Once Upon a Villa

Adventures on the French Riviera

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Pub Date Mar 06 2024 | Archive Date Mar 01 2024

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In this wise, warm-hearted, witty, and LOL hilariously funny true account, New York Times bestselling author Andrew Kaplan tells what it’s like when he, his wife, and two-year-old son decided to chuck it all and live the fantasy in a villa by the sea in that extraordinary corner of the world – part international café society, part billionaires’ playground, part provincial France – that is the French Riviera.

Whether it’s matching wits with French bureaucracy, searching for the perfect bouillabaisse, encounters with con men, eccentric ex-pats, and Monaco’s royal family, partying with the international set on Onassis’ yacht, playing chess with a philosophical police chief, or adventures and friendships with the rich and famous and the presumably standoffish French, Once Upon a Villa will transport you to a fascinating and shrewdly-observed world that you will savor like your first-morning bite of pain au chocolate.

So pour yourself a glass of wine, open the book, and Santé!

In this wise, warm-hearted, witty, and LOL hilariously funny true account, New York Times bestselling author Andrew Kaplan tells what it’s like when he, his wife, and two-year-old son decided to...

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Featured Reviews

Enjoyable read as I got a chance to view life abroad through the eyes of another. I got to take my virtual vacation while I was actually on vacation myself.

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“Once Upon a Villa” by Andrew Kaplan captures the time (year?) that his family (wife, child, and himself) spent living in the French Riviera during the 1980s. While reading this book, Mr. Kaplan was also writing his third novel - so discussions about characters and plot were dropped in, too. I found this memoir, especially toward the beginning, to be rather good - it mentioned struggles about moving to a foreign country, meeting new people, finding ones way around a new area - including adjusting to the European way of shopping (this was pre-Tesco-like stores), and - of course - speaking a foreign language. As the book went on, however, I found myself losing interest in the name dropping and their very rich friends. Granted, the French Riviera is where the rich and well-known go - so I’m not faulting Mr. Kaplan for including the names and their friends’ situations. I would’ve liked an update (or maybe post-script?) about how Mr. Kaplan’s life was going - even if it was a few months after their time in France/Monaco - did they return to California, how’d the book deal go, were they still in touch with their friends? I know this book was different (memoir) from what he usually writes (thriller), so I applaud him for writing a different style - I just wish the last few chapters had held my interest as much as the beginning did.

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Not usually the kind of book I read, but wanted to try something different.
A fun, interesting read nonetheless!

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Once upon a Villa is a memoir about the time that Andrew Kaplan, his wife, and two year old son spent living on the French Riviera. They left the real world to live a fantasy life while he was writing his book. Although he spent plenty of time writing, they also got to know, and mingled with, billionaires, royalty and bureaucrats, as well as the international jet set. They were guests at their villas, partier, farmhouses, and yachts. They were taken to to best restaurants and pubs, and became well known by the chefs, bartenders, and waiters.

I found myself being envious of the life they were leading. At times I wanted to smack his wife for feeling so entitled, not caring about how much money they were spending even though their funds were limited. Perhaps when you start living that lifestyle you cannot stop and begin to feel a part of it.

When I first started reading this, I felt that this was not a real life, that people really didn’t live like this. How could the ordinary person ever fit in. But as I realized, anything is possible. I laughed at parts, wanted to cry at others, and held my breath towards the end. Thank you Net Galley for giving me the chance to read this advanced copy of Once Upon A Villa.

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France, writers, memories, family, toddler, language-issues, verbal-humor, situational-humor****

A year in the life of a small family in 1985/6 on the French Riviera. Enjoy the antics of the ancient stove, trying to find a washeteria, dealing with name droppers, chasing a toddler, writing another successful novel, and a whole lot more. Very entertaining and not a dead body anywhere!
I requested and received an EARC from Book Whisperer via NetGalley. Thanks!

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I really liked this book. Which is surprising as I usually cannot get into memoirs, no matter how well written. The way the author tells the stories are like you are sitting with him over a meal. The situations him and his wife find themselves are unexpected. And funny!! I feel like I was there! Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to read the ARC. I definitely recommend!

