Sophie Grizzle Roumel has been appointed French government representative in Negril, Jamaica, just behind Ambassador Olivier Guyonvarch.
With deep ties to the region since childhood, Roumel, along with her father Daniel Grizzle, is best known as co-owners of the award-winning Charela Inn. She is also recognized as a fervent environmental champion for the region. Gleaner lifestyle sat down with Roumel for a quick chat to get the details of her new date and all things France.
Gleaner Lifestyle (GL): What does Honorary French Consul in Negril really mean?
Sophie Roumel (SR): The appointment of Honorary Consul of France in Negril comes after many years spent in the service of the Embassy in Kingston as Head of Island for various parishes. I assist French citizens and visitors with information and advice ranging from natural disasters to lost passports. I work closely with our ambassador in Kingston and my superior, the French consul in Panama.
The French are very fond of Jamaica, its music and its culture, so we welcome many visitors and the Negril area has many French residents who fell in love with Negril as early as the 70s and 80s, including my mother and we now have third generation youth.
GL: What is your relationship with France?
SR: My mother, the late Sylvie Grizzle, was French and I have a large family in France to whom I am very close. Growing up, my mother made sure I spent quality time with them, and my grandmother lived in Paris and exposed me to the arts, language, fine cuisine, French culture, and the love of nature. I have family that stretches from Toulouse to Dax in the south, via Bordeaux to Paris.
I still visit France as often as possible, but my family’s greatest pleasure is visiting us here in Negril.
GL: So as a Francophile, where would you suggest going for authentic French cuisine?
SR: Well, if you’re up for a gastronomic adventure, our restaurant at Charela Inn, Le Vendome, is serenely nestled by the sea where you can leisurely dine al fresco to the soothing sound of the bluest waves on the beach. of Negril. .
You can try the snails, as many young people are familiar with the food and have come to try them, some of which say they taste a bit like conch. Or you can taste our homemade foie gras by my cousin in the Landes, a region renowned in France for its production. Or sip a 1979 Bas Armagnac from the same region.
Our freshly baked croissants are served every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday morning for breakfast and are very popular. Our French-Jamaican fusion dishes allow us to have fun with a French touch and local ingredients, especially from our own farm; create delights ranging from soufflés to pancakes.
GL: How is it to live in France?
SR: Yes of course! Whether you live in a culturally vibrant Paris with its museums, theatres, restaurants, stroll along the Seine or take a Bateau-Mouche, this is the city of love you can’t resist. to fall in love with and visit again and again.
I spent many childhood holidays on the beach in Biarritz, which reminds me of Negril with the bustling cafes, restaurants and chic crowds strolling along the promenade and narrow streets.
I am truly lucky to have family living in many beautiful corners of France, which I love to explore and savor with them.
GL: A last word or a recommendation?
SR: I just want to say how honored I am to be appointed Honorary Consul and I will continue to strengthen the ties between Jamaica and France from my post here in Negril. Paris is preparing for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be very exciting. Long live France!