Blog Archives

And the winner is….

The fortress at Carcassonne

After seeing a July post about a trip we had taken to nearby Narbonne, blog reader Rebecca commented that she’d driven by that city many times, and it sounded as if it were worth a stop. We certainly agree, especially given that Narbonne appeared on our original list of cities that we might want to move to. Long before we ever considered moving overseas, we tried to create in Atlanta one aspect of European life that greatly appealed to us: a village. No matter what country we visited from France, to Germany, Italy, England, Scotland, or Wales, we always started in the big cities but managed to find outlying areas that charmed us. Of course each culture was different but there was always something that brought the residents together and in the UK the heart of every small town we went to was the village pub. It was no surprise then that “village” appeared as one must-have item on any new place that we would call home. Read the rest of this entry

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La Féria

Dancers from Seville

As the crow flies, we’re only about 50 miles (80 kms) from the Spanish border but it hasn’t always been that way. Prior to 1659 the fortress here in Carcassonne along with 5 other area castles known as “The Sons” stood watch over the frontier just a few miles away. After the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed the division between France and Spain moved south to the highest ridge of the mountain range of the accord’s name where it still remains. Given the centuries of rule that our neighbors to the south maintained in this general region it’s no surprise that their influence still exists today. A celebration of that culture is observed every year in Carcassonne with the arrival of La Féria! Read the rest of this entry

Sign here

Post office mailboxes

Seldom do I sign petitions. I’ve never been much of a political activist and you never know what’s going to happen to that list you’ve just signed. In this digital age when nothing ever totally disappears once it’s been put online, something you’ve long forgotten about could come back to surprise you years later. Regularly I do an Internet search of my name just to see if there’s anything new and a link to a petition I joined almost 20 years ago is still right there. A few weeks ago our neighbor Marc came knocking at our door, paper in hand and talking a mile-a-minute, asking us if we’d seen it, did we use it, and did we want to get it back. All we had to do was figure out what “it” was. Read the rest of this entry

The dilemma

Somebody’s waiting for her dinner

You wouldn’t think that making a decision about having fish and chips would be so difficult. After all, when we’re in Great Britain, it’s one of our favorite meals. Nothing goes better with a pint of real ale, sitting in a cozy pub by the fire than a traditional beer-battered North Sea cod accompanied by crispy, hand-cut fries. And there’s the problem; that all takes place in the UK. This may sound stereotypical but when we’re in Germany we have sausages and beer; in Italy it’s pasta and pizza; in Ireland we enjoy potato stew and soda bread; in Spain there are cured meats and paella. Every country has its specialties and they know how to do them right. So here we are in a country where we cannot go without our daily ration of just-baked baguettes, a choice from hundreds of types of cheeses, and wines that are produced from the grapes that are grown a stone’s throw from our front door. So why the dilemma? Read the rest of this entry

Blanket of what ?

Bubbly bottles of blanquette

Sometimes I mishear things. It’s not that I’m going deaf; it’s more about concentrating on every single word that someone is saying in French which opens up multiple opportunities for misunderstandings. Last Saturday at the market we saw a friend who asked us what we were doing that evening because she was fixing a blanquette de veau (veal in cream sauce) and would love us to join her and several neighbors for dinner. We were definitely not going to turn down a wonderful chance like that especially when it meant we’d get to spend some time with people we hadn’t see in a while. On the walk home, Bill and I discussed what wines we should take and we settled on some bottles of Blanquette de Limoux. After all, if dinner was going to be a blanquette why not accompany it with a few glasses of blanquette? Read the rest of this entry

Football, fresh fruits, flowers and fêtes

The fountain filled with fruit and vegetables

We’d have to try pretty hard to be bored around here, especially on weekends. On Saturdays, even if we don’t really need any fresh fruits and vegetables we still walk to the market just because it’s such an entertaining event. It’s colorful, lively, convivial and we always run into people that we know who want to stop for a chat over a coffee or a glass of wine at one of the many sidewalk cafés that surround the square where the market is held. The marble fountain there, completed in 1771, is typically filled with cascading falls but during last week’s Fresh Attitude festival the water was replaced by many of the fruits and vegetables normally on sale at the booths that jam the square. But that isn’t the only colorful spot in town. Read the rest of this entry

A sporting weekend

Arriving riders with the castle behind

It seems as if there is some kind of festival here almost every weekend. They typically revolve around food and/or drink so to use up some of those calories, sports are often featured. This past Saturday the entire country celebrated La Fête du Velo and locally, hundreds of bicycle riders showed up at Carcassonne’s Place du General de Gaulle to participate. We got there early to see all of the colorful jerseys arrive and to check out the vendors who were promoting bikes with an electric motor plus a refund for buying one. Read the rest of this entry

Renestance

French Lifestyle Dream

A new life in Lille

Tales of a Brit who moved to Hauts-de-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