Blog Archives

Serendipitous Strasbourg

Half-timbered buildings in La Petite France

We went to Strasbourg with the primary goal of seeing the Christmas market and if you read last Sunday’s blog post you will know that we succeeded far beyond our expectations. Not only did this “Capital of Christmas” have one market to commemorate the original one from 1570, there were 10 other sites around town, all celebrating the season. I’d read that the European Parliament chose to meet in Strasbourg because after the end of WWII it was seen as a symbol of reconciliation so important to this new Union. In the process of shopping our way around through the various encampments of vendors in wooden huts in locations around the city we also got to see monuments and other popular sites of the European mecca. Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

On the border of Christmas markets

Welcome to the Christmas markets of Strasbourg

When we moved to France in 2016 it was the year of our 30th anniversary. Well before we knew that we’d be living overseas we came up with a variety of possibilities for celebrating that happy occasion. We’d had lots of fun on cruises so a transatlantic crossing, sailing from California to Hawaii, Greek Island hopping, and a big friends and family reunion cruise all made it to the list. Since we had rented European castles together with friends a few times, having a big Downton Abbey style party somewhere in the countryside with friends from both sides of the Atlantic sounded great. So did rail trips, especially if they took us to wine destinations like Bordeaux or Cognac where we had not yet been. What about combining cruising and the train with a trip on the Rhine river, returning on the tracks running beside it? If we waited until December we could fly over for the Christkindlmarkts (Christmas markets) in Germany and  les marchés de Noël in France. So many choices. Read the rest of this entry

Christmas magic in Carcassonne

Christmas magic from the city’s website

Our neighbor is from Paris and is used to, I’m sure, some really stellar events. After all, growing up in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower has to be pretty impressive yet she remains unjaded. Having moved to Carcassonne for love, her perspective on the world is very down to earth. As an example, for someone who can’t eat dairy products nor gluten she proclaims “but I can eat all of the fruits, vegetables, and meat that I want” and adds “and I’m fond of the local wine”. We can identify with that positive attitude! It didn’t surprise us then, when she told us that although we’d recently returned from Strasbourg, site of Europe’s first Christmas market in 1570, we would still find the festivities in Carcassonne mignon, or in our translated word “cute”.  She was right. Read the rest of this entry

Chez le dentiste

Brush your teeth after every pastry

On Thursday we went to the dentist for the first time since we moved here and as the French sometimes say “It wasn’t terrible”. In fact, the visit itself was much less traumatic than the buildup in our heads of simply making the appointment. Phoning a business remains a challenge especially when you must explain that you’re a new patient, that there are actually two of you who need to see the doctor, preferably with back-to-back appointments, and because of language classes you can’t show up on Wednesday mornings or Friday afternoons. Granted, all of that is now easy enough to say in French and even have the person on the other end of the phone understand you but the test comes in figuring out their reply. If you’ve chosen a small office you might be talking directly to the doctor, perhaps already busy with a patient, so that just adds to the anxiety. We were delighted, therefore, to find a dental practice large enough to have a receptionist we could talk to in-person, so we walked right in. Read the rest of this entry

Living in France—the book

Cover of the booklet

Although probably not a bestseller, there is a publication from the Ministry of the Interior of France that anyone who is thinking of moving here will probably want on their electronic bookshelf. The price is certainly right—free—and it contains lots of practical information about preparing for the move and then what to do once you’ve arrived in your new country. Just as important, Living in France also addresses the key values represented in the Republic’s motto: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. This is followed by, “These are not simply abstract concepts: these values have concrete effects on day-to-day life by means of the rights and obligations of citizens and residents.” These benefits apply to the French themselves, to those of us living here, and even to visitors. Read the rest of this entry

Mellow in St. Malo

St. Malo from the sea

We can easily get by train from our part of the south of France to the Normandy coast several times a day but the ferry from there to the Channel Islands only goes once a day outside of the summer season. Since we can choose when to travel, we leave July and August to the families who can only travel together when schools are on vacation. That meant arriving in the port city of St. Malo after the boat had departed for the day but it gave us an opportunity to overnight in a city we’d only seen for a few hours as a side excursion on one our our previous visits to Brittany. Read the rest of this entry

To get or not get a driver’s license

One of many driving schools in town

Miles of sandy beaches. Warm, sunny days much of the year. Citrus trees in your backyard. No snow. Sailing, swimming, diving and all sorts of water activities on your doorstep. Lots of theme parks and other pastimes for the whole family. These are just some of the many advantages of living in Florida. When you’re about to leave all of that behind to move overseas, however, some other positive points move to the forefront. For example, no state income taxes. A French consulate in Miami. A driver’s license exchange treaty between the state and France. With bright news like that, no wonder it’s called the Sunshine State. 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

Just another WordPress.com weblog

An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures