WHY DO WE LIVE IN FRANCE

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Not too long ago I was standing in the middle of an indoor tennis-court close to midnight sipping a glass of champagne with a handful of other people; what’s more it seemed like a totally normal thing to be doing! Quite naturally we were the only English there, and unsurprisingly the conversation turned to food; this in turn led to ‘what the English eat’, which in turn led to ‘why we were living in our tiny village’? My companions wanted to know what had led us there, to a place that is really in the middle of nowhere with a population of just 600 or so people.

 

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It made me think. Why had we chosen this area when we have lived in so many exciting places? Clearly this made little sense to my tennis friends and I replied with a well-practised gallic shrug (I’m learning this is a very useful form of expression) “Because we like it.” But it’s a question that has been getting under my skin since it was asked just before Christmas (hence the champagne) and I have at various times thought about my answer.

 

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Why did we choose to live here in our village; what does it offer? It’s a small place with a primary school, a baker, a bar, a post-office and an outdoor tennis-court. There are no other English and certainly no other shops, there’s not a lot going on, but we love it. Twenty years ago we might have come to live here because it was a relatively easy place to start afresh, a foreign country that the British have been connected with since sea-levels were so low one could walk across what we now call the English Channel. But today, in the 21st century, people move all over the world. Never has there been a time when so many different nationalities live in so many countries. I have lived in three different continents and five different countries with our growing brood of children; we have experienced so many fascinating cultures and so many different lifestyles, so why have we settled here and why does it work so well for us?

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Because our children have lived around the globe, they have had many adventures; they have known different education systems, and although they don’t necessarily think the French schools are the best, they do think the lunches and the long recess periods win hands down! In fact the lessons are very old-fashioned, even boring in the eyes of our two eldest daughters. But, none the less, they still love France.

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So I thought I would ask them and Roddy, “Why do you like living in France?” Below are their replies,  just as they said them. To make sure they were not influenced by each other, I asked them each individually in private so that they did not hear anyone else’s answer.

Going from youngest to oldest I started with Gigi; her answer was, “Because the French people are really nice, the school meals are big and really nice, I love the countryside and the seasons and we get to speak another language and the neighbours and our garden.”

Hetty replied: “Because it is not crowded, there are really good walks from the house through farmers fields, I get to help people speak English at school, we have chickens, I love outdoor brocantes and especially all the fresh food.”

Jack retorted with: ” The countryside, the culture, food, the people; the language is annoying but it is also nice!”

Millie’s take on it all was: “The countryside is pretty, lots of great architecture and history, seasons, France has lots of good food, the accessibility to the rest of Europe and easy transport to the rest of France.”

Izzi is obviously not here full-time as she is at university in the UK, but she was educated previously in France and she loves coming back for every holiday and the odd long weekend too. Her answer was via Skype: “Our neighbors, I love all the home cooking and the food and how that ties in so much with social life and culture. Open air markets. The seasons.”

Finally I put the same question to Roddy, and after a pause he said: “The space, climate, culture, people, food, wine, and a population that knows how to live life to the full. I firmly believe that for the French, or at least certainly those we know around here, there are very few half-empty glasses, they’re nearly always half-full.”

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All of these answers resonate with everything I believe in; that this is a wonderful opportunity for our children to live a slightly simpler, quieter life, perhaps similar to the ones we enjoyed as children ourselves. They are able to go out on their bikes and visit friends unaccompanied. We want them to have a real childhood, a sort of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ existence if possible. They are safe walking to school by themselves if they feel the need and there are very few places this can happen nowadays.

But of course, some of the other reasons we moved here were that we also wanted to live a more down-to-earth lifestyle. We wanted to be able to grow our own fruit and vegetables, keep chickens, and to live with the seasons; we wanted to get back to basics and away from the more materialistic world. And a big part of all of this is the fact that family life is still very important here. The midday or evening meal is still taken around the table, and French mealtimes are never a hurried affair; families and friends still talk through their meals, sharing news, advice and thoughts, typically over three courses of food. For people used to the rush of modern living in a hectic city lifestyle this slow-paced pastoral meandering is often the most difficult part to understand; we can run around like headless chickens with much to do between 9 and 12 and 2 and 5, but we must stop for lunch!

