Blog Archives

King Louis XIV, your order is ready

Sidewalks paved with marble

The walls of our bathroom are lined with marble slabs that we believe were part of the original house construction about 100 years ago. Of course the marble has been around a lot longer than that since it came from a quarry 20 kilometers (12 miles) from here where 2000 years ago the Romans were mining this beautiful rock formed perhaps 500 million years before then. What we recently discovered is that this same quarry supplied 80 percent of the red marble used to decorate the Palace of Versailles beginning in the middle 1600s and they’re not finished yet. Read the rest of this entry

Stop pub

Mailbox sticker

Many of the mailboxes in our neighborhood display a sticker similar to the one you see here. No, it doesn’t mean that we’re about to be invaded by British drinking establishments but is a request by the homeowner to not have advertisements (publicités) stuffed into her/his mailbox. Unlike the US, in France anyone can leave fliers, pamphlets, and other promotional materials in the same spot where your mail carrier deposits letters bearing government postage stamps. In addition to our electric, water, and gas bills we’ve seen ads for the local pizza parlor, various religious organizations, real estate offerings, and even a psychic. Most of these we ignore and in that same spirit we thought that you might enjoy reading this blog without those pesky pop ups appearing beside and below the posts that we have written. So, we did something about that this week from which you should now be benefiting. Read the rest of this entry

It’s spring

Cherry blossoms in an abandoned orchard

Canadian friends are in town this week on a house hunting trip and we were delighted that nature has provided quite the floral welcome for them. That’s been helped by lots of sunshine and some pleasant temperatures that at the beginning of March were averaging around 17℃ (62℉) which is exactly the same as it was in that northern neighbor of the US except there was a minus sign in front of the 17 bringing it down to a chilly 1 degree F. Hopefully that’s just a memory now and they can enjoy some of these scenes from around Carcassonne. There’s an abandoned fruit orchard down by the river which still presents a sea of white and pink as first the cherries and then apples prepare for the season. Even if you’re reading this in the southern hemisphere and anticipating cooler days you can still enjoy the colors here just emerging. Happy spring! Read the rest of this entry

Four-tunate

Inside the medieval city walls of Carcassonne

This month starts our fourth year of living in France and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to answer a question that we are often asked, “Why are you so happy all of the time?” A good starting point that might say it all is that we live in the south of France and we’ve just received our residency card renewal to remain here for another year. That alone makes us smile. The procedure was identical to last year (Year 3 begins) which reinforces our other experiences with government and business offices here: follow their rules, give them exactly the documents they want in the order requested and in return you will be treated in a respectful and friendly manner and receive precisely what you’ve been seeking. Who wouldn’t be happy with that? But wait, there’s so much more…. Read the rest of this entry

Who knew we needed that?

Hedgehog snacker

When you move to another country and pretty much everything you bring with you fits in 4 suitcases and 2 backpacks, you’re going to have to buy a lot once you arrive and get settled in. We sold our house in the US fully furnished, down to the silverware and plates, so we needed a place here that had everything included. We achieved that during our first year by renting a house normally used by weekly vacationers so everything we left behind was suddenly available to us once again. Because it was a compact (read “small”) place, anything new we bought had to have more than one function since storage was limited. I wrote about it in Double or Nothing and we’ve been able to stick with that ideal for the most part. Then we bought our own house and the rules got relaxed a bit. Read the rest of this entry

Beaune day trip

The hospice well

With a title like “Wine Capital of Burgundy” how could we not visit the city of Beaune (sounds like “bone” in English) especially since it’s only 18 minutes by train from where we were staying in Dijon? In the US we were big fans of public television, PBS, and especially travel videos from Rick Steves which is where we got our first glimpse of what this part of the Côte d’Or region had to offer. Thanks to YouTube, portions of those recordings are still available so with our memories refreshed it was time to see for ourselves why a famous New York City newspaper wrote an article entitled, “Seduced by Beaune in Burgundy”. Read the rest of this entry

Dijon in 2 days

Maille mustard founded in 1747

If you thought of mustard when you read today’s blog post title, you have good reason. It was the ancient Romans who originally brought the seeds to France, leading to kings enjoying it on their dinner tables as early as the 13th century. In 1777 businessmen Maurice Gris (Grey) and August Poupon, in their original factory that still exists today in Dijon are credited with creating and popularizing the condiment. Another well-known brand, Maille, also has its shop in town proudly proclaiming “Founded in 1747”. You might know this area for that hearty stew, bœuf bourguignon, and that bold red Burgundy wine that goes so well with this dish. On our way to northern France we stopped off for a couple of days to see what else the region had to offer. 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

Just another WordPress.com weblog

An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures