About the Author

author photo

The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

See All Posts by This Author

Live French Saints – part one




French Country Travel Life Saints are everywhere here. Down every obscure byway. In villages and cities. Always ready willing and able to effortlessly shower you with their self-less help and hospitality.

As you would expect, I’ve met many in my zillion and a half years of surfing the French Country Backroads. But two of the best I’m still in touch with. Is it just a coincidence that they share the same surname as the famous French religious celebration – “Toussaint?” (All Saints)

Whatever your take on coincidental veritie – Bernard and Marie-Andre Toussaint are the real saintly deal.

Example: They’re driving along a Northern  country road  and stop to offer a ride to a not too young heavily backpacked couple.

When the Toussaints find out this couple’s mission is to WALK to the South of France(can you say: “EXTREME?”) They kidnap them for two weeks of saintly R ‘n R at the Toussaint sanctuary.

My introduction to the natural goodness of Bernard and Marie-Andre began on a drizzly autumn day. One that was definitely promising to accelerate it’s quantity and force soon.

While, admittedly not the brightest light in the intellectual sky, I do have enough sense to come in out of the rain.! And Bernard and Marie-Andre’s door did look inviting. To be clear – not just “convenient” but inviting.

Was it the way the house was nestled in a mini-park with tall trees? It’s position farthest away from the road? The circular “come hither” driveway?

No idea. But it definitely called to me. And I answered the call. Marie-Andre answered my knock. With an instant genuine smile. And before I could say word one, She stated the obvious: “You’re all wet…..come in…”

Now, wouldn’t  most people’s first reaction be: “Who is this tall, wet stranger with a guitar on his back? And why is he knocking on our door?”

And if they were inclined to be hospitable, wouldn’t most folks say: “you’re all wet…..so take off your wet stuff before you come in?”

Bernard was quickly summonded and introduced. He quickly introduced me to some of his dry clothes.

Then, as you would expect, the obvious question for the exotic stranger from the far away lands: “Are you hungry?”

A former air traffic control supervisor, Bernard had taken an early retirement. An Active one. Tennis, Photography (winner of several Nikon competitions) playing guitar in a 50’s music rock n’ roll band with other retirees. Appropriately, and whimsically named “The Old Rabbit Skins.” Before retirement, add solo rock climbing (the chalky hands and no net kind) and motorcycle riding. The latter ended voluntarily.

Marie-Andre was a former solo acrobatic pilot. So – you can probably guess where and how they met. Can you not? Sadly, unlike Bernard ‘s voluntary “fini” to motorcycling, Marie Andre had a mandatory end to her solo flight career. You gotta quit at 50. (the diminishing reflexes thing.)

Since it was ordained that I would be spending the night Marie-Andre escorted me to my room. But, it wasn’t a room. It was a SUITE! Think large living room with huge sunken tub, monster bed, two adjoining wash basins with seperate mirrors, small cozy terrace with a view onto  the other side of their not so mini-park. (Catch yer breath yet?)

Saints. Gotta love ’em – yeah?

Part Two – Next Time


What are ya thinkin’?


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

34 Responses to “Live French Saints – part one”

  1. jack knight says:

    like most everyone else here..can’t wait for the next installment!

  2. carlos ramos says:

    you got that right mr knight!

  3. bev ross says:

    must be amazing to stumble across two people too good to be true!

  4. kent clarke says:

    what – no pictures of the sunken tub?

  5. suzi bosh says:

    so…kent..how long have you had this bathtub obession?

  6. kent clarke says:

    suzi..not an obession…a “healthy interest.”

  7. dani ashford says:

    always enjoy your personal adventures the most. And this is one of the best!

  8. suzi bosh says:

    yeah right kent! (i bet you say that to all the girls)

  9. hugo benson says:

    with ya there dani…can’t wait for part two!

  10. grady martinson says:

    amazing how you have all these amazing adventures!

  11. ellie brenner says:

    grady…..amazing what can happen when you get out of the house isn’t it?

  12. jack robbins says:

    every time i read one of your posts..i’m jealous!

  13. annie nonomis says:

    jack….could it be you need a little more ADVENTURE in your life?

  14. jack robbins says:

    don’t we all annie?

  15. valeria cartsairs says:

    in a world with so many suspicious, unfriendly and plain nasty people;..it’s in,spiring to learn , and be reminded, that their are people like the toussaints.

  16. isshe yung says:

    sound like very nice people you meet; how luck for you.

  17. hunt trape says:

    great to be reminded there’s still some good folks around. (count you as one, of course!)

  18. alvin lakey says:

    definitely not your classic retired couple;..fer sure!

  19. cindi roset says:

    you got that right alvin…..sounds like nothing could slow them down!

  20. sam daggi says:

    the world need more saints like this….not the pedophile vatican kind!

  21. calvin kinde says:

    checked out the old rabbit skins video..great stuff§ proves you’re never too old to rock!!!

  22. alec smarte says:

    calvin..agreed….and more to the point..you’re never too old to do whatever float your boat!

  23. wilson matto says:

    too true alec!…remember grandma Moses?…she STARTED painting at 80!

  24. aldo fechetti says:

    isn’t it true that whenever you least expect it…..the universe gifts you with something wonderful?

  25. tanya young says:

    aldo – “something wonderful” – like a fortune cookie quotation from you?

  26. your post reminds me of the title of carl sandburg’s poem – “I have taken the road not taken.” – as, obviously, for you – and luckily for us, “it has made all the difference.”

  27. isn’t it strange – that when people shower kindness on a stranger we call them “good samaritans” – as if – treating others with kindness is something
    out of the ordinary?

  28. fasntasic and very inspiring post. the toussaints are definitely “two of a kind!”

  29. Ty Meyerson says:

    anderson – “two of a kind” that the world could use a few more of!

  30. Ty – i second that emotion -big time!

  31. if every traveller could be lucky enough to meet at least one someone like the toussaints – the world would be a much more human place.

  32. beth – i think you’ve expressed the feeling that all of us – (and I,m confident i speak for my fellow commentors) wish the world “more toussaints.2

  33. carla stavers says:

    your life..and your adventures continue to astound and amaze. Good thing!….the world needs more of both!

  34. lara greenspan says:

    i agree with valeria…..the toussaints are definitely GOLD!

Leave a Reply

Loading Facebook Comments ...