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This was very different to what i usually read as it is a memoir but what caught my attention initially was the traveling aspect of the book. I enjoy reading about different countries and their various cultures so this was an interesting read for me to live vicariously through the author’s experiences.

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Andrew Kaplan is a writer of spy novels. He and his wife and son spent almost a year on the French Riviera in 1986, where he went to write a book that became Dragonfire.
There are many interesting points of view in this memoir.
First, it is a look at how a writer writes. I found those parts so interesting. Following his mind as he thought out how to write the book, has me ready to find it and read it.
Second, and with full disclosure, I know Andrew, his wife and son, so seeing their exciting life on the Riviera was so much fun for me. The humor in just was so adorable.
The life they lived on the Cote D'Azure as well as in Monaco seems like a dream to me. Reading of their time there did make me realize that as a picky eater, I would not have made it through many of the meals they ate!
There is a lot of history mentioned in the book that brought back many memories for me, the Challenger disaster, Chernobyl, the bombing of Libya, and more.
There is fun and there are sad times .
I think my favorite part was a trip they took to Venice, which brought back more memories for me about my trip to Venice.
For anyone longing for a trip to France, to Nice, to the French Riviera, this book will perhaps give you a little idea of what it could be like.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my EARC . This is my honest review, and I highly recommend it.

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This was a fun book. If you're thinking, hasn't the moving-the-family-to-the-south-of-France thing been done, well yes, it has. But this is different from books like "A Year in Provence."

In "Once Upon a Villa," we join the author, his wife and their young son as they move to the south of France and deal with both run-of-the-mill locals and some very rich and powerful folks. While the author's writing career hadn't really hit its stride yet, he wasn't an unknown, either. His contacts and their contacts opened doors for the Kaplan family, and we get to go along for the ride, often moving in very high social circles.

There are issues along the way, from housing issues to medical ones, but overall these folks land on their feet and then some. They're not everyday Americans, but that's fine. They make no pretense of being just regular folks.

As the author and his son, Justin, share towards the end of the book,
"That was fun, wasn't it Dad?"
"Yeah, it was great. Never miss a chance to have fun, Justin."
"We're good at it, aren't we Daddy?"
"You know, I think we are."

So this is a life of some privilege, and maybe the fun the author and his son have aren't the same as what most of us may encounter, but the message remains good. So since this book is fun, I say go for it. You'll enjoy it!

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This was a fascinating books as I watched the process the author went through while writing his book. I envied him being able to pack his family up and move to the South of France to be able to do that. He talked about times being hard and money being "tight", but I had a hard time relating to that as they partied on yachts, in villas, traveled throughout Italy and Monaco. The wine and eating out expenses alone, must have been enormous on a daily basis.
Never the less, the novel was an interesting travelogue of interesting places, famous people and a quick look at the life of the wealthy. I'm not sorry I read it.

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Day to day life of an American couple with a young son....but in the south of France circa 1985. An ancient exploding oven, language barriers, daily chores and grocery shopping in a different environment.....along side parties on millionaire yachts. The contrasts are staggering. What amazed me was the amount of eating out done by the Kaplan's on what was a tight budget.
Andy is trying to write his latest best seller but it would seem social commitments are relentless, once the friendships have been made with other expats living on the French Riviera. Meanwhile Ann is left to juggle domestic life.....she definately had the most challenging role.
I enjoyed reading of the trials and tribulations more than the social outings, except when they included celebrity encounters and funny situations. This is memoir....not a Hello magazine article.
I was in Monaco in 1989, as a tourist, so it was nice to have a glimpse of what went on behind the doors I had access too.
Thanks to NetGalley, Andrew Kaplan and Book Whisperer for my copy.

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I couldn't put this book down. I was fascinated by the location, the experiences, the people, and the details of events from my childhood viewed through a different lens (like the Challenger explosion). I felt like I was Andy's friend (so delightful!) and didn't want the story to end. I hope Andy is writing biographical books about other times in his life. I want to read them! It also made me want to read Dragonfire, after reading so much about the writing process behind it.

