Thursday Miscellany: Historical Drama & More

Cast of "A French Village," WWII drama. Details at une femme d'un certain age.


We’re totally hooked on “A French Village.” Though soapy at times, it’s also an interesting look at how inhabitants in a (fictional) village in the Burgundy region cope with Nazi occupation during WWII. At least, that’s the story in Season 1. (There are 7 seasons, each spanning 1 year.) The characters are (mostly) nuanced and sometimes unpredictable. They’re all faced with difficult choices at some point, and mostly just trying to navigate a capricious system and survive. It’s a compelling glimpse into the personal side of history. The costuming is quite good too.


Yoga. On my Pilates instructor’s recommendation, I’ve signed up for Iyengar yoga classes. I’ve taken two classes this week, and really like it! It’s slow and gentle, and they’re proactive about modifying poses for those with injuries or who aren’t as flexible. The instructor and most of the people in the class are my age or older, and it’s very inspiring to see what they’re able to do! I’ve been doing Pilates for the past year in an older pair of Eileen Fisher stretch crepe pants (and they’re none the worse for wear) but broke down and bought a pair of actual yoga pants yesterday.


Napa vineyard in autumn, grapes with leaves turning color. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Yes! We have some travel planned next month. We’ll be heading up to Northern California wine country to celebrate le Monsieur’s big 6-0. I’m already thinking about outfits and what to pack. We’ve booked some winery tours, and dinners, and are really looking forward to a relaxing getaway.

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Are you a fan of historical dramas? What are your favorites?

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  1. i’ve taken up Pilates this year…i’m not into exercise, and some days i have to really make myself go to class, but my body was telling me that i needed to do something. Anyway, if you want good yoga/pilates wear without spending a lot of money, check out Target.

    1. I accidentally discovered recently that Macy’s actually has a decent exercise-wear department. And since they always have sales, it’s worth looking at. My favorite is still Athleta, but they are way pricier.

      1. I also made the same discovery this summer. Got a bunch of colorful t-shirts, Ideology brand. Think the workout pants are the same. Good dupe for Athleta.

  2. If you are a Costco member their work out gear is fantastic, especially the yoga pants. My neighbour was a hard core LuLulemon fan for many years until she discovered the Costco products and she is now a total convert. ( she works out hard pretty much every day) On her advice I purchased a few pairs and even after a year of use and washing they still look like new….also not ‘see through’ a problem with a lot of yoga pants which we often don’t realize until someone tells us!! The style I have are Capri length ( my preference) and have a nice wide waist band. Of course there is that famous Costco return policy if anything goes awry!

  3. I started watching A French Village last year, but set it aside for a while — need to get back to it and see if it reels me in again!
    Good for you on trying a new kind of yoga, and learning to integrate various props. There are so many different styles of yoga and I think the key is finding the one which fits best. Currently, I’m loving Baptiste yoga, and I try to get to a few restorative classes from time to time as well.
    Old Navy has great activewear, and you can’t beat their prices when there are sales. I resisted Lululemon for years and years but found myself stuck one day at yoga without my stuff and bought a pair at the studio….I am now hooked on their Align leggings and crops, which are super soft. Found my 2nd pair on eBay and continue to search.

  4. We visited Napa in October several years ago, and were lucky enough to be there during crush. The smell permeated the valley and was wonderful! I don’t care for wine and still had a wonderful time visiting wineries with our small group of 6 and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Hope you have good weather and a memorable time!

  5. We are awaiting disc 2 of a French Village. Really enjoying it. Have you seen A Place to call Home? Several seasons from Australia. It is so good. Love your site, thank you.

  6. Love yoga pants, and yoga! Pilates is off limits as it can be damaging to the pelvic floor which I would love to keep from damage. There are many exercises that can be adjusted for these issues.

    1. Have never heard anything about Pilates being damaging (to anything). Would like to know the source of this info. I’m a long time practitioner

      1. My pelvic floor PT told me to avoid. Hundreds and double leg lifts can do the damage. See Michelle Kenway, a physiotherapist from Australia for more references. She clearly outlines what should and should not be done for exercise for those with pelvic floor issues. Love yoga, bike riding, swimming, and careful weight lifting.

  7. We watched all of French Village several yrs ago and highly recommend it. Apparently it shocked many in France when it was originally aired because they were forced to confront the fact of their collusion with the Germans. A very small proportion of the country were in the Resistance.

  8. Have a lovely break with Le Monsieur and congratulate him from me. We went on a break to two cities in the Netherlands instead of Paris (Patis was expensive last minute). I regret that now. Paris is always a better idea.

