Like many Americans with a taste for fine food, I love visiting the French countryside. It's easy for us to romanticize life there - fine food, great wine, relaxed vacation.

Michael Sanders' book From Here You Can't See Paris: Seasons of a French Village and its Restauarant does the American reader a favour by stripping away the romantic picture of quaint French villages to explore what life really is like. And it's not all vacation: the hard rural work, limitations of relative isolation, and the slow death of French agrarian life. But life in the Lot is good, too. Strong community, excellent local food and wine, and a small breath of life in the destination restaurant that is the center of the book.

I'm thankful to the author for so effectively conveying a lifestyle that is very close to my desire yet very far away.

  2003-06-07 18:48 Z