Category Archives: Life in France

Corsica, top to bottom

Dramatic cliffs and crystal blue water in Bonifacio

Before we moved to France, the only thing that I knew about Corsica was that it was an island in the Mediterranean Sea where Napoleon Bonaparte was born. Now that we live here it’s hard to turn on the TV or open a magazine without seeing a beautiful image of crystal clear blue water, mountain cliffs above the sea, or lots of smiling faces enjoying afternoon drinks on a terrace looking out on all of those same marvelous views. Pair that with the universal reactions we got from everyone here when we mentioned that we’d be going to the island and you could wonder why their tourist office even bothers advertising. The place sells itself. English words like “beautiful, magnificent, fantastic” and their French equivalents rolled easily off the tongues of those around us. It was definitely time for Bill and me to visit this magical spot from which one person said, “you won’t want to come back.” Read the rest of this entry

Three-year-olds reading

All aboard! Train trip

We’re both avid readers from morning until bedtime and much of it is in French. Carcassonne has 3 newspapers so we can start the day with the electronic versions of those. It’s not as if we read every word but enough to find out what has happened in our region overnight. Links from those take you to national and worldwide news so we don’t miss out on that either. We check the city’s website regularly where they disseminate all of the information that a resident would need on a daily basis plus a page about educational, cultural, and sporting events to attend over the next few weeks. Their Facebook page gives even more details and they also have a video presence there if you want to watch and listen to some of the local news instead of reading it. Area merchants use social media to keep us informed of promotions they are offering and the YouTube channels we follow for language learning all post lots of written content on FB and on their own websites. But what about books? All in English…until recently. Read the rest of this entry

Seeing a dermatologist

A selection of skin creams called lait corps

About 8 years ago, when we were still living in the US, I went to a dermatologist to have 3 spots on my face looked at. The doctor said that she could easily remove them with a dab of liquid nitrogen but that they would eventually return requiring a repeat of the procedure. True to her word, the spots quickly disappeared and also as she advised they did come back so it was time to see a specialist here in France. We’d already been to the dentist and to our general practitioner and we knew that we’d have to see him again to get a referral since you need that other than for a gynecologist, pediatrician, ophthalmologist, or dentist. Armed with the doctor’s letter we walked two blocks to the next group of medical offices to get an appointment. Read the rest of this entry

Holiday? Let’s have a fête!

The covered market parking lot filled with people, food, and drink

Rumor has it that the French have a whole lot more time off from work than Americans do. It is true that many full time employees here receive 5 weeks of vacation each year while we know folks back in the “old country” who struggle to ration out their 2 weeks, combining them with weekends or other holidays to stretch the break a little longer. With annual trips to Europe, often to France, Bill and I were lucky to have had employers with much more liberal leave policies. But what about nationwide holidays known as public or bank holidays or in the US, federal holidays? In America there are 10 with an 11th day added every 4 years for Inauguration Day. In France it’s 11 and if any of those fall on a weekend, too bad, it’s not moved to the closest Friday or Monday so employees don’t get the day off. Last Thursday we celebrated one of those jours fériés that wasn’t on a weekend with 2 festivals; one in the lower town where we live and the other in the upper Medieval walled city that overlooks us. Read the rest of this entry

Cherry festival

Life can be a bowl of cherries, thanks Sally!

It’s said that even without a calendar you can tell what month it is in France just by visiting the market. If all of the stalls are full of heads of cauliflower as big as basketballs, it’s probably March. In April the asparagus and artichokes compete for space. May brings flats of strawberries the size of golf balls and spilling from then into June, bright red cherries entice you to bite them. Just as some cheeses are known by the area they come from like Roquefort or Camembert, for example as are wines such as Champagne and Cognac, fruits and vegetables can be just as well known. Just say “Charentais” and everyone’s mouth begins to water when they think of sweet and juicy melons. The same goes for Mirabelle plums from Lorraine and Bill’s favorite, les cerises de Cerét, cherries and we went to the festival. Read the rest of this entry

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy 100th birthday champagne with our neighbor who is a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother!

No, it’s not wrong; just different. We use that phrase a lot when talking about contrasting situations between the country where we used to live and where we now reside. For example, Mother’s Day was two weeks ago in the US but in France it’s observed today, 112 years after the Alpine village of Artas issued an award of merit to two mothers with nine children each. In 1929 the government, in an effort to promote childbirth after WWI, formally recognized the day and in 1950 it was written into law to honor French mothers on the last Sunday of May in what is fittingly called the Fête des Mères or if translated literally, the “Celebration of Mothers”. Read the rest of this entry

Bonus day in Provence

Castle ruins at Les Baux de Provence

In keeping with last Sunday’s “accidental” theme, the bonus for us was discovering that our friends from northeastern France were on vacation in the vicinity of Avignon at the same time that we were there. They had a car and suggested that we spend the day with them exploring parts of Provence only half an hour or so south of the city. Their itinerary included the market town of St. Rémy de Provence and one of the gems included in the Most Beautiful Villages of France collection, Les Baux de Provence. This was all new territory for us but the day began at some place quite familiar when they picked us up at the train station. 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

wcs

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 meaning...in between leg shavings

Post-Industrial Eating

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An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures