My French Heaven, the book?


My dear friends and fellow bloggers Tamara Lee, Elizabeth Thomas, Steve Courmanopoulos and several others have been encouraging me to write a book. I’ve always wanted to do it. I don’t know why and I honestly don’t want to brainstorm too much on the matter. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll find out that I am even more vain than I thought I was. Vanity, along with jealousy are two of the human character traits I despise the most, even though I have sometimes shown them myself…

Rather than trying to define my motives, I think I will just start and focus on enjoying the process. I’m in for hundreds of hours of hard work and I’m quite afraid to fail. I would define failure here as either not finishing the project, or even worse, finishing the book and not being able to get it published. Forget about publishing it; what if people think it’s rubbish? What if I make a complete fool of myself? What if I only sell 10 copies? What if I find out that my parents bought all ten?! What if… Oh, to hell with it! I’ll just post this and get to work!

By the way, what do you think the book should look like and feel like? What should I focus on? What would make you interested in it?…

Since I would never think of posting anything without sharing a picture, I took the one above the other day and thought I’d include it :0) Raspberry red is how I feel today. Don’t ask me why…



  1. Stephane, as they say, the journey is often more exhilarating than the destination… and though you may not be “raspberry red” every day, your passion and your photography will certainly make the book a success. Bonne chance!

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence my dear friend! It is the journey that counts. You are so right ;)

  2. Why not? You have something to say, you have wonderful pictures and you have a playful and healthy perspective that we all benefit from. I’d pick up a copy.

  3. Love of Family ,Food ,Farm and French country secrets…what could be better!? To use your own words Stéphane “We REALLY can die at any time”…..”We must feed our minds and spirit with the things that we love the most…… so go for it! So what if only 10 copies sell. One of them will be mine!!! Cheers mon ami :D

    • You are so sweet dear Mona! Thank you for taking the time to write such nice comments. It means a lot to me :))

  4. This is my first visit to your blog…and I was STUNNED by your photos. So very pretty — all of them! A book of your images would definitely turn heads at a bookstore….how about a big beautiful coffee table book that I can give to my parents as an anniversary present? :)

    • Thank you very much! You are absolutely right. It shall be a coffee table book. My goal is to put it on Amazon before Christmas…

  5. So…um….would you like a helper to fly to France and help you in any way, shape or form? :) I really mean it. My husband and I were on a walk just last week and I said that I would die a successful woman if I got to travel Europe and find little crannies where good food memories are made and share in those memories. I’ll be in London in September…. :) And you have my email.

    • I don’t need help right now dear Leilani as I am sorting things out, but I hope you do me the honor of visiting! ;) :)

  6. One of the copies would be sold to me. I love your sense of prose and how to illuminate your country and cooking with words. Your photography is outstanding and should definitely be included. I love paper books, not electronic. Something you can feel in your hands, turn pages, take to bed with you. I think you would write a magnificent book!

  7. I scrolled again and again to write my reply, which means that you won’t sell only 10 copies of your book.^^ To be honest, it seems that you don’t have to do extra work to make a book because each of your postings is perfect to be a part of a book. Anyway, I would like to wish you a good luck and I’m so glad to that I’m one of whom can support you and your blog.

    • Thanks Jessie! I do have quite a bit of material indeed, but I would like the book to include a lot of things that are not already on the blog… Thanks for your good wishes and support ;)

  8. I have a Kindle and put most of my books on it. But if you write a book with your recipes and photos that would be one book I wouldn’t put on my Kindle! Looking forward to it.

  9. Well, of course you should right a book, Stephane! I see it as a beautiful compilation of your photos, food, bed & breakfast and travels. Recipes, cooking and photography tips, where to go in the French countryside, photos of the markets and your recommendations…A big book, though! It must be coffee table style, as I’d want to display it and show it off! :)

  10. I couldn’t be more thrilled reading your post and all these encouraging comments! Honestly, I have often wondered why you haven’t put your gorgeous words, photographs, recipes and experiences in-between cloth covered boards. What else is there to say after Steve (above) so eloquently said it all! Yes, a book…My French Heaven. :)

    • Yes, I think Steve and several others got it write. Everybody’s support is quite overwhelming. Now I HAVE to make this happen ;) :)

  11. If a book is what you want to write than go for it, as Margot said life is short and full of the regrets for things we wish we had done. Your writing and photo’s are beautiful, I read your blog because you invoke memories of my time in France you instantly transport me to the markets and countryside of your beautiful country. I wish you every success for your book!

