10 Oct 2013

Guess Who Is Coming To Le Petit Bijou

Le Petit Bijou - Vicki Archer

It’s been an amazing week for me…

The excitement of reaching 5 years of age in the blogosphere…

The announcement of the giveaway… a week’s stay at Le Petit Bijou in St Remy de Provence…


I have been overwhelmed by your wonderful support, your generous comments and the many many shares…

There are so many more who love France, who want to experience French life and who are committed Francophiles than I ever imagined…

I hope that new followers and readers who have found French Essence will stay so that we can get to know each other better…


 I am so happy to invite Carolyn Roney to visit Le Petit Bijou… she is the winner of this giveaway…

(I will be emailing you with details later today, Carolyn)

I wish I could invite you all… and in spirit I do…

Thank you so very much for celebrating with me… it’s made me think we should do this more often…. xv


VA In Your Inbox

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Dianne Micallef

Congratulations Carolyn you are one lucky lady..ENJOY, ENJOY and ENJOY…cheers!! :)


Congratulations, Carolyn! Just a smidge jealous :-). Hope you’ll tell us all about it!


If I could stop screaming and crying Vicki I would tell you how excited I am xxxxx

Anita@let's have lunch

That’s the way to do it Carolyn. After you have settled into the beautiful Le Petit Bijou you must have dinner at le bistrot decouverte My husband and I had the most perfect meal, recommended by Vicki, never
forgotten. We were told to leave after we drank all the Armagnac!! Enjoy every minute xx Anita

Caroline Newton

So happy that someone who is over the moon has won it. Enjoy every minute. I was lucky to get a tour of it two weeks ago when I met another Aussie in Remy who was staying there. It is in one word DEVINE just savour every minute. Caroline Newton, Adelaide, Australia


Oh I’m quite devastated that it wasn’t me! If you need a backup I’m happy to volunteer. Congratulations to Carolyn, I’m sure she’s fit to bursting.


Congratulations to Carolyn!!! I am so happy for you!
Vicki, thank you for such a wonderful giveaway. Your beautiful and generous heart is ever constant.
Enjoy the day!
xx isa

Anita Rivera


I am excited for her! Oh Vicki, you are so generous. I can’t wait to hear about HER experience there!!!

Much love to you, a woman of great generosity. CIAO!!! Anita

Heather in Arles

Hooray for Carolyn!!! And how lovely to see that she is so thrilled. Carolyn, Provence is so beautiful and LPB so perfect, you have a wonderful adventure in store…

Vicki, just curious, any estimate on how many entries there were???


Enough… that I was up for hours last night making sure that everyone’s… whether it be…. email, blog comment, FB shares and comments, Twitter and Instagram were included… :)
I must admit to feeling a bit tired but I have loved every minute and only wish that I could give everyone a little holiday there… :)
Thank you again Heather for your very beautiful ‘shout out’… xv

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen

Congratulations Carolyn. I know you will enjoy every minute of your time there. St. Remy is one our favorite places in the world and to be able to stay in Vicki’s petite Bijou sounds like a dream.

Vicki, this was incredibly generous of you. Congratulations again for five years of French Essence. I look forward to the next five.

Catherine Barr

Congratulations Carolyn! Have a wonderful trip! And Vicki, thank you for the fun giveaway!

Kathy H

Congratulations Carolyn! I am so excited for you.

And dear Vicki, since discovering your blog about 12 months ago, you have filled my heart with French love and light! Thank you.

Cheers ladies xx

Jean Wethmar

Wahoo well done for selecting your winner Vicki what pressure well done again on keeping us all so inspired these past five years Enjoy Le Petit Bijou Carolyn x j


Along with everyone else here, my sincere congratulations to Carolyn; and, thanks a million to Vicki, for enabling some high quality “what if …” musings on my part!

juliana berthier florence

Congrats Carolyn, it’s going to be THE experience in your life!!
Thanks Vicki for the oportunity to participate in this amazing giveaway.
Love to everyone!!!

david terry

Dear Mrs. Archer,

Well, things have ended just as I expected they would. They always do end this way…at least in my experience of life on this earth. This “Carolyn” (who, I am sure, is a lovely & deserving lady) has won EVERYTHING….and she gets to go off and have a wonderful time in sunny, Southern France.

In the meanwhile?….I get NOTHING. Neither does poor, tiny, & VERY SICK Herve (not that he would ever complain, of course) or any of my three little dogs.

Having read your announcement?…I’ve just spent a few minutes with all of them in the cramped, cold, and unavoidably decrepit cottage that we are forced to share with twelve other tenants, here on the edge of the cold and unforgiving moors. I had to finally admit (I’ve been avoiding this for months, now) that we were to be evicted….and very soon. We simply cannot pay the vicious, new landlord’s rent. I had hoped that, if we were able to go to St. Remy, we might stave off the creditors for a few more months….and The Cruel Winter fast approaches. I cannot help but wonder what we will do for firewood; I burnt the last chair a week ago.

