my stylish and almost french girlfriend – susan loomis

by Sharon Santoni



Among all the stylish French and ‘almost french’ girlfriends that I have the pleasure of spending time with here, there is one whose name will already be familiar to some of you.  She lives in a sleepy little market town, she is quite low profile around here, but her cookbooks are sold around the world.  Her name is Susan Loomis.

scenes from susan loomis's kitchen

Susan lives a little further down my valley, and has called France home for a couple of decades now.   She has raised her children here, and created her business from her house.  Good food is her passion, and she is a true authority not only on cooking techniques, but also on the best places to buy food all around France.

I went to visit with her  this week.   Very aptly for a food writer, she lives on a street called Rue Tatin, which has given rise to her company name.  Her beautiful home used to be a convent, and I love the way her garden lies in the shadow of the church.


I was at her door quite early, and together we made the twenty minute drive to a favourite farmers market, which takes place each Wednesday.


Susan shops at the market like a true French woman.  She goes with her menu in mind, but is still able to adapt and change her plans according to what she finds at the market.   In France we like to eat food according to season, which is what makes the farmers markets so vital and so lovely to visit.  No two weeks are ever the same, and there is always a new temptation.


The vendors all know her, and are eager to advise her on the freshest and most tasteful produce on their stand.   The fishmonger in particular (who if the bottom ever drops out of the fish selling market, could easily get a job as a stand-up comedian).  He and Susan had a long chat about buying fresh skate, and then tasted some of the mussels that he had cooked for his clients to try that morning.

buying fresh fish at teh market

Once her list was all ticked off, and both our baskets were heavy, (I swear it’s impossible to get out of a good food market empty handed)  We made our way back to the car, stopping only to buy fresh bread, then drove

While I mooched around her pretty garden, Susan went through the house pushing open the windows to let the lovely warm sunshine in.

opening windows in dining room


Susan’s daughter Fiona is still in high school, and occasionally she helps out with her mum in the kitchen.  Susan is in high demand as a personal chef, and also as a teacher.  She gives cooking classes in Paris, as well as  at her own home.

Her home classes include a trip to the market and cooking in her kitchen, before sharing the meal in her 12th century dining room.

two women in a french kitchen

There was some additional excitement when we got back because the postman brought Susan the first copy of her new book.    A lovely volume of true French recipes, gleaned from friends and acquaintances here.   I asked Susan if it is difficult to think up new recipes, she just laughed.  “Everyone has a different way of preparing  food, every recipe has a variant, all you have to do is observe and share”.

Well I’m sure it isn’t quite that easy, but I’m also sure that her recipes are truly French and each one tried and tested in her kitchen.


 If you would like to know more about Susan’s cooking classes, or pre-order the new book which is released next week, then just pop over to her website and click on the links.

susan hermann loomis at rue

susan loomis in her kitchen




Marika Ujvari June 11, 2015 - 8:14 pm

Where can I buy that basket on wheels??? It is so beautiful!!!

Maree Bell June 15, 2015 - 2:25 am

Love your blog, congratulations on your book. Thank you for your passion in so many things and sharing them. Would love to know where l can buy the French market cart.

Ann pauley December 17, 2016 - 1:58 am

I loved Susan loomis’s book
“On rue Tatin”
Where can one purchase that
Wonderful basket on wheels?

PEGGY BRASWELL June 11, 2015 - 9:00 pm

glad to know her + thanks for the introduction. xx

Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon June 11, 2015 - 9:09 pm

What a fun post. It makes me want to go with you to the market and stay and cook lunch.

annie June 11, 2015 - 9:19 pm

I have read one of Susan’s books and enjoyed it very much!

Vicky from Athens June 11, 2015 - 9:25 pm

Now I’ve been to market with you ladies I’m really hungry! I went to Susan’s website and saw that there are videos I can watch. I look forward to sitting down with a big mug of coffee and looking at some of them. Thanks!

danae sparrow June 11, 2015 - 9:45 pm

Look at those beets and radishes! Wow! Fabulous.

Marianne June 11, 2015 - 10:32 pm

Love, love, love your blog! Just discovered it recently and look forward to each new entry!

Cheryl June 11, 2015 - 11:00 pm

I have read On Rue Tatin twice, and Tarte Tatin once…I love her story, especially the search for the perfect stove…even though I am not a cook! Good to know that the two of you are friends!

Kathryn Gauci June 11, 2015 - 11:14 pm

I bought On Rue Tatin when it was out and loved it.
She has a great place – full of character.

Marsha @ Splenderosa June 11, 2015 - 11:15 pm

Last night at dinner we were discussing the art of making “stock.” So reading this post has made me very happy today. I’ll visit your girlfriend straight-away. What wonderful pics and thoughts you give us each time you post. It’s a gift !! Sending love…..

SUSAN HERRMANN LOOMIS June 11, 2015 - 11:32 pm

Sharon, What a lovely, lovely post! And can’t wait to see you again!


Susan Wright June 15, 2015 - 10:49 pm


From one red haired Susan to another– I love that hair!