    • Thanks a lot! I am so glad you love France that much!! I think it’s Voltaire who said: “God created France. But it was too perfect, so he created the French”. ;) :)

  12. Please write your book incorporating your beautiful photos and dellicious recipes. It will be a great success, I’m sure!

  13. Good luck! Nowadays you don’t have to worry about not being able to publish it, as you can publish it yourself :-) The only thing I would recommend is that you’d also publish it as e-book. Otherwise, just do what feels good :-)

  14. Write your book the same way as you do your posts with photos of the countryside and towns round about you, places you have been, ingredients you have bought, family members and get-togethers, food you have made. It’s the mix that will make it so fascinating and the food photographs and recipes mean it will become a well-thumbed book.

    I see it as being squarish in format, clean, non-cluttered layout, elegant but with those little fancy touches you are so good at — like the luscious wine old bowl/cup that matches those wonderfully mouth-watering raspberries. Inevitably it will be very French, but with a dash of cosmopolitanism. Somehow you are going to have to produce it at a price we can all afford so that we can buy lots of copies for friends and family.

    Go for it, and enjoy the journey.

    • Your kind support is what motivated me to start dear Tamara. Wish me luck. I’ll need quite a bit of it… ;)

  15. The photo here is more than fantastic! I think your book should be recipes with photos interspersed. You do both so well. I’m glad you’re taking the plunge! Sometimes we’re afraid to do things because we’re afraid of finding out how good we are. I’ll sign up for ten copies now.

  16. You’ll never know unless you try. You have such a following here that I don’t think you’ll have to worry about your parents being your only fans! Seriously from a Yanks point of view, Julia’s book is now so dated and I’ve not seen anything truly French like what you do on your blog, ever. If you just keep to the same format with your stunning photos and the simple, healthy food that you post, you can’t go wrong. I wish you great success Stephane and look forward to the launch!!
    Warm regards, Linda

    • Oh thank you dear Linda! When I think it took Julia several years to get her book published, I get very nervous. I’m no Julia Child after all. We’ll see what happens. What good is life if we give up on our dreams?…

      • Stephane, I think that if you just put your blog into a book it will be awesome. You already have a great start! I love to just look at your photos and dream. It’s inspiring and uplifting. Also, things are different now, so don’t worry about the time thing, and don’t forget, you’ve already cultivated your audience!!
        P.S. I love your little market videos, they make me smile:)

        • Thanks Linda! Yes, I should make more of the little Instagram videos. I just never think of it at the time… I will make it a point to make them now that I know you like them ;)

  17. I’m going on the record as saying I would definitely buy this book! I’ve always thought you would (could, should) go in this direction – you have a wealth of beautiful writing, images and of course, recipes, to draw upon. Looking forward to following your progress with this – never give up!

    • Dear Paula, thank you so much for your kind words. I am looking forward to the process. I have started to sort through the pictures and it is really hard to pick the best ones. I just have too much material…

  18. Stephane, the world always needs another book. With your photography, recipes and life stories, I’m sure it will be a best seller. Good luck and never give up!

  19. Hi Stephane, from reading the responses so far I think you’ve already sold 10 or 20 books without having recourse to your family! I’d be in the queue, too. I don’t think you have to worry too much abut the format – just keep doing what you do already, filling it with your fabulous photographs, family and recipes and reflecting the lovely area you live in. That and your warm personality. That’s what brings us all back to your blog time after time. And you already have a big portfolio or writing, pictures and recipes you can re-use in a book. Let me know if you need a hand with proof-reading and editing. I’m happy to help. Good luck with it! Linda.

