Friendship, L’amitié – priceless wherever you are

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Ask me to list all the great memories of our 4-1/2 months in Antibes this past summer and I could go on and on. This is one of my favourites.

One thing most women need, no matter where in the world they are, is a good hairdresser.  (I seriously envy those who don’t!)  So what’s a girl to do but check out some good-looking haircuts and ask for a salon name.

Valerie Coiffure on Avenue Thiers was the place to go, I was told. The location was close to us … but then everything was. The fact they might not speak English had me a bit concerned because when it comes to haircuts and colour, a slight misunderstanding can result in … um, well … serious trauma! I wasn’t too confident about being able to make myself understood in French when it came to specific “coiffure vocabulaire” but, dictionary in hand, off I went.

The salon was busy when I arrived for my first appointment but soon there was just one other client, Christiane, and myself along with the owner, Valerie, and her young colleague, Charlotte.

Within a very short time the salon was filled with laughter as the four of us wrestled with conversation. Christiane is a long-time friend of Valerie’s mother as well as Valerie and Charlotte. She has an appointment every Saturday and stays for the day helping out. But really she fills the place with sunshine and laughter as she is one of the most delightful women I’ve ever met. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious. By the time I was finished,  happy with the results I might add, I decided I would only make my appointments on Saturday too.

Next visit I was sitting with colour in my hair and Valerie, Charlotte, and Christiane disappeared to the back of the salon. I heard something that sounded suspiciously like a champagne cork popping and they appeared holding a flute of champagne each and one for me. We munched on delicious nibblies made by Charlotte’s belle-mere and carried on as if we had known each other forever. It was Christiane’s birthday and coincidentally mine was two days later.

These three lovely women shared their friendship and joie de vivre with me for the four months I lived there and I’ll never forget them. Simply through general conversation they taught me things about the culture and everyday life in France that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. Family, men, food, wine, traditions, language, life in general – we hit on every subject and always with a lot of laughter.  Lucky me to meet such warm, authentic, genuine  women whose friendship I will always treasure.

The day before I returned to Toronto, Valerie closed the shop at noon and treated the four of us to lunch in Place DeGaulle, the main town square. We toasted our friendship and said our farewells knowing the connection we made will last. Merci mille fois, mes chères amies!

Christiane and I connect on Facebook now so our news still gets shared.  These are the kind of experiences that make travel so rewarding and special. Miles mean nothing these days through the magic of social media.

And, by the way, if you ever are in Antibes, France and want the best in hair-styling, colour, cut and conversation, Valerie Coiffure is definitely the salon to visit!

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”

-Kahlil Gibran

Courtesy of

Friendship is a big part of my life. It’s what my novel, The Bridge Club, is all about.  It’s something I value and nurture in my life and I feel incredibly fortunate to have the friends I do. Do you have friends in distant places? How do you stay in touch? 

Here’s a link to a great travel blog I follow and an article on other meaningful travel connections.

Published by patriciasands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada when she isn't somewhere else, particularly the south of France. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and has now published three novels, including two that are part of a six-book series set in the south of France. Love France? Love her work! Check out her website She is particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships of women and the challenges many embrace once their families are grown. "It's never too late to begin something new," she enthuses. "As the saying goes, just do it!"

10 thoughts on “Friendship, L’amitié – priceless wherever you are

  1. so this lady is from toronto ? leaving in quebec for the last 40 odds years,is there any way i can contact this lady ?

      1. Oh, yeah. And I have some hairdresser stories to share 🙂
        During my very first month of living in Copenhagen, my friend took me to get a haircut. The stylist didn’t speak English, Russian, German, or Polish (well, I tried what I knew) and I didn’t speak Danish. My friend translated but something got terribly lost in that translation, because I ended up with a haircut suspiciously resembling a crew-cut. Seriously. Upset, I sat on a curb outside and cried. I thought that I looked like an Easter egg (super short blond hair) so to remedy that I decided to color my hair black. Well, the effect was a bit “better” than an Easter egg — I looked like a rocker (spiked hair and all!), ha,ha.

      2. OMG Angela, talk about laugh out loud! I can just picture it and I know how you must have felt. Bad haircuts are just soooo hard to deal with but it sounds like you made the best of it. Somehow I imagine you still looked pretty darn cute!


  2. I love all your France posts! What an amazing thing, to meet those ladies and become friends. They are adorable and I love the skirt on the blonde. So sweet!

    Just makes me want to move there. Now I just need to convince the hubs.

  3. Awwww…this totally warmed my heart! How amazing to connect with other women in that special way and to learn the France culture up close and personal. Sooo special and memories you will have for a lifetime!!
    I have a lot of close women friends and I don’t know what I’d do without them. Most of them live nearby but a few are at a distance and we mostly stay in touch with text, facebook, and email.
    Girlfriends are a treasure!

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