest all the fruit they can produce. Lucky then than she has a husband and three children to help her!
French Essence is Vicki’s second book, about her love affair with France. For a taste of what’s in store, why not take a look at her illustrated blog? Keen to find out about her latest project and what it’s like to be an Australian in France, FrenchEntrée spoke to the lady herself:
Are you writing a book at the moment?
I am enjoying blogging and putting my energies into that. Blogging is such a fun forum to work in because it is instant and a blog reflects your mood on any given day. French Essence, the blog also allows me to work at a more relaxed pace. Having said that, there is nothing as fulfilling as seeing a writing project through to publication, so I would never say never…
Did you work as a writer in Australia?
I started writing in 2005 with my first book My French Life. Writing was something that I loved to do and still do on a daily basis. The more you practice the easier it becomes to express your ideas. I have a fascination with words so it is always a challenge to find just the right word or to search for a phrase that will engage the reader and make them feel connected.
What do you miss?
I miss my family and friends most of all. Sydney, where I grew up is renowned for its beautiful beaches. I miss the feeling of the sand beneath my toes and the sting of the salt water as you dive under the waves. Truthfully, I think I miss the water more than I acknowledge but the beauty of Europe and in particular France makes up for that. I am fortunate to return to Australia each year.
Why did you choose to move to Provence?
My love affair with France began as a little girl. For whatever reason I felt at home in this foreign country and hoped that one day I would be able to spend more time here. Provence appealed because of it’s natural beauty, traditions and relaxed way of life. In 1999 my family and I fell in love with an abandoned fruit farm in Saint Rémy de Provence and that changed everything.
What advice would you give a fellow Australian thinking of moving to France?
Research as much as possible and seek professional advice before leaping into the great unknown. The administrative system in France is very different from that in Australia and a working knowledge of this is important. Having said that, I believe that a dream, however big or small, is something to follow.