  20. Hola, voy a escribir en castellano , pues mi inglés no es suficiente para expresar mi admiración por Ud. Su blog me parece extraordinario, con unas imágenes bellísimas, con un amor por sus amigos, por sus familiares, que queda expresado y plasmado de forma bellísima. Y que decir de las recetas?, deliciosas. Seguro que será un libro bello, muy bello….yo ya estoy deseando tenerlo entre las manos…gracias por mostrarnos su saber.

    • Usted es tan amable de mi amigo! Me alegro de que te guste mi blog y espero que voy a ver en Francia un día. Mientras tanto, por favor, tenga cuidado y muchas gracias por su amable comentario. Me hace muy feliz. He utilizado Google para responder a usted como yo no hablo español bien. Es maravilloso ver lo que puede hacer la tecnología en estos días!

  21. Life is so short Stéphane… I’m realising more and more that you need to throw yourself into things, trusting that you will gain so much from the experience alone and that anything else is a bonus. Your photos, style and narrative are all so beautiful and seductive to all who follow ‘My French Heaven’ and I will be so excited the day your book hits the shelves and I can go in and purchase my own copy, plus a few more to set aside for gifts for family and friends! Can I send mine across to be autographed? This is exciting stuff Stéphane! The very best of wishes to you.

    • Life is short indeed Margot and that’s why meeting people like you is so special and important! I hope you have lots of friends ;)

  22. Can I pre-order the book? That would guarantee a discount and a signed copy, yes? :-) I would like to see a book filled with glorious food pictures that only a 4th generation Bordeaux Wine Merchant can produce. That, or a little novel about a kitchen god discovering he’s allergic to the smell of garlic.

    • I love the kitchen god idea! Maybe it could be a young vampire who dreams of becoming a chef and can’t smell garlic ;) We are just so damn creative, I can’t stand it :)

  23. I think it’s a brilliant idea. Kind of surprised you haven’t already, as your photography is amazing! I’d love to see a chapter or two on your tips and tricks for your style of interior and exterior food shot composition. How can we create simple scenes that visually say so much. Good luck and happy writing!!

    • Thanks Tanya. This book will be more about food and lifestyle, but your idea is very interesting. You see, you already give me the theme for book number two ;)

  24. Assuming that the book would have similar content to this blog — loving commentary and photos on food and the area in which you live — I don’t think you need to worry. People will love it.

  25. I think it would be cool to write about living in France and your experiences there! Whatever you write I will buy a copy and want you to autograph it! I would love to write a book, it’s a secret dream but my talents aren’t in that direction! I hope you do and best wishes sent your way! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  26. In my mind I see a glorious coffee table book full of beautiful photographs depicting a year in yout gorgeous French heaven. A journey through the changing seasons, an anecdote here and a recipe there, full of bonhomie and joie de vivre. You definitely need to take the plunge Stephane, think of it as a breath taking journey.

    • Yes, I think it will be a coffee table book as well as an ebook/kindle for the iPad… Thinking of the finished product and reading all the wonderful comments really motivates me ;) Thanks a lot dear friend!!

  27. Lots of great ideas in the comments. What appeals to me about your blog Stephane is the warmth with which you write and of course your beautiful photography. Your family, the seasons, locality, wine, food, history provide plenty of substance for a book. You’ll find a publisher, that I have no doubt. Put me down for a copy too.

    • Thanks a lot dear Sandra! I want the book to come out as soon as possible, so as soon as it’s edited, I’ll self publish it on Amazon… I am learning about the process as I go and it is fascinating I must say. Your feedback is priceless for me at this stage, you being such a long time reader and esteemed fellow blogger… ;)

    • It’s exactly like a miss en place Jan. You are so right! And I indeed have all the ingredients ;) Thank you for taking the time to comment this! It means a lot to me :)

  28. I’ve been through this emotional roller-coaster as a writer – indeed, you will ask yourself those questions a million times over, even after the book is published. So, what I do now is write for the love of writing. So what if my mom is the only one to buy the book, if it’s a story worth telling?

