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Frankly Franglaise

What’s the best recipe for a new life in Languedoc?

April 22, 2011

LouLouFrance AKA Jennifer GrecoEarlier this week I met a lovely lady called Jennifer.

Jennifer is American but has lived in Languedoc about 8 years.  The story of her journey to live here, like many, is quite inspirational and full of highs and plenty of lows.

What struck me about Jennifer is that she’s incredibly happy with her lot – she has a satisfaction with her life that oozes from her like an over-ripe camembert, or brie … or any kind of cheese in fact.  Because extraordinarily, fromage, several hundred different kinds of fromage, are her passion.

I consider myself a cheese fan, I love cheese – but I cannot compare myself to this lady.  She is on a mission to taste just about every kind of French cheese there is, which in this country is a fairly impressive goal.

I guess Jennifer is about my age.   She lives here with her husband, a couple of dogs and at least one cat. We have quite a few things in common, except her ‘homeland’ is a lot further away on a plane.

She and her husband bought a small house here before 9/11, but following the tragedies and aftermath of that day, they decided to make a permanent change and relocated to a small village in Hérault.   After many years Jennifer has officially become a French citizen, and she clearly adores the Languedoc.   She has made many friends and shares her affection for everything around her in words and pictures, which is how we came to meet – in an online virtual sort of way.

Jennifer is also known as LouLouFrance, and she writes a very entertaining blog ‘Chez LouLou’ – a sort of photographic cheese and food diary that includes much about her life and experiences of “moving to France”.

She does this because she loves it.  As a former chef she is a contributing author to an online “DIY” recipe book, a selection of her own favourite Mediterranean recipes that you can add your own to.   But Jennifer not only has a gift for cooking – she is gifted with a camera, something that I completely admire. (I had a memorable incident with a camera at the Tour de France a year or two ago, maybe I’ll explain in another post some time.)

Much as I share a passion for fromage, I had to ask Jennifer how it came to be that she could write almost an entire novel about the stuff.   The answer makes me smile because we’ve all been there – standing at the cheese counter in a market (in her case Les Halles, Narbonne) thinking “what IS that vaguely mouldy imperfectly shaped lump of bacteria?”!

So, instead of taking the trad approach of wine-tasting – she took the cheese road, and good for her because the information she has gathered is incredible. I think she has managed to taste just about every kind of cheese from this region so her quest is now taking her further afield around France.   Either she’ll have to make a lot of road trips or have cheese parcels sent across from Lille and Alsace…!   & she has several hundred more cheeses to go … [see her Cheese list].

What’s so incredible in all this is that she is just an ordinary person doing something that she loves, and has a talent for. There are many people in Languedoc lucky enough to be pursuing their dreams – Jennifer is one of them.

Some of Jennifer’s photographs are listed with Getty images and most are on Flickr – take a look!   Feast your eyes on delicious flavours of France gorgeously captured on camera.

You can follow more about Jennifer’s journey via

Enjoy !

by Annette. Find out more about Annette here.

4 Responses to “What’s the best recipe for a new life in Languedoc?”

  1. What a lovely post about, and tribute to, Jennifer. She is a dear friend of mine (we connected through blogging too, but I have not been nearly as diligent about it as she has.) In fact I just spent last weekend with her and, as always, enjoyed every minute!

  2. I can imagine you had a wonderful time! Thank you for commenting. Hope life in Aveyron is good :-)

  3. Yes – Jennifer is a wonderful example of someone doing what she loves and has a talent for. She’s also a great friend and I’m so glad to have met her!

  4. I want to meet Jennifer now! Instead may I just recommend my husbands blog which people on this page might be interested in. It is the diary of an english chef living in the South West of France. Just incase anyone would like a read….