Overall though, I can’t put my finger on one specific thing that makes me so happy to be here; it’s nearly impossible to sum it up in one simple word, because fabulous food, wonderful countryside and great people exist all over the world. Perhaps here it is how everything combines that makes it so special. My life here is not materialistic but it is richly luxurious to the soul.

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We wanted the dream, and we got it and before you ask if I know how lucky we are, I do! I also believe we will always be a guest in someone else’s country, but I think France is a country we’re very lucky to be guests in. And of course, that might explain my love of sharing it with you. If you have a moment, tell me what it is that you like most about France?

81 thoughts on “WHY DO WE LIVE IN FRANCE

    • Thanks Nadia, we all have so many choices and I think the very fact that we “choose” to live here, rather than having to live here speaks volumes, nowhere is perfect, but this is a fabulous place to live! Susan x

  • As an American that loves France,I always respond “because it feels like home”. I can’t explain it any better than you did. Its everywhere, the frenchness of it all. The food, the language, the flower shops and markets. The free museums on the first Sundays. The strolls you take in the city or country. That French atmosphere is always present. They way they value les loisirs, and that mealtime is family time. How you walk down any given strert and you feel such a connection to the history. All of it. I love it all.

  • I loved this post but I have to ask. How does one live in such a remote area and still earn a living. Unless you can work from home sufficient to support a family, it seems almost pie in the sky. I envy you but I can shake this thought.

  • The lack of traffic,the climate (the Charente Maritime is the best!), the health care and the general more relaxed feel of the pace of life – although we live in the country and I am sure Paris is much the same as London.x

    • Hi Penny, the lack of traffic for sure but the climate, just at the moment, that is debatable!!! But much as we are all moaning about the horrid wet January and February, we must remember the wonderful Indian summer up until the New Year, so perhaps I will agree with you!!! susan x

  • My comment didn’t post so I’m trying again. I apologize if somehow it appears and this is a duplicate comment.
    I love this post but I’m curious about how one can move to a remote place and still earn a living sufficient to support a family. Working at home has limitations and again supporting a family is no easy task. How do people do that when they are so removed from cities or centers of civilization? I envy you but I am curious how this can be done.

    • Hi Jacqueline, you never have to apologize! the internet does funny things. Earning a living in rural France is a problem for many people, both locals and foreigners and it is a subject we gave a great deal of thought to before we came here. We have an internet based business which is worldwide and so we are fortunate in that we were able to move here, our only requirement was good broadband. Although we live in a small village it is not remote, we are only ten minutes from a good sized town and only half an hour from La Rochelle and of course in the summer the area along the coast, which is a mere fifteen minutes away comes alive. We chose this as we did not want to be in the middle of nowhere, I believe this gives us the best of both worlds, relatively rural but with so much close at hand. There is never anything easy about raising a large family, but we muddle along! Susan x

  • Although I don’t live in the country, but in the middle of an old village, in the Southern part of France, – I completely agree with you!
    I have lived here for about 17 years. And I still learn new positive sides of the French way of living every day!
    Also the climate where I live is one of the benifits,especially if you suffer from “pain in your bones”.

    • Hi Inge, yes your dry climate would certainly help the bones more than our more temperate climate! It’s funny how you mention learning new things all the time, I do too, it is a very positive lifestyle, for both myself, my husband and our children, I would recommend it to everyone! Susan x

    • May I ask what your dry region is? I have a couple of cranky bones and am looking for a comfortable home for them.

      • I live in a small Provincial town called Pierrefeu du Var. I live in an old stone house situated almost on top of a mountain. There you find an old Chapel and an amazing view!
        The town has all the facillities I need. 15 minutes from the Cote D’Azur, and 15 minutes from the motorway Aix-en -Provence to Nice.
        Inge

    • Hi Alyson, I hope you are having a wonderful experience teaching in the south. I cam imagine you have met some great people and enjoyed the culture of France. It is so good for all of us to be able to live in so many different places, I think it makes us appreciate things far more. Susan x

  • Moving words, and beautiful pictures!

