About Harriet

HSmilingH2009Harriet Welty Rochefort is an author, speaker, freelance journalist, former professor of journalism at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and longtime resident of France.

Her latest book on the French, “Joie de Vivre: Secrets of Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French” was published in October 2012 by St. Martin’s Press.   It was preceded by  two  light-hearted but informative books, French Toast and French Fried, also published by St. Martin’s Press.

A French-American dual citizen, Harriet lives with husband Philippe in the trendy east of Paris in a garden apartment with a tiny lawn just big enough to mow and a fig tree that has miraculously defied both Paris weather and pollution.

In the picture Harriet is seated on a bench in another garden, Les Jardins du Palais-Royal, one of her favorite places in Paris.   Photo credit:   Jen Geer.

For a comprehensive look at life in France, visit Harriet and Philippe’s site:  www.understandfrance.org.

21 thoughts on “About Harriet

  1. Pingback: Paris – Harriet Welty Rochefort talk | International Perspectives

  2. Gijs Buis

    Dear Harriet,

    I’m a dutch admirerer of your work! And I must wanted to thank you for your Blog and your sense of detail in your stories. I am living it and It is an inspiration. I’m starting out in wordpress and I will follow you.

    Grtz, Gijs Buis

    1. harriet.welty Post author

      Dear Grtz, Gijs Buis (hope I got that right),

      How lovely to have a Dutch admirer of my work! Please do continue to follow my blog. As I explained to another reader, I’ve taken a little break but will be posting regularly. There are so many stories to tell about France and the French. I’ll be taking excerpts from my own books about the French as well as telling tales about daily life in France, always trying to maintain the sense of detail you mention in your message. Thanks for writing.

      With best regards,


      1. Kim Jackson

        Bonjour Harriet!!

        I visited you more than 5 years ago with a group of women and had a fantastic cheese tour at your home! Traveling again in Sept and want to connect. Please email me!

        Kim Jackson

  3. Zaida Cordero-MacIntyre Ph.D.

    Mrs. Harriet Welty Rochefort: I just finished reading “Joie de Vivre”; it gave me a lot of Joie. I am a Francophile and try to visit France specially Paris every year to get my “fix” of French culture and way of life. I hope you continue to delight us with more of your writing. I also read French toast and enjoyed is so much.
    Kind regards, Zaida

    1. harriet.welty Post author

      Dear Zaida,
      Lovely to hear that reading “Joie de Vivre” gave you a lot of joie! I’m so pleased to hear from Francophiles like you who love France as much as I do.
      Many thanks for taking the time to write. And do continue to look at my blog- I took a little break but will be posting more articles about the French on a regular basis so stay tuned!
      Best regards,

  4. Julie Hagenbuch

    Hi, I heard you speak a few weeks ago to our Bowling Green State University students at the AUP. I really enjoyed your talk, came home and am reading your books now:) Just finished French Toast and am on Joie de Vivre.
    I think your books are great and wanted you to know:) I wish you would have brought them with you that day, since I would love to have you sign them, but maybe next time.

    I will definitely let Berna know when we plan to return so we can book you again!

  5. harriet.welty Post author

    Hello Julie,
    Thanks so much for your message. I’m a bit late in answering it but wanted you to know I appreciate your contacting me regarding my talk at the International Media Seminar at the AUP and my books. I’m glad you liked “French Toast” and hope you’ll enjoy “Joie de Vivre”. I’d love to hear your remarks on them!
    Do let Berna know when you return. If you bring your books along with you, I’ll be happy to sign them.
    Best regards,

  6. Pingback: France Bookshelf: Some of My Favorite Books About France | Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road

  7. Holly Lyall

    Bonjour Madame Harriet,
    I am currently half way through “Joie De Vivre” and loving it! I returned from my first trip to Paris in April of this year. I am smitten. I signed up for French language classes and plan to return to Paris soon! I read in your book that you live close to PL cemetery. I read”A Beautiful Death” and then had to go to PLC, But I have been plagued by a mystery…there is a walled “secret” room to the left of the Auschwitz memorial with razor wire on the top. Someone does not want to be disturbed or noticed. Do you have any idea about this room? I cannot find any information on it but certainly someone else must be as curious as I am. I thought Paris was the most beautiful place on Planet Earth. We went to Vimy and I was just blown away by the monument and the countryside around it. The only word I could think over and over was authentic. Paris was just itself, if that makes any sense. You are living mon reve, Madame! Keep writing, we are listening! Many thanks, Holly

