My French Heaven can be hell… but chocolate always helps!


I may call it my French heaven, but it can be hell sometimes (mostly in my head). Life isn’t perfect, and it shouldn’t be. Pretending may work for some people. It has never worked for me.

So here I was yesterday, having a rotten time. You know, one of those rainy days where you feel blue and wonder what the hell your soldiering on for. One of those days where food is tasteless and the colors are just gone. Believe me when I tell you that when I don’t feel like eating, it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong…


Then, around 4pm, my dear friend Mimi sends me an e-mail. It is a one sentence e-mail with a silly joke. I laugh. I answer. I make myself a cup of tea. I feel a little better. That e-mail was my trigger. A simple laugh and the feeling that someone I care about is thinking of me… That gave me the courage I needed to start my “shitty day emergency routine”. My own recipe to turn things around on those days I have convinced myself that my life doesn’t amount to much. Not enough at least to keep fighting or even hope. Here is the recipe. Maybe it can work for you in case of such an “emergency”:

  1. Find a trigger. It may be a friend calling, the sound of a child laughing, an aroma coming from the kitchen, a short e-mail from a friend or a loved one. Just standing up from the couch may be enough (the motion/emotion thing always works for me)
  2. Make yourself a cup of tea or hot coco
  3. Open the cupboard and grab some chocolates
  4. Eat as many chocolates as you want (ice cream works too). Whether you are 150 pounds or 600, I don’t care. You are beautiful! Eat the damn chocolate!
  5. Put an old movie on. Mary Poppins or Singing in the rain always work for me
  6. Spend a solid hour (or two) on Pinterest. It’s full of inspiring stuff (highly addictive though. Be careful)
  7. Read nice comments people had left on your blog. I always save my favorite ones.
  8. By this time, I usually feel well enough to get the next productive task started. A blog post that I hope will make someone’s day brighter, a guest’s itinerary I’ve been procrastinating on (analysis paralysis), some house cleaning…


So now I guess you know exactly what I did from 4pm to 7pm yesterday :0)

If you are wondering, the chocolate came from Cadiot-Badie. The best and oldest chocolate factory and storeΒ in Bordeaux. The shop opened in 1823.


The ladies certainly look happier in 2015. I guess they are allowed a few free chocolates each day….


I guess what I mean to say is this:

  1. Don’t stay in your head!
  2. It’s OK to feel bad sometimes. It doesn’t mean thatΒ it will last. Allow yourself to feel what you have to feel
  3. Mary Poppins and good chocolate beat pills every time!!



89 Comments Add yours

  1. OSHC Ideas says:

    Your pictures are beautiful and so is the sentiment. I really want chocolate now!

  2. marymtf says:

    I love your photos too. Like Eliza Doolittle in My Fair
    Lady, all I want is a room somewhere to eat my chocolates. Oh wouldn’t it be loverly. As loverrly as your blog. πŸ™‚

  3. Mary Poppins and chocolate! I love it! We are beautiful! “Eat the damn chocolate!”
    So glad I stumbled across your blog πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m glad you did too Jennifer! Welcome!!

  4. terrepruitt says:

    YAY! That is why I believe it is very important to let people you love know you are thinking about them. You never know if it will brighten their day!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You and I are thinking alike and feeling the same vibes. My niece isn’t doing well and lives in Belgium some 10 hours away. I am putting a feel better parcel for her as we speak πŸ˜‰

      1. terrepruitt says:

        Awww, how sweet. Just the fact the you thought of her will hopefully help, the parcel will be frosting on the cake!

  5. gigiistheone says:

    This post just fit the bill for me today! It was over the top wonderful! Thank you!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome dear Gail!