    Moral of the story? Go for it! xo

    • Thanks Julia! I’m a little afraid of my tendency to over thing and pay too much attention to detail… Analysis Paralysis :)

  29. Oh Stephane a book is just exactly what you need to do, your blog reads like a good novel, a memoir, a photographic journal and a heavenly cookbook. That is exactly what I would want to see in your book, memories with photo’s of your family, how you are where you are today with photo’s of your gorgeous home and hotel, your wonderful recipes peppered with family stories and gorgeous photographs. I want a signed copy,

    • You are just too nice to be true! Maybe I’ll meet you at my first book signing in NYC! One can dream right ;) Thanks for the heartfelt feedback my dear!!

  30. I haven’t carefully read all the comments because once I read Steve’s, I thought “Aha! That’s it!” He is exactly on to what makes you and your blog special!! And will make your book so as well.

    • I hope so! I have to believe in myself for once. It will be a great learning experience if nothing else… :)

  31. “What are you doing these days?”
    “Writing a novel”
    “Really, neither am I.”
    So goes a famous conversation. I don’t remember the origin. I have been encouraged by some to do likewise too. Thankfully, a friend has a connection in the book business and I have been promised some straight talk on the subject.
    If that doesn’t cure me of it, nothing will.
    Please add my name to the pre-sale list. A very worthy undertaking.

    • It’s like a diet… We all want to start one and dream of the wonderful and inspiring result. And then… Oh well, this time I’ll try to follow Joda’s advice: “Do or do not. There is no try”. Shit, I’m such a geek. Oh well, I’m doing OK on my weight loss, so maybe this will work out to! Here is to our dreams and the balls to try and make happen ;)

  32. Thank you for looking at my blog! I love food; I hope it shows. I am anxious to go to your site a little later and do some catching up. I love, love, love French-inspired food. Cookbook . . . I’m always nagged to write one, too, but I never write anything down that I am doing, so no way to do this.

    Ironically, just before I knew you had looked at my offering for today, I was thinking “If I could wave a magic wand and have anything I wanted, it would be to be able to live in France and speak fluently enough so that no one knew I was not a native”!

    Virtual hugs,


    • What a nice comment dear Judie! Welcome to my French heaven. No need to speak French. Most French people speak English whether they like to admit it or not. We all love English speaking folks anyway… So for now, I hope you enjoy my virtual views of France. And later, you’ll come over and will find an nice little house for you in the vineyard ;)

  33. Exciting! I’ve only just started reading your blog and from what little I’ve seen so far, what I enjoy – aside from the lovely pictures – are the heartfelt narrative and personal anecdotes that accompany each post. Bon courage!

  34. Well.. here is some for thought;)…. When we present something the world can relate to..full of glocal flavours…it creates memories and stories…So, your version of french cooking that anywhere in any corner can relate to…and weave stories of their own..

  35. Steve introduced me to your blog and it’s the most refreshing details that captivate me. How you include the past and your passion for detail. The most amazing pictures! If you publish , I will want to purchase a signed copy!! I hope one day to visit those lovely markets and vineyards..

    • I think Steve is write when he says I already have my niche. i.e. France, family, food and a humble approach, although simply saying this isn’t really humble at all. Is it?! :)

  36. What an awesome idea! Looks like you already have plenty of readers who are fellow bloggers that would buy a copy and happily do a review – myself included! We all love your blog – the topic, the tone, the recipes, the pictures – so it goes without saying we’d all love your book! I was once told “write what you know” and that’s always been my mantra when I write for fun or even professionally. I’ve read several books lately – some about France – that tell their life’s history and adventures while weaving in recipes to help to tell the story. I LOVE this and think you would be great at it! Bonne chance!

    • You are giving me great motivation dear Jai! I think I’ll just write the book I wish I’d come across ;)

  37. Just write from the heart. From what I’ve read of your blog, you do just that. And your photographs are stunning. Perhaps model it on what you write in your blog – about your life (and food) in Bordeaux. I would certainly read it.