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Read this now!
Once Upon a Villa is a charming memoir overflowing with notable names, tasty wines, fabulous food and interesting ex-pats. The ingredients all contribute to a totally enjoyable window into life on the Cote d’Azur in the mid-1980’s!

Reminiscent of Peter Mayle’s memoirs of life in Provence, the reader is spirited across the water to a most entertaining adventure in southern France.

Andrew Kaplan is a superb storyteller with a gift for sharing the everyday life activities in France of himself, his wife and 2 year old son and you are right there with them!

I wholeheartedly recommend this memoir! You are guaranteed a fascinating escape to the French Riviera.

Thank you to NetGalley for the complimentary eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Once Upon a Villa review – an expatriate memoir that avoids clichés

The glut of formulaic stories about foreigners reinventing themselves in France left me wary of another entry in the genre, Andrew Kaplan’s “Once Upon a Villa.” But his memoir pleasantly surprised for dodging well-worn tropes. Beyond the picturesque 1980s Riviera setting and brushes with celebrities like Onassis, Kaplan crafts a nuanced tale about the promises and pitfalls of uprooting for unfamiliar shores.

While affectionately skewering bureaucratic headaches in his adopted homeland, Kaplan resists smug generalizations about lazy, arrogant French. He praises their talent for “living” – lengthy convivial meals where conversation flows effortlessly. Yet he questions any facile divide between surface-oriented Americans versus philosophical continentals. When the Challenger disaster elicits widespread French grief over lost American lives, it underscores our common humanity despite cultural differences.

Kaplan probes knotty questions about what constitutes living fully without offering pat answers. Do we achieve it through material success or slowing down to savor life’s sensual pleasures? While exposing certain compatriots’ ugliest excesses abroad, from drug abuse to infidelity, his tone remains generous. Ultimately this memoir examines how brief moments of connection can enlighten entire lives.

Eschewing nostalgic escapism, Kaplan acknowledges the era’s Reagan-era nationalism yet turns a candid eye on uglier American tendencies. His luminous prose and empathic insight make for a rewarding portrait of complex lives. Rather than longing for a vanished past, “Once Upon a Villa” urges rediscovering those fleeting moments of wonder that make existence magical.

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Have you seen the James Bond film "Goldeneye'? Did you know that the author Andrew Kaplan is the writer behind this? I didn't. But now I do. Because I just finished his memoir, "Once Upon a Villa," and it was fantastic.

I may have misled you a little - the memoir doesn't have anything to do with James Bond, well, except for the fact it does take place on the French Riviera, which we all know is a favorite place for Bond to dazzle women and evade criminals.

In this adventurous, witty, and unique memoir, Andrew (or Andy, or André, depending where he is) and his wife Anne (plus their toddler, Justin) have decided to sell their house in LA and move to the south of France so that he can write his latest spy thriller. They live in rented homes in various villages in southern France, plus an apartment in Monaco, and quickly make friends with all sorts of intriguing people, including millionaires with yachts and even Princess Caroline herself.

This memoir is an exceptional example of great storytelling. I found myself pulling the old "just one more chapter" late at night, interested to see what would happen next. And as a former student of French, I was pleased that I knew about 90% of the written French sprinkled throughout the dialogue the book! (If you don't read French, don't let this daunt you: most of the French can be interpreted in context, or, the author will include the definition for you in parentheses. Plus, if you are reading on a Kindle, you can always highlight the word or phrase for a translation). I found the intermittent use of French in the recounted conversations to really immerse me in the setting. It made me feel more like I was there.

I also enjoyed reading about the author's experience of writing his book, which is interspersed with stories of their social life - their 12-hour Sunday lunches with friends, day trips, nights out with friends, and even a round of roulette at the famous Monte Carlo casino. I read a lot of memoirs, but can't say I've read one like this, which made me happy! I love finding a great story that captivates me, and bonus if it's one I can learn from. I felt like I was a fly on the wall during their 18 ish months in Europe, except I regretfully didn't get to enjoy any of the wine or food. I appreciated the subtle way I learned small tidbits about French food and culture while reading.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book and provide my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Andrew Kaplan's "Once Upon a Villa" is as a gust of fresh air in the expatriate writer genre that frequently seems like a case of déjà vu with different covers.