  6. gypsygurl64 says:

    Thank you Stephane for being real! I already adore your blog but now I even love you more! πŸ˜‰ When I have those days I have three go to movies. “Eat, Pray, Love” “Sense and Sensibility” and “Under the Tuscan Sun” I usually reserve these for the times that I am soooooo longing to pack my bags and hop a plane but the responsibilities of home just won’t let me. Then I just watch one of these movies and leave this world behind. After is over, I feel so much better and have hope that one day my traveling dreams will come true! πŸ™‚ As always, I LOVE your photos!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m sure your travelling dreams will come true and I hope they include France! Thanks for your lovely comment. Sense and sensibility is a big favorite of mine too πŸ˜‰

  7. One of the best recipes for black dog days ever. Now, how do I possibly get to Bordeaux right now (I really, really need these cherries), in my PJ’s, bare feet at the breakfast table? Thanks for a little mind traveling & soul lifting and of course, these charming pictures. Nicole

  8. Gorgeous photos as always. Just looking at the chocolate makes me happy! πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It is the first time I ever write a post about chocolate and it seems I should have done it sooner. Everybody seems to simply adore chocolate πŸ˜‰

  9. Vinny Grette says:

    Some practical advice, for a change, on how to live in the moment and be happy – thanks!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yes dear Sharon, we all need to find the happy deep inside of us. It is hard sometimes, but chocolate helps πŸ˜‰ Have a lovely evening!

  10. No blues here. Been taking in the sites of Bordeaux and have now returned to where we are staying to smooch, nor chocolate, but a tasty cereal baguette from a local Patisserie and a round of Fourne d’Ambert cheese (cheese for me over chocolates anytime), a few olives and all washed down with a glass of Muscadet. Resting feet and limbs, though not digestive system, before we go out to find a little place to eat. So many to choose from here, and everyone is so friendly.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Well, it seems you have found YOUR French heaven dear Dorothy. I’d choose cheese over chocolate too!!! πŸ˜‰

  11. amberlife says:

    Love your blog and your photos and your philosophy! :0)

    1. My French Heaven says:


  12. Colleen says:

    I’ve been having one of those blue days today…just looking at your chocolate pics helped cheer me up a bit. Now, I really need to go find some!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I hope you found some chocolate and that you are feeling better already dear Colleen!!! Have a lovely evening!!!

  13. Barbie Beaton says:

    We all have them, shitty days. But having a shitty day emergency routine pretty much rocks.

    1. My French Heaven says:


  14. Natacha says:

    As I sit here freezing in Toronto on a business trip, your blog gave me the energy to find a small patisserie for an early morning chocolatine instead of the dull hotel breakfast buffet. I totally enjoy looking at your photos and dream myself away in them. You are on the top of my bucket list to visit one day!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I hope to see you here someday too dear Natacha! You know that we call it “chocolatine” here in Bordeaux but that they call it “pain au chocolat” in Paris. Once I asked for a chocolatine at the airport in Paris and the girl had no idea what I was referring to. So it’s official, you are a Bordeaux kind of girl πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

  15. It’s such a relief when someone as yourself posts about such a challenged “feeling” day to which I can sooo relate.LOL! You have chocolate and Mary Poppins-I watch a movie, go to a lecture, eat chocolateSoLOL! and the mood eventually passes and I get myself as I call it “in gear”. But like you said-I also think that it’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling and then go on from there. But lucky you-that you live so intimately in this world of chocolate. Your photos are divine and beyond sublime-I seriously wish I could download some of it right nowSoLOL. Anyway, wishing you a glorious day. Sora πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What a lovely comment! Yes, my next goal is to write a post with pictures of the chocolates being made at the factory. Maybe I’ll meet Charlie there πŸ˜‰

      1. And maybe you’ll get the bar with the golden winning ticket! That would be great! You never πŸ™‚ know. πŸ™‚

  16. I love how personal this post is. Maybe I took it to heart so much because I have exactly the same ‘symptoms’ sometimes. Feeling bad without any hard evidence, but doubting myself and everything around me. And how funny is the fact that motion also works for you. That feeling can be weighting me down, making it so hard to move. But, once you move it’s like setting yourself free from those heavy chains. I have to remember the tip about chocolate and Mary Poppins / Singing in the rain / Pillow Talk etc… I do love those kind of movies. Simplicity and cuteness mixed with a little bit of cheesiness! And your photos… just amazing! Thank you for this post, it is good to be reminded that it’s sometimes ok to not me ok πŸ™‚ Have a great day! Milica

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You put it so well! It’s exactly that feeling I was referring to. The feeling of being paralyzed + feeling guilty about it at the same time… Have a lovely evening my dear friend!