    I’m French. I was always so nicely welcomed when I lived or travelled abroad, in Canada, the US, UK, etc. that I absolutely love to hear or read that our country can do the same, and make visitors feel at home, embracing our “art de vivre”, and even settling for good.

    • Hi Béné, thank you for taking the time to comment, I love hearing everybody’s views and opinions, especially those of a local French person. We too have always been welcomed with open arms in other countries, we have made so many friends around the world and I can honestly say the French have welcomed us and made us feel very at home, we feel very fortunate to live here and to enjoy everything you lovely country has to offer. Susan x

  • The reasons you give are the reasons why our Maison secondaire will become our Maison principale mid June this year. We have been practising for the past 12 years!
    There is a quality of life and a respect for people in rural France that is very hard to find elsewhere. To that you can add the countryside, old buildings, history, customs and so the list goes on and on!
    We have lived on two continents and in five countries, soon to be six.

    • Hi Gill, how exciting! where is your house? I am sure it will be a fabulous experience living here, of course there are always annoying things, but that happens in every country. It’s always such fun starting a new chapter and I wish you all the very best. Susan x

  • The markets the bread the fromage, fruit veg Normandie carrots are some of the best tasting in the world, the respect for food and cooking. Long Sunday lunches finishing with a home of petonc in the town square. Sweet memories of long time ago.

    • Oh Heather, it sounds as if you have so many happy memories, it’s funny how food is so central to our love of France, I actually like very simple food and I love vegetarian food, although I am not a vegetarian I could easily be one, which is not that common here, and so I think it is not so much the actual meals as the preparation and all that a family meal means, it’s the whole package. Hopefully you will both come and visit soon, fabulous painting here! Susan x

  • Thank you for another of your beautiful posts! I agree with all that has been said before me but I think, too, for me, France has a beauty that speaks to my soul. Beauty is very subjective and I think that different languages, fashion, food, architecture, landscaping appeal to different people and I was just born with a love of all things French. To put it another way, I have a son who feels the same about Japan. He studied the language as soon as he could in school, loves the art, anime, culture, architecture….and has lived their both during college and now as a young adult. These feelings are almost in our DNA, I think. And, how interesting as I was born in Los Angeles in the late 50’s and my son in Washington. DC in the 80’s. There is no explaining it.
    May I also ask if you are planning to share more of your family’s story here? I believe that I have been a (very happy!) reader since the beginning of your blog, however, I don’t recall a post sharing where your family has lived before. I know that I would love to hear about that and about how you chose to live there and what you loved about the different places that you have lived.

    • Hi Anne, I think you are right, some countries just draw us in, we have lived in France before we came here this time, we went away for my husband’s business, but we came back, as if there was some magnet pulling us here, we couldn’t stay away! A blog about where we have lived, do you really think that would interest everyone? I never think my life is that exciting, we have just travelled a lot, but maybe, now you have sown the seed, no doubt it will keep growing, watch this space! Susan x

  • Hello Susan,
    I’m French ! I suscribed to your blog from the beginning and I like it even if honestly I don’t have the time to read all each time. Today, I read your post and all the comments and it’s so good to read all those nice things you say about France and how you love our country. Thank you to all of you !

    • Hi Nathalie, thank you for taking the time to read and comment today. I know some of the posts are long, but I felt this was a post that needed to be written, because I do truly feel very privileged to live here, we have made many friends and the French have always made us feel most welcome and been most charming, even if they cannot fully comprehend why we would want to live here!!! Susan x

  • I believe you have explained why France is one of the most visited countries in the world. The culture…the mostly formal manners….the elegance in the most simple things. I feel so very fortunate to have been able to visit as often as I have.

