Books on ProvenceCarolyne Kauser-AbbottInspire

Learning to Speak French One Sip at a Time Book Review

Expat living is not for the faint of heart. Surrounded by a new environment, comfortable routines are gone, and even mundane daily tasks require extra consideration and effort. Where to grocery shop? What are the best schools? What about health care? Add a foreign language and different cultural norms to the equation it could be quite stressful unless you are willing to embrace the experience with large doses of humour and humility.

Book About Expat Experiences

Keith Van Sickle and his wife are part-time expats who split their time between California and Provence. These two Americans have fallen in love with the South of France and grasped the experience with a “let’s dive in” attitude. Van Sickle recently published his first book One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence a humorous reflection upon the couple’s encounters in the region.

“Sometimes crazy opportunities come along and you just have to go for it.”

The book is an effortless read on what could be a weighty topic. Learning to speak French and trying to gain a level of acceptance in a new culture. In each chapter, Van Sickle covers a range of subjects, including highway driving in this foreign land with its strange parking rules. After several years, the Van Sickles have grown quite a custom to the relaxed Provencal lunch, and they are not the least bit surprised when it ends several hours later at dinner time. Their spoken French has improved through a combination of lessons, language partners and various other resources (listed at the end of his book).

Van Sickle’s writing style reflects the couple’s adventurous attitude, in his recount of their experiences, including the tale of attempting to give blood. It would be difficult not to smile at his entertaining short stories. Van Sickle shared that he has many more anecdotes that did not make it into this first book. So, in the future, there may be more sips of Provence in Van Sickle’s writing.

One Sip at a Time Book by Keith Van Sickle

Enter the Book Giveaway

Van Sickle is offering a copy of One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence to one lucky Perfectly Provence reader. To enter the draw, simply leave a comment below and tell us why you would like to read his book.

The winner will be chosen via a random draw on May 5th.

Read more about how the Van Sickles ended up in St Remy here.


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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).


  1. Kasey Clark
    April 27, 2017 at 8:43 pm — Reply

    I would love to win “One Sip At a Time” because I am hoping to visit the South of France very soon and do some wine tasting/sightseeing. Reading about my dream destinations really helps me plan for the most fun-filled excursions!

    • April 28, 2017 at 8:08 am — Reply

      Hi Kasey: Thanks for your following Perfectly Provence. We are lucky to have Keith Van Sickle writing some posts for us. His style is lighthearted and funny. You are entered in the book giveaway contest. Good luck!

  2. Catherine Desolla
    May 3, 2017 at 12:17 am — Reply

    We’ve been to Provence twice and dream about a 2-3 month stay someday. ‘One Sip at a Time’ sounds like a fun and informative read!

    • May 3, 2017 at 10:18 pm — Reply

      Hi Catherine it is certainly a fun and informative read. Keith seems to enjoy life in Provence. Thanks for reading Perfectly Provence. You have been entered into the draw. Good luck!

  3. May 3, 2017 at 2:37 pm — Reply

    French by birth, American by choice, we have a family house in Provence and I always want to know what Brits and Americans think, see, feel, seek, and love in our beautiful region ♥

    • May 3, 2017 at 10:16 pm — Reply

      Bonjour/Hello it sounds like you have your feet in two places. Thanks for reading Perfectly Provence. You are entered in the giveaway. Good luck!

  4. June 4, 2017 at 10:25 am — Reply

    Well I’m too late for the giveaway but it sounds like a fun read. I’m always interested to hear about other people’s experiences in settling into expat life. #AllAboutFrance

    • June 4, 2017 at 11:53 pm — Reply

      Thanks Phoebe I am sure many of Keith’s expat experiences mirror your own.

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