  17. Lovely photos and good advice!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Rachel!

  18. I don’t know if it’s the alignment of the stars or the moon, but many of my foodie friends have been down in the dumps recently, me included! I love that Mimi sent you a chuckle! I just read Conor’s French Onion Soup recipe and was also glad to see you got a shout out. But yes, we must persevere and then BING, you have clarity and a better sense of purpose. I’m not a huge chocolate eater, but when I do eat it, I like about 70 or 80 percent Cacao with Sea Salt. (OK and sometimes Sea-Salted Caramel in the middle.) Divine! I’m so glad you are feeling better. πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh my god! Why did you have to mention sea salted caramel just now. I brought some back from when I went to Brittany last fall… Now I have to make crΓͺpes for breakfast. You are the devil my friend! πŸ˜‰ Have you ever tried crΓͺpes (or pancakes) with oven roasted apples and sea salt caramel on top? Sure recipe for foodie orgasm!

      1. No I haven’t but it sounds absolutely delicious!

  19. Beautiful images! For me it’s Dark Chocolate, and Jane Austin movies…I always start with Pride and Prejudice, then move on to Sense and Sensibility.
    However did you get all four ladies to go outside and pose for you! You’re amazing!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Pride and prejudice, the one with Kightley, always works for me too! I am a huge fan of Brenda Blethyn!! As for the ladies, yes, they gracefully followed me into the street πŸ˜‰

      1. Brenda Blethyn was a great Mrs. Bennett! Such a Drama Queen! πŸ™‚ Knightly is the Love Interest in Emma. Darcy is who Elizabeth Bennett spars with throughout the movie and they eventually fall in love.

        Those ladies from the bon-bon shop were lovely! You’re very charming. I’m sure you won them over in minutes.

  20. Christoph Hilscher says:

    Red wine and Cognac goes very well with chocolate too – just saying… Hugs!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh please no red wine!!! Cognac is perfect though. Have you tried it with Sauternes? Very inspiring comment coming from a health nut like you C! I am so proud of you!! πŸ˜‰

  21. Angeline M says:

    Numbers 4&6 together would be perfection, and will become my new emergency routine. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Definitely worth a try Angeline. I agree πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

  22. Such are the ups and downs of life Stephane! I love that you’ve taken the precaution of having a little remedy tucked away for those days when the sun isn’t shining quite so bright… wise indeed! I do hope that all is fine my friend. My chocolate hit was achieved today simply by viewing your beautiful photos! πŸ˜‰

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m so glad you could feel the awesome power of chocolate even through the screen dear Margot! Have a lovely sunshiny day dear friend! πŸ˜‰

  23. chef mimi says:

    Hahahahahahaha! This is the greatest and funniest posts I’ve ever read! I need to email you more often! Do you know that I still don’t receive your new blog posts? so weird. i’ve tried everything. so thanks for the heads up!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I know. WordPress has screwed the whole thing up and were never able to fix the problem… And by the way, the e-mail I was referring to came from the other Mimi… (just kidding! She’s quite incapable of producing such humor, or anything else showing emotion or heart or substance). Wow, I’ve got my nasty on today… πŸ˜‰

      1. chef mimi says:

        you are so funny!

  24. Wonderful post, Stephane! Thank you for your shed-the-blues recipe! It’s perfect. I’m glad you’re in heaven again πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Only a talented writer like yourself can turn “shitty day emergency recipe” into “shed-the-blues-recipe”. Proof once more that one cannot buy class… Have a lovely day dear Tamara! πŸ™‚

  25. You are inspiring someone nearly halfway across the world with your words and your photos. I hope that thought cheers you up a bit as your posts have cheered us up. xx

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It does, it really does! Cheers! πŸ˜‰

  26. I swear, I can smell the chocolate πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

  27. Dawn says:

    Chocolate + Mary Poppins = instant sunshine! What a sweet post. Your photos are just amazing!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Glad there is another MP fan out there πŸ˜‰

  28. Julie says:

    Chocolate, indeed, for the days of weltschmerzen and ennui…lovely post, as always. πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:


  29. ladyredspecs says:

    Chocolate is considered an essential food group in our house, but it must be dark and slightly bitter and taken daily! Your photos are as beautiful as ever Stephane, i hope the sun is shining now….