  38. Looking forward to following along with you in the process and enjoying the finished product you come up with. No doubt it will be fabulous and inspiring. Your photography is so amazing! Any special tips/hints on HOW you do it! You make people want to EAT THE SCREEN! :)

    • You are so kind Jodi. The first task – and the most difficult – is to select the proper pictures. I want the text to compliment the photos rather than the other way around… I see an old family picture or a sunset over the vineyard, and suddenly I’m inspired to write…

  39. Does the world need another French cookbook? There are plenty of professional chefs churning those out. Lifestyle? Mimi has that well covered. So where is your niche? I have to ask myself, “Why do I love reading your blog and posts?”. Ultimately, I think it’s because you bring together photographic art capable of making me vicariously taste the food, guidelines around French style and gracious living, family, sensual pleasure and health, in a gestalt that takes me to an imaginary place of attainable satisfaction and happiness. It gives me something to emulate and aspire to. A safe haven of sanity in an insane world. I think this gestalt needs to be the theme of the book. And you have the creds for it as well, in terms of family history, personal experience (Ritz Carlton and B&B), and immediate skills in the relevant areas. I’m thinking something along the lines of Robert Arbor’s, Joie de Vivre.

    • God I wish I had your writing skills! I think you are absolutely right and it’s interesting you’d mention Joie De Vivre, as I was thinking of “My French Heaven, ingredients for Joie de Vivre” as a title. I have weeks and weeks to find a proper one. I agree with the niche you described. That is the one Luana and others had already mentioned… You know how scared I have been of this undertaking. We were talking about it a year ago already… Thanks for your important feedback and continued support my dear friend!!

          • I think Steve has a point here – I discovered your blog very recently and got hooked immediately. It shows the kindness and sweetness of this world together with great pics and stories of… life. It allows people to take a breath in between of the “busy” life, and just dream for a moment – and this same philosophy and style would be great to see in your book, too.

            Your blog gives me lots of inspiration for my own writing and photography, which I’m just learning. I’ve been dreaming of writing a book, too, but the subject is still in process… One day it’ll be clear, but for now I’m concentrating on A/B testing my dream of getting the blogging and my photography skills further. So thank you for the great inspiration, and looking fwd to follow your book-writing project!

          • Thank you for taking the time to write such detailed and important feedback Elina! I do want the book to feel like it comes from a place that is real. I am so tired of people pretending to be perfect. I want soul in this book. I don’t want to pretend I am anything I’m not. What I mean to say is that it has to tell the real story of real people who, despite the odds and their busy lives, took the time to cook and create and share and make mistakes and in the end leave a true legacy. Sorry, it’s late, I’m writing without thinking… Maybe it’s the best way to write…

      • Here’s an idea: I would take historical moments from your family experience, write about them and use them as platforms to the modern experience. You do that occasionally anyway. For example, a story about your grandmother, how people lived at the time, what she cooked, and then a modern time shift to present-day materials, values, photographs, etc. Possible Title: What’s wrong with “My French Heaven”?????? I’ll think of more titles over time. I’ll gladly help you edit if you wish.

        • I do count on you for the editing of the first draft! Not kidding! Family anecdotes and generational reflections will be included for sure!

  40. Go for it! I’m sure if you keep the tone similar to the blog you’ll do well. If it’s a subject dear to your heart it will be an easier process! Some day I hope to do a book or two as well so keep us posted on how it goes. 😊

  41. Stéphane – please put me down for an advance copy. I’ll review your book for you in Canada and get it into the media here. I’m quite serious. The raspberries above are a cover photograph for sure. You’ve already written and photographed a book’s worth and then some. Je ne peux pas attendre!

    • What a generous offer my dear friend! I might just take you up on it when the time comes ;) I have quite a lot of material indeed. Now it’s just a question of making the whole thing coherent… Lots of long nights ahead ;)

      • Bonjour! If you do not already have an editor, or if he/she cannot do it when it needs doing, I would love to edit for you. Please feel welcome to contact me if you need someone.

  42. Good luck!! I took advantage of a personal writing seminar offered by a small press publisher a few years ago and am working on “lessons I have learned” but never expect it to go farther than family and friends. It helped enhance my ability to use descriptors. Based on your life story your viewpoint of the mad craze of being a chef and then recovering your life by opting for the farm and b&b would be a great message.

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