    I guess the food…wine…Brocants….hill villages…drop dead architecture…castles…amazing history…..stone walls…..The importance of terroir…

    Ali x

    • Hi Ali, as you say it is so many things all combined which make it such a great country, of course Paris is the most visited city in the world and the love affair with France is renowned. I love the formal manners, I remember once when we first came here, offering a French friend who had popped in to say hello a cup of coffee at close to midday, she was shocked and replied quite sternly that no she wouldn’t have a coffee, it was about to eat lunch, no one drank coffee just before lunch. I have never forgotten that! Susan x

  • What a wonderful post, I enjoyed reading this very much and agree with everything that has been said. We have had a house in Brittany for thirteen years and can’t wait for the time when we can be there full time. As Anne H H said above, i have always had a deep feeling for France, It is a very special place. I don’t think there is anymore I can add that hasn’t already been mentioned, except I look forward to reading your posts and wish you all continued happiness in your peaceful village X

    • Hi Loraine, thank you so much and I hope you are able to make Brittany your permanent home sooner rather than later. At least when you do, you will already feel like you belong which is half of the battle! Enjoy your next visit and thank you so much for commenting, Susan x

  • I think what I appreciate about life in France–particularly rural life–is that, as the saying goes, one works to live and not lives to work. Perspectives on life seem based more on the value of the family/relationships than the value of (in my country) the almighty dollar and so daily life is less likely to be corrupted by so-called corporate values.

    • Oh Mary, that is a phrase I use so often and how funny, I completely forgot to use it in this post! The brain does funny things sometimes!!! But yes that sums it up people work here to live, to enjoy life, whereas in many other countries they live to work, working long hours and with little holiday time. I think helps immensely that there is far less credit available here and a fifteen year old car, is just that, a car that goes from A to B, no one is judged on that and so there is so much less pressure to work for the materialistic things. Susan x

  • I guess it’s just a place where you feel at home…
    I’m from Barcelona but since the first time I went to London I felt in love with the city so much,… I was feeling at home… I went to live there for 2 years and everytime I come back there the feeling is indescriptible, I just feel it is my place to be (I also feel that for Barcelona where is where I live now) but never happened this to me in any other city I’ve been.

    I guess that’s kind of what you feel in France 😉

    • Hi Imma, I now know why French people are so happy I feel so in love with France; because as I am British it makes me feel so happy that you love London. It is a beautiful city, I lived and worked there for 7 years before I got married and had children and I love taking them back there to visit and showing them all the sights. But just as you love London I also love France, this is the right place for us to raise our family. We are all so lucky to live in this world where we can travel so freely. Susan x

  • Your children are so lucky, to have lived in multiple cultures. And I love their responses. Roddy’s, too.
    Every word resonated, especially the comments about the people and the seasons. Oh, and food, as well. Of course.

    • Hi Emm, isn’t it funny how they all mentioned seasons and food! It just goes to show how important they both are, mealtimes are long, but no one ever complains about sitting at the table, they all just chatter along and join in, our youngest is 9 and she talks and tells us about her day and listens whilst others tell us about theirs, she doesn’t need crayons or toys to keep her happy, if we are with friends at their house or in a restaurant they chatter with adults, it’s fabulous to watch, it’s always lively and noisy but it is very convivial. I also saw your note to Inge, I am not sure where she lives, except it is in the south which is notably dryer. I do have relatives who live in the Aude and they tell me it is the driest part of France with the least annual rainfall. Susan x

      • Thanks, Susan. I’m going to have to do some checking-out of different climates. I really need to be near the sea, one way or another. Inland so does not work for me.

      • Hi Emm, we are in total agreement there, I need to be near the coast too, I love being able to get in the car and just take the dogs for a walk along the beach at this time of year. Let me know if I can help at all. Susan x

  • Hi Susan,
    Ann HH and your family summed up our reasons for purchasing a house in the north east of France, near Langres. Our principal house is in Melbourne, the most liveable city in the world, but our heart are in France! Due to strong family ties and the tyranny of distance, “My French Folly” will never be our main home, but its where we reside emotionally and for as much time as possible. Amicalement Elizabeth.