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ha ha! It is dear friend. It is 😊

  30. sabine says:

    I just gained a few pounds staring at all these chocolates…the chocolate cherries in particular, but they are basically fruit, arenΒ΄t they? Perfectly healthy. I totally agree with you on the therapeutic effect of chocolate and a good laugh. Beat any pill. Hope youΒ΄re feeling better today!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am feeling much better indeed thank you Sabine! And yes, you are right! It IS indeed fruit πŸ˜œπŸ˜‰

  31. I love your post today. I came over to see your french onion soup (sent over from Conor’s blog) and found myself admiring so many other posts. Love your blog!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much. It warms my heart! Conor and his lovely wife will spend their Summer holiday in Bordeaux again this year. Can’t wait to see them again! Have a lovely evening. And thanks for dropping by!

  32. Ashley says:

    So this is just what I needed to get out of my own funk today. We are all real, right? It helps so much to hear that others are too – I think we often believe that no one else struggles every once in a while.
    Thanks for your candor, your photos, and for making me smile. πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I know you’ll feel much better soon! Most times it all comes from chemical imbalances in our brain. Lot’s of good light also helps I hear… Have a lovely day dear Ashley!!!!

  33. It’s not part of the human condition to be relentlessly cheerful and happy. We should allow ourselves to feel what we feel and then be done with it. As you observe, chocolate over pills any day.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I know right?! I never trust people who are always happy. They scare me πŸ˜‰ Have a lovely day dear Barbara!! πŸ™‚

  34. Rosa de los Vientos says:

    I’ve just eaten a box of chocolates since your post was my trigger πŸ™‚ (In my case, if I don’t feel like cooking, then there is something really wrong) I’ve realised again how beautiful the colour of cocoa is (the big picture), a lot of subtle nuances in it, I guess that’s why it works for the ‘body and mind’ (which is one after all, but I still haven’t found the word for it) Bises.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ha ha. Bises! ☺️

  35. Helen says:

    Love the old pictures, too. No cars! You can walk across the street! I noticed the horse has a “contraption” to catch the manure! And the man getting his shoes shinned. (My husband said it took him 45 minutes to cover 2 miles through Sedona, AZ yesterday!) Your pictures are grand – works of art. I want one of each! Some say there is an ingredient in chocolate that brightens your outlook .. a blog from you brightens mine!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh Helen, you are too kind! Yes, chocolate was proven to be a natural antidepressant!

  36. So sorry StΓ©phane ! I hit the send button twice by mistake! DΓ©solΓ©!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Not a problem. I never mind reading such nice comments twice πŸ˜‰

  37. Brian Roberts says:

    Ah, Stephane…you have remarkable talent Even when you feel at your lowest and most uninspiring, you create something beautiful from the experience and shower the rest of us with a gift. Thank you! πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so kind Brian! Yes, the recipe worked and Spirits are high again. .. Have a lovely evening!

  38. Delicious post as always StΓ©phane! Je crois que c’est le temps triste qui nous rend aussi ‘morne’ ! Un petit coup de soleil et tout ce qu’il faut – ou un petit morceau de chocolat bien sΓ»r!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Chocolate and sun it is then. I already have the chocolate. The sun is supposed to be coming later this week. Fingers crossed πŸ˜‰

  39. I will have to follow your instructions/recipe carefully. Lovely post as always and exquisite photo’s. Chocolate, oh my yes!!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  40. good chocolate….so very true LOL I will be baking my flourless chocolate cake for a 12-year-old’s birthday this Friday…was told she LOVES chocolate….that cake is the BEST I can do to feed that addiction. LOL

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It sure can become an addiction 😜 your cake sounds incredible !

  41. Your photos are always just stunning. Even more so when they feature chocolate πŸ™‚ You are a true inspiration for my blog so just keep up the good work!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks a lot. Yes, truffles are always very photogenic πŸ˜‰

  42. msshe says:

    Love it! You say it like it is. May I post some of your shitty day helpful ideas on my Kentucky Living? I think my readers would identify! Thanks for the chuckle. Yes…good chocolate!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Of course you can dear Sheika! Use the pics too if you want!

  43. eileenmarie45 says:

    I absolutely love your blog — every posts is unique, interesting and such beautiful photos. I hope to visit your area sometime soon, but in the meantime a visit via your posts is the next best thing!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Well there you go. One more comment saved in the “for shitty days” bin. Thanks a lot Eileen!! πŸ˜‰

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