Set against the mid-1980s backdrop of the French Riviera, this narrative goes beyond the usual self-discovery trope. Kaplan, with his wife and new child, departs the U.S. for France with 17 suitcases, leaving behind their familiar lives. Rather than succumbing to the clichés of bureaucratic red tape or painting a broad stroke of French society as universally snobbish and lazy, Kaplan takes a refreshingly nuanced approach. He steers away from stereotypes and instead highlighting the genuine warmth and charm that define his newly adopted home.

The author's accounts of the writing process, interspersed with anecdotes that give the story its (situational) humor, made me feel as though I had been lent the very eyes writing. From 12-hour Sunday lunches to day trips, nights out with friends, and even a round of roulette at the renowned Monte Carlo casino, the memoir presents a unique blend. While offering a taste of glitzy escapism, the memoir also gently highlights humanity. I felt like a silent observer during the Kaplan family's sabbatical It felt like finding the one croissant in a bakery full of baguettes—distinct, indulgent, and a delightful departure from the norm.

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A thoroughly enjoyable work! On the first page, I became aware of the quality of writing that draws one in with smoothness and humour. I was ignorant of Kaplan's work - I am not a crime thriller reader, and do enjoy going into NetGalley suggestions with no author background- so the surety of the writing was a pleasant surprise to me.

The lightness of the writing was perfect with the glamour of the setting and characterization. The fact that this was a memoir was even better. Reading this book was like taking a trip to the coast of France itself. For a fan of writing about this area (the Murphys, the Fitzgeralds, the Hemingways), it was pure nostalgia.

The tale of Kaplan's young family and their difficulties as well as joys, was well drawn, and realistic. Once Upon a Villa is definitely on my list for gifts to all that love the Riviera, if only from afar!

Many thanks to NetGalley and BookWhisperer for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is my first book by Mr Kaplan, and I enjoyed everything about it very much. First and foremost
it’s hilarious, possibly without intending to be, which makes it funnier. I enjoyed all of the settings
from Southern California to countries and villages in Europe. For those who are familiar with the
publishing industry there is plenty to drive the story, and there are some shocking surprises around
every corner. There are a couple of moments of sadness, however, the Author does a masterful job
with the events and the aftermath, bringing us back to the general levity of this story.
Imagine, if you will, deciding to pack up life, which includes a toddler, to relocate to the UK. WHY?
To get your novel kickstarted, to make big money on your as of yet, mostly unwritten book…for which
you have have been paid… For a lot of people, the moment you say, “toddler,” you have a
problem! However, this little guy is a gem. And the same folks might blanch hearing about the
hassles involved in simply finding a place to live in Italy, or France. I, on the other hand, enjoyed
every page of the fabulous experiences our friends had in each place they called home for a few
months at a time.
I highly recommend this book.! My thanks to Smugglers Lane Press for a download copy of this
book for review purposes.

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Adventures on the French Riviera

This is a LOL hilariously funny true account written by Andrew Kaplan telling us what it was like when he, his wife and two year-old son decided to leave everything behind and live the fantasy life on the Cote d’Azur. In the French Riviera the Kaplan matched wits with French bureaucrats, searched for the perfect French cuisine, met with con men, eccentric ex-pats, Monaco’s royals, attended Onassis’ parties, made friends with a police chef and had adventures with the rich and famous.....as the story goes....pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy this wise, warm and witty story.

For most parts I loved this account. It is written to bring us into his world and makes us feel we are sharing a meal, paying at the casino, partying with the rich and famous along with him. Also interesting is the journey getting to the Riviera and the struggles to find housing and trying to fit in. The Kaplan did well and even managed to rent Roman Polanski’s estate. Of course being in France it is inevitable the French language is spoken and Mr. Kaplan makes great use of his knowledge and seasoned his thoughts throughout with words and long sentences. If you know some French, you will feel right at home.