Still? I want to join in the chorus of voices congratulating “Carolyn” on her great fortune. I am sure she and her family will be very happy & healthy. If I were to meet this fortunate lady, I would nothing beyond begging her to please not concern herself over my little, ill-sheltered, and barely-surviving family….she should just enjoy her OWN good fortune, and not worry over folks such as us.

The winds have begun to blow again, so I need to move Herve and the poor dogs to the one corner of this old cottage where some of the heat still remains. By tomorrow, the last of any heat will be gone. I have no idea whatI shall do then.

Passively-Aggressively yours as ever,

David Terry

That is not to be, however.


Oh David… you are wickedly amusing as ever… if only my readers could really see you and ‘pauvre’ tiny Herve… ;)
Thank you for your witty and amusing comments here and elsewhere… I know everyone has as good a chuckle as I… xv

david terry

P.S. Just for the record?….Herve is a 42 year old, 6’1″, perfectly healthy French epidemiologist who, if he ever read the previous comment, would smack me over the head with a dish-towel and remind me that some folks have no sense of irony when it comes to anything on the internet.

…and sincere congratulations to Carolyn.

—david terry


Congratulations Carolyn!! I’m sure you’ll have an amazing visit to the beautiful Le Petit Bijou! Thank you Vicki for such an fun, tantalizing give-away! It was great! :D

danielle oke

Hooray Carolyn!!! Yes do take loads of pictures and post them here! You will have SUCH a wonderful time!

Vicki–I just watched an old post video Quiet Paris–how exquisite!! I can’t wait to share it with other Paris lovers!


Having spent two wonderful weeks this year (and last) on summer holiday ‘en famille’ in St Remy I can only say – Carolyn, you are in for a treat and some… We ‘found’ Le Petit Bijou and it is absolutely gorgeous in so many ways. ENJOY!
Thank you Vicki for restoring this little piece of paradise.


Congrats Carolyn,
I hope it’s a wonderful stay. Please let all of use left drooling know how fab it is! Enjoy!



Well, Carolyn won the giveaway of the millenium Vicki and a big hi-five to her …….. lady luck was looking down on her when you drew the winner .,,. she is going to have the most wonderful time.
Don’t eat and drink too much when you are there Carolyn …….. no, what I meant was ….. eat and drink until you burst Carolyn !!!! XXXX


Yeah Carolyn! You must be so excited and looking forward to this great trip. Enjoy your stay and savor every moment!


So happy for you, Carolyn. Have the time of your life and please post lots of pictures. Blessings.

Robyn Dunworth

Congratulations to Carolyn how excited you must be ..Thank you Vicki for creating all this excitement :)

kathy pinkerton

Congratulations, Carolyn! Enjoy every second! hope we see pictures of your stay in St. Remy.


Congratulations Carolyn! Vicki, I am keeping your place on my list!! ;) Please let us know if you do any type of promos so that we can pass it along.


Thank you to everyone for your generous comments (and offers to take my place :) ). Poor David Terry – I “nearly” decided to regift to you, but meanie that I am, decided against it. Your argument was pretty convincing though! My beautiful husband David and I are beyond excited. We have been fortunate to spend some time in Provence in the past but certainly not in such beautiful accommodation as Le Petit Bijou. I will most certainly share my experience on my return, and agree with you all – what a wonderful lady Vicki is to offer this experience to us. France is my favourite place in the world, and this opportunity is an unbelievable stroke of luck. My friends have suggested that I buy a Lotto ticket, but I don’t think I could be any luckier than I have been today. I hope everyone has the chance to travel to Provence and Le Petit Bijou. Thank you again for all of your lovely posts, Carolyn xxx

david terry

Dear Carolyn (and the following is no joke)….

I have had, in my experience with Vicki, only ONE PROBLEM…perhaps you’ll also have it….so prepare yourself.

I’d been a fan of Vicki’s first book (I got it when Amazon suggested I do so) for a couple of years when, about three years ago, I and my partner (he’s French, but has spent his busy life in Tours and Paris,and, so, knows next to nothing about Provence)visited and stayed in St. Remy. Tennessee Country Clod that I am, I simply emailed Vicki via “Contact Vicki Archer” at her website, and I was surprised when she immediately and politely replied, kindly suggesting that we have lunch at one of her favorite cafes in the town.

Oh…I recall sitting in our hotel room in St.Remy…suddenly recalling that I’m a middle-aged, graying, notoriously haphazard & slipshod dresser, and (generally speaking) a fairly unremarkable presence. Would I make the grade and cut the mustard, so to speak?

