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Our Favorite Quotes from Beard on Books with Elizabeth Bard, Author of "Picnic in Provence"

Emily Abrams

Emily Abrams

July 27, 2015


Earlier this month, we welcomed journalist and author Elizabeth Bard to the Beard House to discuss her newest work, Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes, for the most recent installment of our Beard on Books series. Bard traveled to New York from the beautiful village of Céret, deep in the heart of southern France, to share her enchanting real-life fairy tale. Bard’s first book, the New York Times bestseller Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes, details her journey to love, marriage, and a dream life in Paris. Picnic in Provence picks up with a happily-married and pregnant Bard, whose life turns upside-down once more when a spontaneous trip to Provence takes her to places she never thought possible. Bard shared intimate moments from her life with great detail, captivating the audience with every word.  

Here are some of our favorite moments from her reading:

1) “I thought that I had found my forever place, and that I was going to be a Parisienne for life, but it turns out that life had other plans.”

2) “Picnic in Provence is a book about tomatoes—it’s a lot about tomatoes—but it’s also about ice cream, about motherhood, and the joys and the confusions and the leftovers in my own past that I had to sort through in order to be the kind of parent that I wanted to be. It’s about an evolving marriage, and entrepreneurship, and about how sometimes we have to sacrifice just a little bit of security to give ourselves a chance at passion and progress.”

3) “We wanted a happy business, does that make any sense? There are no grumpy people around an ice cream shop. People are just fundamentally happy when they’re eating ice cream.”

4) “People thought we were out of our minds to start a company in Céret and not in a bigger town nearby. But it needed to be where we lived, and we decided very early on that we were going to create a destination—that was the goal, and that would be the measure of real success—so people would say, 'Céret, oh yeah, that’s the place with the good ice cream. I think we have pretty much managed to do that.”'

5) “I had a moment of panic, where the bubble over my head read, ‘Is this why I went to université?’ But then I had a second thought about fresh fig sorbet, and that’s the thought that stuck.”

6) “There were even cultural differences in the ice cream flavors: when the French think of strawberry, they think of hot pink, pure fruit sorbet. I wanted a strawberry ice cream like the one that I grew up with, a sort of strawberries and cream. You know, very, very creamy, with just a blush of pink and chunks of strawberry in it.” 

7) “It’s been absolutely the wildest ride and a life that I never anticipated for myself. I think that above all, Picnic in Provence is a book about unexpected choices, and about how those can be the best choices that we can make. There is absolutely no five year plan in the world that would have gotten me where I am right now, and it’s exactly the right place to be.”