It is evident that rubbing shoulders with the upper class Mr. Kaplan is well-off and is used to the finer things. But ¾ into, I lost interest in the excessive partying, drinking, eating, and the name dropping of designer clothes and of famous people.....enough was enough. Mr Kaplan is clever, along the way why not promote his other books and he did so with finesse simply slide this in during a conversation....Ok...I am interested.

The author touches panoply of subject that happened during his stay that brought back events that happened a long time ago: ex. the Challenger disaster and Chernobyl and the bombing of Libya. He expresses mostly the widespread sympathy from people around him.

It is a good book although the beginning was by far much more captivating then the last ¼.

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Memoirs of this type are not my usual read, but I was intrigued by the location. It was interesting read about experiences that I will surely never have, but definitely added some places to my travel wish list.

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I really. enjoyed Andrew Kaplan's memoir "Once Upon a Villa: Adventures on the French Riviera." In this book we follow Kaplan's family's journey to the French Riviera to live in a "billionaires' playground." We follow their integration in society, housing and the culture. It is quite obvious Kaplan is well off, which is both an interesting dynamic, but also un-relatable to most audiences. I wish there had been more depth on their return journey, but I did enjoy seeing the French Riviera through his eyes and found myself smiling and laughing as I shared in his experiences.

Thank you to NetGalley and Smugglers Lane Press for the ARC.

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Once Upon a Villa
By Andrew Kaplan

Mr. Kaplan is an American author writes in the espionage thriller genre. In this book, he changes things up and writes a memoir about a year his family spent living on the French Riviera.

As with all successful fiction writers, Kaplan tells a good story. He and his wife and toddler son left California for France, so that he could concentrate on his writing and try to make it big as a serious writer. And while he does write "Dragonfire" – considered his breakthrough novel – during this period, this book is the story of their adventures while in southern France, Monaco and Italy.

Mr. Kaplan claims that virtually everything in this book happened, it is a wild tale filled with excesses which stretch credibility. The life that Andrew and Anne lead, full of millionaires and billionaires, eating and drinking to excess, and dragging a small child through all this until all hours of the night seems almost unbelievable. Today in America they would be guilty of driving drunk and certainly endangering the welfare of a child,

Although I enjoy a good spy novel, I was not previously familiar with Mr. Kaplan's work. While implausible, this story is entertaining, and Kaplan's struggles to finish "Dragonfire" have encouraged me to read it!

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I wanted to read the is one because I love travel memoirs. This definitely scratched that itch for me, but the French Riviera and the rich, party lifestyle wasn’t my favorite as far as travel memoirs go.

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I came into this not really knowing who Kaplan is and so I had no real expectations beyond wanting to read a few interesting anecdotes about living the life on the French Riviera. It not only delivers on that, but you also get to enjoy side quests to gorgeously described cities in Italy as well as the trials and tribulations of an author trying to birth their masterpiece.
Kaplan is really good at describing people and places so that it feels like you are right there with the people he got to know while living on the Riviera. I left the book wanting to know if things worked out with the people he and his family left behind when they returned to the US, which, to me, is a sign of good writing.
My one gripe is that it sometimes feels disconnected as Andrew and Anne are constantly worrying about money but go to fancy restaurants, stay at high-class hotels, and shop at high-end boutiques. It's obvious being worried about a budget was different for them at the time, but it made it a little difficult to join in worrying about how they're going to make it in the Riviera if they're having nightly cocktails at the hippest Monte Carlo bars of the era. A minor thing that it might not be noticed by other readers, but the only fault I found with this engaging memoir.

Very happy thanks to NetGalley and Book Whisperer for the second-hand adventure.

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This was a delight. Reading about the scenery, food, scandals, celebrity encounters, and adventures of a family who uprooted to the south of France in the 80s. A dream of mine, lived vicariously through the pages of this charming memoir. One hundred percent recommended!

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Once Upon a Villa by Andrew Kaplan is a memoir set in the French Riviera, Monaco, Italy, London, and more.

