Let me introduce myself: Jeanne la Cane. That’s right. I am a duck. I was born outside Nantes, Western France. I am 20 centimeters (8 inches) tall.
I realize you may not know me yet unless you are a France with Vero patron but I have been around for a while. In fact, I have a dedicated space on Véro’s website (scroll down that page to find me.)
Véro and I met on a cold, wet December afternoon in the city of Tours, Loire Valley just a few days before Christmas. It was December 2020, the end of a challenging year.
Like my friends in the toy shop window along rue de la Scellerie (one of the oldest streets in town) I watched people go by hoping someone would come in and adopt me.
Stores had been closed for months on and off, unless they were considered “essential businesses.”
How can toys not be considered “essential” when they put a smile on so many faces, young and old? — I digress.
That evening right before closing a woman stopped in front of the store window. There I sat surrounded by animal friends, dolls and teddy bears all looking their best, all bigger than me, all competing for attention, hoping they would soon move into a nice home (after a mandatory stop at the foot of a trimmed Christmas tree.)
Even if I was wearing my prettiest dress that night I had no doubt the woman would pick someone else. After all, who needs a small duck in a blue dress with polka dots a few days before Christmas?
I was lucky. The woman (who was in Tours on business) felt a bit lonely that night. She had been looking for a travel companion for a while. She later claimed she first fell in love with my big feet and pretty dress but I know she liked the expression on my face when our eyes met across the shop window.
I soon realized we both knew what it was like to feel like the odd duck now and then.
She came in; asked to hold me in her hand (where I fit nicely;) looked at me in the eyes; patted my (round) belly; chuckled and said: “Je la prends!” (I’ll take her.)
The rest is history. For the last 3 years I have traveled around France (and all the way to the United States!) with Véro. In fact, you might say I took to this new life like a duck to water.
When we are at home (that’s only half the year; my new friend happens to be an itinerant tour guide) I sit right next to her desk.
A few months after I returned to Paris with Véro, she got her ducks in a row and moved to Tours, the city where we had met. She claims that after years of turmoil she simply fell in love with Tours and the glorious region surrounding it (the Loire Valley) during that first visit. I’m just so happy I was in town that week!
December 2023. Another busy year has just wrapped up for Véro and Moi, Jeanne la Cane. Véro did not quite know how to write her Holiday newsletter and I offered to help. After all, we have been a team for a while, so much more than travel partners!
Vero’s Holiday message (and a gift!)
In the mood for Holiday vibes and some virtual travel? You have arrived.
A few weeks ago Véro and I stayed in the Alsace region just in time for magical local Christmas markets to open. Véro had to cut the trip short for personal reasons but she managed to capture special images before leaving town.
Time for me to duck out for a few minutes. Listen to Véro’s message, below. You will enjoy it! I’ll meet you here afterwards.
We are heading to Paris for the Holidays.
This season is supposed to be about relaxing and enjoying family time, but knowing Véro (like me, she is a tourist at heart!) I wouldn’t be surprised if she popped up now and then in her favorite Parisian spots she’ll be sharing with the France with Vero community.
For now, time to say “Au revoir!” My apologies if I got carried away. First time writing a newsletter ever.
How did I do? [Insert sheepish smile.]
As Véro’s favorite assistant, I need to earn my keep and would be remiss if I didn’t remind you this French duck and her best friend need your support to continue sharing the best of la Belle France in 2024. Merci beaucoup.
– Jeanne la Cane, the lucky duck
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