All I can tell you is that we got to the cafe early. Vicki waltzed in, smiling at folks she obviously already knew, settled in quite happily, and proceeded to be alarmingly NORMAL and friendly and chatty and everything-you-could-imagine.

At the end of that lunch, she (without the slightest trace of playing chateleine or docent)said this had been fun…why don’t we continue having fun and go to Mas Berard for a cocktail??….Herve and I could see the house and garden, if we’d enjoy that???.

And, so, off we went to Mas Berard in our separate cars. Vicki gave us a quick, casual tour of the house’s interior, settled us all down on the back terrace, and casually popped open a bottle of rose before we began talking about the garden.I was, to be honest, sort of thrown off balance by how utterly welcoming, straightforward, and genuinely INTERESTED in other folks’ lives Vicki was. I think we stayed for at least two hours, during which I mostly mumbled and bumbled. She and Herve got on like a house on fire,which was delightful to witness (I’ve got a wonderful photograph of Vicki as she, with a mother’s good instincts, straightens Herve’s tie in the entrance hallway)

In short?….the only problem you might encounter at Vicki’s is that she’s just so danged, disarmingly NICE….and utterly without pretense.

Maybe it’s an Australian “thing”. I recall when I’d first made friends (via emails) the Pulitzer Prize winning, Australian-born&raised, novelist/war-correspodent Geraldine Brooks. I knew that she was on a reading tour, which brought her to my town in North Carolina. She accepted an invitation to dinner at my house, and I immediately flew into a week-long, unproductive panic of anxiety and self-doubt….would she LIKE me and my household????? Would we measure up to some standard held by Renowned Australian Novelists?????

The fact remains that when I (knowing that Geraldine had converted to Judaism)nervously asked in an email what she would/could eat, she briefly and, with predictable good humor, simply wrote “Don’t worry about it. I want to eat the stuff that killed Elvis”.

Whic is to say….be prepared to be deluged with down-to-earth friendliness, genuinely funny remarks, and simple goodwill when you meet the actual Vicki. As I said?…maybe it’s an “Australian thing”.

And, yes…I know Vicki will read this before it’s posted. I happen to believe in sending a lady sincere compliments when they’re so richly deserved.

Sincerely,and congratulations….

David Terry

david terry

P.S. It just occurred to me that Vicki, Carolyn, and Herve are all married to “David”s. Writing a script involving the three couples (a la “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) would involve some real pronominal gymnastics….to say the very least.

-david terry


David, What can I say… but thank you… and it was a fun day! The rose is in the fridge cooling for your return… :)

Deborah McKenzie

Oh you lucky girl Carolyn ! I can’t wait hear all about your adventure. Photos too please. Your postcard from St. Remy will be welcome from all of readers on French Essence.

trish Murphy

Congratulations Carolyn have a wonderful time.Thank you Vicki for such an exciting and generous chance to win.It is always so much fun to dream.We are all kids at heart wanting to win. I just love David`s
comment! I think that he has a calling for the comic stage.x Trish

Melissa Hebbard

Thank you Vicki for your great generosity in offering this fabulous giveaway. So sad I didn’t win, but I might just get there one day on my own steam:) A HUGE congratulations to Carolyn, what a wonderful time you will have.

leslie nash

Cheers Carolyn! You will have a fantastic time in St Remy.

Very nice of Vicki to have given everyone the chance to win this great holiday!


I just discovered your blog, so congratulations on yr 5 years!! I’m in the US, looking forward to moving to Italy next year, AND a huge lover of France and everything French…lived in Aix, Paris and Toulouse…wish we could have stayed more…went to the cote d’azure this summer while on vacation in Italy!!

I look forward to becoming a faithful reader…

Congratulations, also to your guest Carolyn!



Congratulations to Carolyn! One day …I am crossing my fingings! Vicki are you sharing this via Facebook?

Art by Karena


congrats to Carolyn ~ I feel it in spirit on the Florida Gulf Coast ~ cheers ~ XO ~ and to Vicki for her
5 year blog I adore daily ~ such a find to share with others here & feel their hearts and souls in connection ~ mercy ~


Congratulations to Carolyn. You are going to have a wonderful time.
Vicki, congratulations to you. Five years as a bloggers is very impressive. You have touched many peoples life with your creativity,whit and dedication. I look forward to following you for many more years to come. XO


Well Carolyn, what a wonderful time you are going to have! I am just back a month from my first visit to France, and would pack my bags and go back to Provence in an instant! And to stay in such a beautiful home, what more could you ask for? I have just discovered Vicki’s blog, and was searching how to enter the contest when I found out it was over :( I sincerely hope you and your husband have a wonderful stay and am looking forward to hearing about your trip!


How utterly lovely! I so enjoy seeing you pop up in my email, Vicki Archer! Warm wishes to you!


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