  9. Good for you on the yoga and glad you found a class with traditional yoga. Most of the younger instructors now do yoga flow which is the same poses but they move from pose to pose quickly rather than holding a position and breathing. Feels more like aerobics to me. Please stick with your classes and you will see and feel a difference in your body. Also, there are tons of yoga retreats , some taking you to exotic locations. I went on one last year to Morocco , traveling all by myself from the USA. It was a trip of a lifetime! And I am 10 years older than your Monsieur.

  10. Good for you for trying yoga! I’ve been doing it for two years now and there is a marked difference in the tone of my arms and legs. Plus, I feel better. I am also in a class of women and men my age or older. We have several men who have Parkinson’s Disease in my class whose doctors told them to do yoga to help with their balance and mobility.

    Target has nice yoga pants, tops and sport bras.

    1. Err, sport bras for large cups (but not huge around, as in dedicated plus size shops) are very hard to find, alas).

  11. Excited for your upcoming visit to Napa Valley. For vicarious thrill, hope you will share all details: hotels, restaurants, wineries, wardrobe. Thanks, and bon voyage.

  12. Yoga has done so much for me. It has eliminated a lot of the little aches and pains of aging, while at the same time restoring flexibility. I’ve been doing it for about 5 years and it has dramatically changed how I feel, both physically and emotionally. One tip I learned: a weekly class really isn’t enough. Talk to your instructor, or look online, for a a shorter session you can do at home…20-30 minutes…a couple of times a week . You will feel the difference so much faster than if you just go to class once a week.

  13. We watched Un Village Français through Season 6 on French Netflix over the years, and then were aggrieved to find it wasn’t available. So far I’ve resisted anything Amazon but were I ever to make an exception….I think you’ll find it quickly becomes less soap opera, more harrowing. We often found it too difficult to watch more than one episode at a time. Perhaps the soap opera start means it quickly becomes easy to identify with the horrid choices and uncomfortable compromises we see the characters making, and we wonder/doubt if we could do any better. I’ve read a bit about the very credible historical research it was based on. Absolutely compelling.

  14. I watched Un Village several years ago, but for some reason the last season only has 6 episodes streaming whereas there 12 in season 7 that aired in France. The DVD also eliminated these 6 episodes. You can fill in the missing plot points by reading the episode guide online.

    Happy Birthday to your monsieur.

    Sue, we are now in the Pays Basque region for a week and it is so lovely. You should add it to your short list of places to visit in France!

  15. Yes, but Euskadi, (Pays basque) is best done straddling the “French” and “Spanish” parts of that ancient nation. All are very proud of Basque gastronomy, and more contemporary arts such as garments. I have a real Basque béret, passed on by a friend who had died. The real ones are very warm and water resistant – Euskadi is on the Atlantic coast, so it does get rainy and chill.

  16. I watched “A French Village” a couple of years ago. I always watch French language TV shows and movies for a few weeks before I go to France to “tune my ear.”

    1. I did the same before traveling to Provence last year…it is a fabulous series which doesn’t gloss over the horrible moral choices war forces on populations… extremely well done series!!

  17. Sue we just got back from a Rhône River wine cruise and based on your recommendation we went early and spent time in Beaune. It was lovely. It just so happened that my husband joined an Oregon wine club last month and they mentioned they had a sister winery in France. Well it turned out to be in Beaune and we had a wonderful tour and tasting there. We also went to the Van Gogh Carrieres de Luminieres in Les Beaux de Provence based on one of your reader’s recommendation. One of the highlights of our trip. And of course I tried to follow your packing guide but still packed a little too much. It all still fit in carryon luggage. Next year we’re doing a cruise to Ireland with a side trip to England’s stately homes and gardens. I’ll starting planning and editing now for that trip.

  18. Between Pilates classes, private Scolio-Pilates appointments, the gym and deep tissue work, my scoliosis has GREATLY improved. I am gung-ho for Pilates. And yoga does great things, too. Ca fait quelques annees que des amies me recommandent Un Village Francais. Peut-etre la tienne va me pousser a le voir. C’est sur Netflix?

  19. Ha ha! I do Pilates in old EF stretch crepe pants, too! I love that I can pop in to my exercise class and then run errands without changing! And they aren’t as clingy as most exercise pants (esp leggings), a huge plus for me.

  20. I am hooked on a French Village too.

    I’m going to be combing your blog posts for winter outfits/wardrobes for a trip over the pond this winter.
    I know you’ve got something good for me to get started with.