Joëlle and me
I have met so many delightful people here – Joëlle Vouaux is one of them, and she invited me to a special lunch at her home in December. Her home is right above Place Carnot, where part of our Christmas market lives, so in addition to a wonderful lunch, I was treated to a wonderful view.
I met Joëlle through AVF (Accueil Des Ville Francaises) – a huge national organization (360 chapters throughout the country) (run by volunteers) that provides all kinds of services for people who have recently moved to France. AVF is where I’m taking my twice weekly French lessons, where I’ve met so many people, and have enjoyed so many gatherings (including Christmas caroling last week.) Joëlle is the president of not just Carcassonne’s AVF – but president of many chapters throughout this  whole region.
Her five-course lunch, and my afternoon with her, were amazing. Every item she prepared was from our region. As you know, multi-course lunches are very typical of how the French enjoy lunch almost every day. We have so much to learn – relax and be French! 🙂

Joëlle’s view of our Christmas Market on Place Carnot
Our meal started with a lovely shrimp, salmon, avocado, grapefruit and cream appetizer. The next course was duck and potatoes, then salad, then chèvre and honey-from-the-region-of-Aquitaine.

Joëlle paints. She creates beautiful paintings, and she also paints on porcelain. She painted these lovely dessert dishes and coffee cups to commemorate her kitty-cat joining her and her puppy-dog in Carcassonne, many, many years ago. Dessert included biscotti made by a friend of hers in Corsica.
The view from Joëlle’s home in the evening!
We spoke French (and English), and she helped me improve my French; she played beautiful Christmas music on LPs; and she played music composed and played by her brother-in-law, a revered composer (Jacques Charpentier.)
Life here is giving us so many, many gifts. And it means so much to me to be given, and to receive, these gifts