Several stories are wrapped up within the main narrative, and multiple characters became part of their circle while abroad, so I found it a little challenging to keep track of who was who. I liked Andy’s relationship with his wife and young son and how he gave his best to his writing. I definitely will read one or more of his spy thrillers, as will my husband.

We were taken on a rollercoaster ride throughout Europe, and it was easy to visualize everything—the food, apartments, small businesses, restaurants, parties, roads, and the beach. The story has several parts, and I loved the chapter titles that hinted at what was to come. The inclusion of their son Justin and seeing the world through his eyes was a novelty. I enjoyed the author’s name-dropping of those they met and the inclusion of real-world events in various fields and locales. Their visits to Florence, Venice, and London made me feel like I was reliving my visits.

There is a good flow to the story, but the inclusion of various languages without explanation often made it difficult to follow and interpret it to mean what the author intended. I liked the conclusion but wished it had gone on a little longer with an epilogue explaining where he and his family ended up. We definitely know he was successful in his writing.

Once Upon a Villa is a memoir that drew me in despite my not knowing the author at all. I enjoyed the literary references and seeing how hard the author worked at his craft. It’s definitely an enjoyable read in a genre I’m not usually drawn to.

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Book Review: Once Upon a Villa: Adventures on the French Riviera by Andrew Kaplan
Published by Smugglers Lane Press and Book Whisperer, March 6, 2024

★★★★★ (4.5 Stars rounded up!)

Côte d'Azur, Southern France
(Also known as "The French Riviera")
Circa 1985 /1986.

From the get-go, the Kaplans pull out all the stops! They snag the so-called "Polanski" villa at Cap d'Antibes, about 35 miles due southwest of Monaco. (See Footnote 1.)

A stone's throw to the northwest of the villa, you'd find le Baie des Milliardaires d'Antibes, or the Bay of Billionaires, where the yacht of the King of Arabia lays anchored. And a mile northeast, la Plage de la Garoupe beach, nicknamed "Gatsby's" beach by the Kaplans, because, Kaplan writes, that's where F. Scott Fitzgerald had written much of "The Great Gatsby" (1925).

Thus the life of the Kaplan family of three begins, once upon a villa. Bestselling author, Andrew, then twice published, ex-GI, ex-IDF, ex-IHT (International Herald Tribune) journalist based in Paris; his wife, Anne, and their precocious 2 1/2 year-old toddler, Justin.

Before long, the Kaplans learn that life in France is like no other place. That the first floor of a building here is called the "rez-de-chaussée" followed by the first floor, which in American buildings would be the second floor. That the French interpretation of "punctuality" has its own special meaning. That "finger wagging" remonstrates wordless Gallic expressions. And that that the renewal of a French "carte de séjour" or temporary residence permit is not the easiest thing in the world, which is a gross understatement.

No hospital gowns needed here.
Later, when Anne gets diagnosed with tubular pregnancy, she undergoes investigative surgery at a French hospital. As Anne lays patiently in her birthday suit, Andrew asks politely that his naked wife be given a gown. The puzzled nurse looks at him oddly and asks, "Why?"

This close to Monaco, it's almost inevitable that a fairly prominent American author gets to brush elbows with royalty. Turns out Princess Caroline, herself, daughter of Princess Grace of Monaco, ends up benevolently offering to help the Kaplans find a proper "crèche" or nursery for little Justin.

Celebrity galore too, as the couple find themselves at a party on Christina Onassis' yacht. Elsewhere, in a seaside cafe in Monte Carlo, Kaplan incidentally meets an 18-yr-old German boy, whose name so happens to be Boris Becker, just before the teenager wins his first major title and becomes the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon gentlemen's singles title in 1985.

Then a swing to Venice, Harry's Bar off Piazza San Marco, and those peachy Bellinis, living the life, and why not?

The highlight of their trip has to be "Le Bal de la Rose" or the Rose Ball, the annual charity gala for the elites at the exclusive Monte-Carlo Sporting Club organized by the Royal family of Monaco since 1954.

Santé! Skoal! L'Chaim!
And soon enough, the Kaplan family bids a fitting farewell to their friends and acquaintances, not with a goodbye, but with the French phrase for "...'til we meet again", as they head back home. Even as teenager Boris Becker sweeps Ivan Lendl in straight sets to win Wimbledon on July 6, 1986. Yellow balls were used in the tournament for the first time...

