‘I believe your husband has recently snuffed it.” The French charmer Charlot (Michael Fenner) supplies what are hardly les mots justes in addressing the widowed Anna (Lucy Fleming) on her arrival in Paris to stay with her old schoolfriend Nancy (Marlene Sidaway). Good as his English is, his grasp of the idiom has deserted him on this occasion.

Handyman Charlot’s desire to polish his English is a neat device by playwright Jill Hyem to explain why everybody on stage is not speaking French, which might have proved a little difficult for the audience at the Mill for this delightful feelgood comedy. Even when Nancy’s impossibly stuck-up landlady Madame Boussiron (Anna Nicholas) arrives on the scene, the language remains the same. With a shudder of disapproval at the mangled attempts at her native tongue, she quickly concludes that it is wiser for their dealings to be conducted in English.

We’ll Always Have Paris represents a return to stage writing by Ms Hyem after a long time away. A vintage writer for radio and television, she has to her credit such popular series as Tenko, Howard’s Way and The House of Elliott. To her fell the distinction of writing the last episode of The Dales and the first of Waggoners’ Walk, which replaced it.

If all this suggests a ‘soapy’ approach to her craft, let me say that this is nowhere evident in this play which, far from being in any way artificial, tells an excellent story that is utterly true to life.

The characters are all admirably drawn, with Nancy in particular a very warm and endearing woman. A retired head teacher of a primary school, unmarried all her life, she has retired to live in Paris, a city whose culture and lifestyle suit her admirably.

Anna joins her initially for a weekend but soon decides to stay much longer. This eventually leads to ructions with Madame Boussiron, who announces she is ending the tenancy. A curious feature of the play is that her threat to evict them on the morrow is never followed up though, or indeed mentioned again, and the women continue to live in the flat.

From a dull and rather dowdy old lady, Anna is transformed by her new environment into the epitome of chic, who starts to attract admiration – which female does not? – from Charlot. But she continues to behave with utter decorum, unlike her and Nancy’s other schoolmate Raquel, also now resident in Paris where she enjoys what can only be called a very colourful sex life. As portrayed by Louise Jameson, still remembered as Dr Who’s sexiest assistant, she has no trouble at all convincing us of her potent pulling power.

Directed by Joanna Read and with an admirable set by Michael Holt, the play continues at the Mill until April 10 and is highly recommended. So, too, is the dinner served before the show. Under head chef Wayne Hawes, the dishes are tasting better than ever, the vegetables especially.

Box office telephone: 0118 969 8000 (www.millatsonning.com).