Monthly Archives: July 2016

And they’re off!

The Tour de France leaving out of Carcassonne

The Tour de France leaving out of Carcassonne

Last month there was a trial run of the Tour de France through Carcassonne where local riders got to leave as a group from the official starting point and follow part of the route that the competitors would be taking one day soon. That day arrived yesterday and it felt as if the whole city turned out to greet the racers. Their official departure time was 1:35 PM but all of the activities got started well before then. Read the rest of this entry

Bank account

French bank and insurance office

French bank and insurance office

We finally broke down and opened a French bank account. We’d been resisting it since our arrival here for a couple of reasons. In the US we were spoiled with free banking of all sorts: accounts, checks, savings, ATM cards, transfers, toaster-ovens (!), even seed-money given to you as a new customer. Once we got to Europe we found an online German bank that offered much the same at that same low price: zero. Not so in France. Read the rest of this entry

What’s all that noise? (part 1)

Our friendly street's open-window policy

Our friendly street’s open-window policy

We live on a quiet street. Although we’re only a block away from a major thoroughfare, the solid stone houses that separate the two rues mean that we can leave our windows open and still carry on a conversation in the house. Unless an impatient driver blows the horn at the car in front of them, we typically hear only birds chirping or a friendly “bonjour” from a neighbor passing by. It does mean, however, that any other sounds that interrupt the tranquility, such as that irritating beep-beep-beep back up warning signal that construction vehicles use, are really obvious. Read the rest of this entry

Hi, robot

What we'll do for a cheesecake

What we’ll do for a cheesecake

We had a robot delivered last month. In the US you might think of it as a multi-function kitchen machine but here everyone just calls it a robot and we don’t even have to pronounce the “t”. As you can see from the photo, this is not just your standard food processor, but oh so much more. Just as those “but wait, there’s more” television commercials tell you, it slices, dices, chops, and juliennes. It’s a blender, a mixer, a grinder, and a juicer. Where is it all going to fit?

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Sold(es) out

Happy sale sign

Happy sale sign

At first glance, you might think that every retail store in town is going out of business. There’s hardly a shop window in Carcassonne now that doesn’t have what I thought was an oddly-cheerful “sold” sign in the window. Twice a week the advertisements that fill our mailbox currently carry that same message as do the emails we receive from the supermarket we go to when we can’t find something at the open air market. Panic? Not at all when you take a word we recognize like “sold” and add the two letters “es” to the end to get the French word meaning SALES! Read the rest of this entry

The postman’s wife

Irish pub #1

Irish pub #1

That blog post title sounds like the name of a romance novel, doesn’t it? You may have read an earlier post about how we got to know our mailman simply because for a month we were waiting daily for him to deliver our appointment letters from the French immigration office. We don’t get very much paper mail since most of our communication is electronic so it’s quite the event when there’s actually something in our box. That was the case two days ago when we found an announcement about a jazz singer that would be appearing in one of the two Irish pubs in town. Read the rest of this entry

Jean Graine de Cerise

Cherries in the wild

Cherries in the wild

This post’s title is what I used, just for fun, to search websites for the French equivalent of America’s Johnny Appleseed. It’s my rough translation, but essentially it’s meant to be John(y) Seed of Cherry since at this time of year they seem to be everywhere. The search led me to numerous newspaper articles about seed-spitting contests, a singer named Jean who wrote and performed “Love is a cherry” and a wood carver named Jean who makes tiny sculptures from the seeds. As interesting as all that was it still didn’t explain why so many vendors at the market have this luscious fruit available. Read the rest of this entry

A new life in Lille

Tales of a Brit who moved to northern France

Southern Fried French

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France


Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

Chez Loulou

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for between leg shavings

Post-Industrial Eating

Just another weblog

An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures