Inspiration for The Little French Guesthouse #1 – Town and Country

I’ve read some lovely comments from readers of The Little French Guesthouse, saying how much they enjoyed the setting – that they were able to imagine themselves there, or if they have visited the Loire region of France, that it took them back there.

There are so many aspects to the setting of the book – the imaginary guesthouse,  gîtes and gardens that make up La Cour des Roses; the imaginary local town of Pierre-la-Fontaine; and, of course,  the very real countryside of the Loire itself.

I thought it might be nice to share the inspiration for some of the settings in the book, so I’m starting this week with some aspects of the countryside and typical local towns.

What else would I begin with, but those regimented rows of vines?

vines #1 09

And then there are the pretty, shaded rivers . . .

river #1 07

Emmy’s visit to The Little French Guesthouse is too early to see the corn, but she will notice it later in the summer, in the sequel 😉

corn #2 05

corn 05








The local towns have gentle, cream and white buildings . . .

village #1 09

Pretty churches . . .

town #1 04

town #3 05








Colourful flowers giving an impression of real civic pride  . . .

village #2 09

And just take a look at this magnificent creature!

town #2 04

In the book, Emmy thoroughly enjoys her visits to the local market and is fascinated by a stall selling old-fashioned underwear. I couldn’t help but include it in the book after we’d seen it for ourselves!

The relevance of this final photo? None at all, other than that it was taken in that area of France. I have no idea who the man and his dog were, but it always makes me smile  . . .

dog on river 06











15 thoughts on “Inspiration for The Little French Guesthouse #1 – Town and Country

  1. Mags Cullingford says:

    Gorgeous photos, Helen – I love the Loire Valley, the countryside, the towns, Chinon, Blois . . . the history, and not forgetting the wine. One day I intend to re-visit, but meanwhile I’m putting the Little French Guesthouse on my TBR list.

      • Mags Cullingford says:

        Certainly is – when I was there I could well imagine Eleanor of Aquitaine pacing the ramparts of the stronghold, and the Dauphin attempting to fool Joan of Arc in the great hall.

  2. Donna says:

    Ah, the endless rows of wine! When I need a break I love to pull off near a field and take a walk in them, they are so calming and beautiful. You can’t go very far in Gironde without finding yourself surrounded by them. Gorgeous pictures!

  3. Louise says:

    It’s Rupert in the boat with Gloria , wishing two weeks away . Thank you for the last fantastic books , Louise

  4. Jodie Buchmelter says:

    I loved this Little French Guesthouse series! I am so sad that Emmie’s story is complete. Please know that if you would decide to go forward with it, your book(s) would be well received. These stories made me want to hop the next plane to the Loire Valley!! Wonderful characters, entertaining stories–hated to see each book end. Thanks for the absolute pleasure of reading them😊

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