Blog Archives

Where 20 = Wine

Wine aging in barrels in the cave

Ask any French person to name a famous American highway and you’re bound to hear “Route 66”. Hollywood has done a wonderful job of creating a mystique around this classic USA road trip that stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles. Bill spent part of his youth growing up along it and he always gets smiles, nods of approval, and an enthusiastic “Oui!” whenever that comes up in conversation. There are numerous websites, guidebooks, photo essays, and blog posts, all in French, dedicated to navigating this 2400 mile (3900 kilometer) pathway. If you reverse that original question and ask us to name a famous French highway, you will certainly hear “Route 20 Corbières”, the wine road. 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

Day trip to Narbonne

Canal de la Robine to the Mediterranean

Before we settled on Carcassonne as our new hometown, we made of list of other French cities that seemed to match our tally of criteria. We were looking for a market town that also had grocery stores we could visit when the market wasn’t open and a population of around 50,000 people. A train station was a must-have as was a river, canal or seaside to walk along. That initial list had 16 entries, a few of which had a check mark beside every requirement. One of those is just a 30-minute train ride east towards the Mediterranean Sea: Narbonne. Read the rest of this entry

Paris? Not exactly.

Is that the Eiffel Tower?

If you’ve only seen pictures of the capital of France, you might easily mistake some of the photos that go with this blog post as having been taken there since they appear to show familiar sites. Even if you’ve visited the City of Light, you still might wonder why the Eiffel Tower was now standing next to Sacre Coeur or since when was the Seine lined by all of those tall apartment buildings with terracotta roofs you typically find in the south of France. That’s because instead of being in Paris, we were recently in Lyon. Read the rest of this entry

Secret road trip

Sally helps owner Patrick tally up our wine purchases

We don’t have a car and I can honestly say that after having had a driver’s license for nearly 50 years, and an automobile to go with it for most of that time, I don’t miss it at all. That probably goes double for Bill who’s typically been the one behind the wheel. The costs alone including substantial monthly lease or purchase payments, license fees, insurance, fuel, and upkeep are enough to make us grateful that we no longer have to budget for any of that. Add in the hassles of navigating narrow Medieval streets laid out 800 years ago, trying to avoid solid stone buildings inches from you on one side of the street and rearview mirrors sticking out from parked cars on the other plus attempting to squeeze into a pocket-sized parking spot, should you be lucky enough to find that, and the advantage of being on foot becomes even more apparent. Having said all of that, the instant that a friend with wheels invites us on a day trip outside of the city, we’re on it! Read the rest of this entry

Bistro Dallas?

Bistro d'Alice

Bistro d’Alice

Once a week we’ve been getting together with friends Sally and Larry to try out a restaurant we haven’t been to before. From what I just saw on the Carcassonne tourist office website, we could visit a new eatery, including Michelin-starred ones, every single day for almost a year before we would return to the first one. It was our turn to make the choice for the week and what I heard Bill say was that he wanted to go to Le Bistro Dallas. Now, I knew that a lot of French people are fascinated by the history of the old American West, so I wasn’t shocked to hear a restaurant called that, but I was very curious to see what was going to be on the menu. Read the rest of this entry

Pizza here

No advertisements, merci!

No advertisements, merci!

A couple of times a week our mailbox is literally overflowing with advertisements from local businesses. Many (maybe most) of our neighbors post discreet little signs on their mailboxes saying Pas de Pubs meaning they don’t want all of these publicités but we figure these ads let us know what shops are near us and give us one more lesson in French. To be honest, we already look online at the weekly flyers from national chains anyway, but seeing what we think of as the mom-and-pops have to offer, who sometimes don’t have a website, is a real treat. Read the rest of this entry

Renestance

French Retirement Dream

A year in Périgord

Tales of a Brit who stopped in Lille on his way to Périgord – and stayed

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