(Footnote 1. Roman Polanski was the prior occupant of the "Polanski" villa, a week or so before the Kaplans. Polanski is of course the famous director of those blockbuster movies "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) and "Chinatown" (1974); also noted for his "tabloid bacchanal indiscretions".)

// To vicariously follow the Kaplans to places of interest mentioned in the book, I'd suggest readers keep Côte d'Azur on Google Maps, bookmarked on Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (IATA: NCE) for reference. //


I thoroughly enjoyed this book in its authenticity, and couldn't help but recall an all-time favorite about an Englishman who lived with his wife in Provence, about 200 miles west of Cap D'Antibes and Monaco in the Luberon mountains, during just about the same timeline as this novel.

"Once Upon a Villa" (2024) and "A Year in Provence" (1989). How do they compare?

Peter Mayle wrote his masterpiece about his immersion as a British expat into French life n Ménerbes, a village in the southern département Vaucluse, followed by about fourteen sequels on Provence and the French language and culture, for which in 2002 the French conferred on him their highest order of merit, "Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur" (Knight of the Legion of Honor) for "coopération et francophonie".

I doubt if the French would do the same to Andrew Kaplan for his brief detour in Côte d'Azur. But then, his readers would gladly do the honors. We'd close the book, have one last chuckle, raise that glass, and say, "Salut!".

Kudos to you, Mr. Kaplan, for sharing it all in an excellent book. Nice title too.

Review based on an advanced reading copy courtesy of Smugglers Lane Press, Book Whisperer and NetGalley.

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If you’ve ever dreamt of packing up your life and moving to the south of France, this is the memoir for you. When author, Andrew Kaplan, decides to try and write a spy novel he persuades his wife that a move to France would greatly enhance the writing process. Before you know it the two of them have packed up their toddler and are on their way!

This tale of their expat life is charmingly descriptive and is easy to get wrapped up in. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The episode of the exploding stove had me laughing out loud. I highly recommend this book! Thanks to Net Galley and Book Whisperer for allowing me to read an advance copy.

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I love memoirs and love travel and this book was just that sort of thing. To read about other people, their lives and adventures is always a bit of fun for me. There is a bit of everything in this book and it was quite interesting hearing about his writing and his life and family.

Great setting and a good true tale of life abroad and how people cope with this type of adventure. There is humour, there is sadness, there is everything. It is an enjoyable and entertaining read that made me want to travel and have more adventures myself.

Thank you NetGalley and Book Whisperer for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Delightful, witty and charming. I certainly enjoyed this light hearted book. I loved the glimpse of living in France. This memoir was also enlightening. I was blessed with a free advance review copy, and I am submitting my review voluntarily. Highly recommend if you want a fun, enchanting read.

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I enjoyed this book. It was a very easy fun read and I think everyone should read it. Thank you for writing such a good book!

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This was a wonderful read when Andrew Kaplan his wife and their young son decide to head to the French Riviera for a year the fun begins.The beautiful setting the authors writing makes this a pleasure to read fun to share in their travels from my reading chair.#netgalley #onceuponaVilla

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A delightful memoir of life on the French Riviera! If you enjoy memoirs you will enjoy this one by bestselling author Andrew Kaplan. It takes place in the 1980’s when he and his family lived in various places on the French Riviera while he was writing one of his books. It is hilarious at times and while I was reading it, I kept thinking, did this really happen and how did he remember everything??
Having visited the French Riviera myself just last year I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the towns and places that I visited. It brought back lovely memories for me.
The author also referenced some important news events that took place in the United States during this time period as well and I thought that was really interesting.
The writing style is very good and easy to read with lots of dialogue. It felt as though the author was having a conversation with me. It must have been an extraordinary experience for the author and his family to get to live abroad and meet so many fascinating and famous people and I wonder if he ever went back.
Thank you Andrew Kaplan for writing and sharing your stories and experiences! Bravo 👏🏼
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

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