Susan Wright
Washington, DC

Our French Oasis June 11, 2015 - 11:38 pm

I can never resist a good cookbook. Soon we will need a library just for them alone! It’s the one book the internet cannot replace and it’s easy for anyone to tell which are the most popular recipes – a finger print here, a sticky spot there – there is little to beat a favourite cookbook!

lissy parker June 12, 2015 - 1:58 am

Everything is simply beautiful. I love all of the produce available at the farmers market.
xo, lissy

Elvis Thomson June 12, 2015 - 3:57 am

The farmers market must be so good to buy from,everthing looks so good.How wonderful your friend lives in an old convent.All so exciting ,I really enjoy your emails with all the great news.

Sue Malizia June 12, 2015 - 4:34 am

I’ve followed on line, read and loved Susan’s books, as well as dream of going to France to take one of her classes someday…pretty cool to read that she’s one of your friends!!! =)

Etsuko Maruyama June 12, 2015 - 4:51 am

I enjoy your website and especially I am happy to find about Mme.Susan Loomis
this morning.

I am thinking of buying a book of hers and would like to know which book
you recommend. I am interested in not only tasty dishes she makes
but her beautiful house (how she furnishes her house etc.).

Esther George June 12, 2015 - 5:04 am

Hi Sharon, thank you for this beautiful blog, I’m daydreaming about being in this lovely home and garden, having cooking lessons and I’m sure great conversations, but you would have to drag me in from the garden. We have a show here called Masterchef it’s all about home cooks not trained chefs but they make everything look so good, I told my cousin if the judges saw my effort they would kill themselves laughing, she confessed it would be the same reaction to her effort. Note to self must check out the books. Thank you for sharing beauty. Have a lovely weekend, regards Esther from Sydney.

LA CONTESSA June 12, 2015 - 6:04 am

YOU know the BEST people…….and their HOMES bring me to TEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sarah malone June 12, 2015 - 6:14 am

I could live in that beautiful old convent! I enjoyed her videos on her website. I would love to be a better cook 🙂

Gaelle June 12, 2015 - 6:23 am

Lovely!! I will be adding her books to my list of “must reads”!

Emm June 12, 2015 - 6:57 am

On Rue Tatin has been on my cookbook shelf for a few years now, and it’s a wonderful book. What a lovely portrait of its author — thank you.

Rita June 12, 2015 - 7:36 am

Sounds so easy and beautiful!

Parisbreakfast June 12, 2015 - 8:48 am

Wonderful, delicious post. I can taste the apricots almost. Lucky you!
I just got a preview copy of Susan’s latest and I can’t wait to dive in. A fun concept.

Karena June 12, 2015 - 5:38 pm

Sharon, I can see that Susan is a talented and fascinating woman. I love the markets and must get her latest cookbook!! Have a great weekend!

The Arts by Karena

Ingrid June 12, 2015 - 7:13 pm

I loved the book Rue Tatin and a few weeks ago I told my Mom to read this book as well and she really enjoyed. Greez from the Netherlands.

Judith June 12, 2015 - 9:31 pm

I was delighted to see Susan Loomis on your blog today! On Rue Tatin is on the bookshelf ready to be read a third time. Thank you.

Jennifer June 12, 2015 - 10:04 pm

Lovely post! It was great to see the Loomis’ home. Sigh… I love France!

I read “On Rue Tatin” years ago and I loved it. (I must say, reading about the work they put into the house put me off *ever* thinking of remodeling in France…) It still sits on my shelves, right next to “The $64 Tomato” and “Kitchen Confidential”.

Thanks again. This was lovely!

Jana June 13, 2015 - 1:12 am

Those gorgeous markets must surely be prime inspiration to create fine meals -and to to write of those fine meals, too, as Ms. Loomis does. A beautiful post, as always.

Ann-Maree Hayes June 13, 2015 - 8:28 am

I have loved Susan’s books many years ago about making her house a home and her life in France. How lovely to read a continuation of her story through your beautiful words. Thank you.

Deb June 13, 2015 - 11:22 am

I was wondering when you two would cross paths. Susan’s blog is one of the three I follow that I put in the category “Ladies now living in France”
You already know Vicki Archer so it’s perfect you now know Susan. I did read her first book and it was really entertaining and at times quite humorous. All the details of fixing up the house and the trials and tribulations involved with the monks and getting to know the people in the village. Not to mention all the recipes.

Sandra June 14, 2015 - 4:17 am

What an incredible kitchen your friend has! It must be a dream to cook in with all that space! And her shopping basket is divine.

Julia June 15, 2015 - 8:00 am

How lovely! I have read Susan Loomis’ books so it was wonderful to be treated to a a behind-the-scenes glimpse of her world. I shall take the books with me later this week to re-read them on the ferry to St Malo!

Merci bien 🙂

Agnes Irene June 15, 2015 - 2:54 pm

What a dream! I’m going to order her cookbook now – the photos alone will make me want to seek out a farmers market and start cooking!


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