Monthly Archives: May 2016

We’re going to a biker bar?

A bar on the pedestrian walkway

A bar on the pedestrian walkway

We’re not late night people and the TV channels that we get don’t help us to stay up. We intentionally have only French television so once 8:00 PM rolls around and the news comes on our unofficial language instruction stops and we struggle to find something interesting to watch. Last night was a bit different because a semi-final episode of Eurovision, the multi-country song contest, was playing and we wanted to see what artist might be getting their big break. Previous winners who went on to worldwide fame include ABBA and Céline Dion. Around 9:30 PM, with the show still on, imagine our surprise when the doorbell rang. Read the rest of this entry

Don’t go in there

No vehicles, no people, no camping

No vehicles, no people, no camping

We walk a lot. Some days it’s to the market in town; other days it’s to the hypermarket on the outskirts of town; but every day it’s to pick up a baguette (this is France, after all) and to walk along the river. The accompanying photo and the conglomeration of signs is what we encounter if we go on one particular route. What does it all mean? Read the rest of this entry

Poo vs. pooing

Shampoos for men and dogs

Shampoos for men and dogs

When friend and fellow blogger Tracy was trying to encourage us to start this blog, she said that just about anything we did or saw could become the subject of a post. I’m not sure that she had this post’s title in mind when she wrote a few months ago “even the French shampoo you use on Heather” could be something to write about. You see, in France you have to add an “ing” to the word we use in English to wash our hair. The attached photo should explain everything. Read the rest of this entry

Not there you don’t

TV Carcassonne's studios overlooking the main square

TV Carcassonne’s studios overlooking the main square

One of the advantages of living in another country is getting to compare your new experiences with the ones you are used to. We were watching television the other day and a political ad came on. That’s not a topic we pay a lot of attention to but in the hopes of improving our language skills we watched it anyway. As with much of what we see that doesn’t come with French subtitles, we didn’t fully understand the message until the commercial concluded and the sponsor’s logo and name flashed up: Parti Socialiste. Oh my, that would never happen on American TV. Read the rest of this entry

Drive, he said

Drive up shopping

Drive up shopping

If you just glance at this photo you might think that we had gone to a drive-through gambling establishment. In Louisiana and some other states too they have drive-through liquor stores where you can pick up a case of wine and a frozen daiquiri to-go without ever leaving your vehicle. In France, it’s all about the food. There are about 3000 stores here, including this one called Casino, where you place an online order and a couple of hours later just drive into the designated area and it’s loaded into the trunk for you. We even have a chocolate maker here in Carcassonne who will do that for you. Read the rest of this entry

The medical exam

By now you have read In residence and got the cold hard facts of the visit to the OFII immigration office. There was a lot of fun going on during this visit that made the time fly by.

Each and every person that we encountered was doing their very best to make each person feel at ease with the process. Casual banter about where you were from and how they had been there, too. “Good to see you back again” to someone who must have had a problem with the first visit. This is not your typical government operation of any government that I’m familiar with. Read the rest of this entry

In residence


Residence permit paperwork

It’s official, we’re legal residents of France for a year, at least, as of yesterday afternoon! The process all began back in January of this year when we went to the French consulate in Miami to request a visa. Americans can stay here for up to 90 days in any 6-month period with only a passport but for any longer than that you need a visa that’s valid for a year. But wait, even with that document issued in the US you still have to request a titre de sejour (residence permit) once you arrive.Then the wait begins. Read the rest of this entry