    1. harriet.welty Post author

      Bonjour Holly,
      Thanks for your lovely note. I am so glad you are loving “Joie de Vivre” and that after your first trip to Paris, you are as enamoured of it as I continue to be. Regarding the Père Lachaise mystery you mentioned, I often go there and have stood in front of the Auschwitz memorial but have never seen a walled “secret” room. I’ll go over there, have another look, and let you know if I find out anything. Cordialement, Harriet

  8. Linda LaRoche

    Hello Harriet,

    I know that you write about your love of france and culture. Unfortunately, I no longer live in Pasadena but had I been there I could have met you at Vroman’s.

    My blog is 4.5 years old, I cover the writing process, women’s interest, and lifestyle; including my years living in Europe. My aim is to uplift and entertain. I wanted to request that you add me to your Blogroll but see that you don’t have one. My error.

    Given that, I think you’ll find this of interest:

    Anyway, I’ll be reading your work and hope that some day our paths cross.
    Thanks for your time.

    Linda LaRoche
    Do Write/ Fulfillment, Fun & Foibles

  9. George Sunday

    My husband and I are true Francophiles, and are fascinated with anything to do with France and the French.
    From its history, art, architecture, music, literature, history, language (my husband speaks fluent French) etc., we can’t get enough. I, particularly, love to read about Americans living in France, hence your two books, ‘French Toast’ and ‘Joie De Vivre’ are two favorites of mine. They help me better understand and appreciate what it’s like to reside there, as we hope to one day call France our home. Your particular style of writing makes me feel as though you are personally sharing your information between the author and the reader, which makes it an even more enjoyable read. You make France sound both romantic and real, which makes it, to us two, even more appealing, encouraging us to make our move ASAP. In the meantime, I’m enjoying reading your books and your website.
    Thanks so much for an enjoyable read!

    1. harriet.welty Post author

      I am so embarrassed to be writing to you only now. You have probably given up on reading my blog but I hope not. As I told another reader, I”m planning to stick with it now and hope those who liked it will return. You are my ideal readers as well, being true Francophiles so I hope to hear from you again after another few posts. Thank you so much for writing and your kind words about my books which I’m delighted that to learn are among your favorites.
      Best wishes,

  10. Pingback: France Bookshelf: Some Good Books About France | Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road

  11. Sarah

    The terrible events in Paris on 15 Nov have saddened the whole world. I hope that you and your family and friends have not been hurt and that you will continue to write and to blog. With my most sincere good wishes, Sarah.

  12. Sarah

    Little correction: I wrote ’15 Nov’ when I meant to put ’13 Nov’. Very sorry. Still feeling very shocked and upset.

  13. Lenore Simon

    Dear Harriet,
    I read about your eagerness to learn more about the Ballerina whose Bas Relief Headstone is in the
    Paris Cemetery. I filled out a form earlier but not certain you received it….So, here I go again. I had the pleasure of attending Washington Irving High School in New York City where both Harriet and I majored in Fine Art. It was an amazing education in that our instructors were highly regarded professionals in their field. Robert Gwathmey had a show at MOMA with Jacob Lawrence . A Sculptor Robert Russin created the figures for the City of Hope among other well received projects.I had the pleasure of seeing Harriet perform at City Center where she was the female half of the Duet that performed The Chinese Dance from The Nut Cracker Suite while she was in her early teens. I still may have a drawing
    I did of Harriet when she posed for our Class. She was quiet, serious about her studies and outstanding
    as an extremely capable Ballerina. It was a shock to learn of her death when I was a young bride who was following my husband from one location to the next after he was inducted into the Army. Harriet was a year younger than yours truly and had so much promise. Her classmates knew her as Harriet although I believe the gravestone referred to her as Joan… Should I come across the picture I drew I wlll send a copy to you. I am still working at my craft and welcome you to view my work. The first picture on my website of another student was done when Harriet and I were at W.I.H.S. (an all girls school which gave us a greater
    capacity to focus on our schoolwork).

    1. harriet.welty Post author

      Dear Lenore,
      I am only now reading the mail on my website. Fortunately you wrote me on my email and we discussed your message. I am so glad to be in touch with you because that gravestone has always intrigued me, not to mention that I have the same first name. Let me know if you receive my next post. After getting very busy writing a novel, I am now getting back to the blog and plan to post more regularly. With all best wishes, Harriet Welty Rochefort


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