    • Hi Elizabeth, it sounds as if you have the best of both worlds, apart from the long flights! Do you come here most summers leaving your winter behind? Isn’t it funny how so many of us just feel so at home here! Thanks for taking the time to comment Susan x

  • Susan, what an amazing community you have created in this blogspace. All so passionate about what France has to offer and how they feel when they are there … Just before returning to Australia and feeling very sad at leaving France, a French girlfriend tried to make me feel less despondent by commenting positively that, after having lived in France for so long, “I would now have two places to call home”. Her words helped a little, as did writing about our time there. There were days when, from my desk in Sydney, I would turn my head to look out of the window and be genuinely surprised that what I was looking at was not lake, mountains or village castle. I have been asked (sometimes quizzically) why I have this connection to France. I can always give the answers that people expect, but it is more than that and I’m not really sure that I want to analyse it further – I think I’ll just try and hang on to the feeling. Thanks!

    • Hi Catherine, I think you have hit the nail on the head; it’s easy to give the answers that everyone expects, it is that feeling that is so hard to explain and I am not usually as a loss for words, it’s “because it just feels right!” When are you coming back for a visit, will it be this summer? Susan X

      • Actually, we’re trying to sneak in a quick visit at the end of May for a few weeks before our summer guests arrive. Still have not bought the tickets and watching the flights increase daily in price! Must make a decision very soon …

      • Book them quickly before they become totally unaffordable! Don’t envy you the long flight though! Let me know if you do and if you can squeeze in a trip to the South West, although June is turning into crazy month for us, I have no idea why, but everything seems to be happening in June!!!

  • Watch out, by exposing your secret to the happiness you have found in this picturesque village you may find that the village grows by a few hundred other people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of their busy lives! Beautiful pictures!! I am very jealous of your slower life away from the 24hour news cycle with rushed meals and busy errands. Enjoy and keep writing about it so we can live vicariously through you.

    • Hi Laura, thank you! It’s funny this “slower life” is busier for me than it has ever been, and yet it is still more relaxed and slower, that makes no sense at all, I know, but in essence, no matter how busy we are we always take time to sit down and eat and prepare meals together, it’s a French way of life I fully embrace. Susan x

  • One thing I see from your pictures at the top of your post, and that I noticed when traveling around France, is the high walls. It’s as if even a glance at the house by a passerby would be an invasion. So I’m curious how you got to know people in your village or elsewhere when the very buildings seem intent on keeping people out.

    • Hi Mike, very true! Often you can drive through a village and it looks like a ghost town, all the shutters are closed and not a soul can be seen, but often whilst the shutters are shut on the road side of the house they are open elsewhere and they are not just kept closed to keep out nosey strangers, shutters are used to keep out the weather, the rain and the heat of the summer. But back to your question, we meet people through school, through work, through other friends. There’s always a break in a wall with a gate somewhere and whilst out walking the dogs, a cheerful “bonjour” to whoever is working behind that fence will always be met with a smile and a return greeting.

  • The first thing I loved about France was the French language. As I learned more and more of that language and became acquainted with more French people, I came to savor French culture and the French art de vivre. Now, what I love about France has become more complicated as I have learned about the challenges of contemporary France. France, like the U.S. and so much of the rest of the world, appears to be at a major and potentially dangerous turning point, and I so hope that France’s future path does justice to the French values of liberté, equalité and fraternité.

    • Hi Leslie, Like you, I believe we are at a very difficult time in history. I love the pride the French take in their country and I like that they stand up for what they believe in. But French culture is changing, times are changing, it’s important that we move forward with the times but at the same time keep tradition alive, it’s a balance that can be difficult to attain but I hope the French will find a way to achieve this. Susan x

  • As a first-time, French reader, I now know why I love so much reading posts (and more generally blogs) from foreigners who were brave enough to settle down in France: because their -hence your- vision of my country is simply refreshing. While we battle with our inner political contradictions, economical struggles and opposite views about anything and everything, we – French ones – often forget how beautiful and unique our country is. We forget why foreigners embrace every tiny bit of it. And love it, despite our grumpiness, rudeness, heavy sense of administration and arrogance.
    Thank you, Susan, for showing me the simplest, yet beautiful pieces of my native country. As I said – refreshing and soothing.

    • Hi Céline, welcome to the blog! I think it is much the same in the UK too, whereas we moan, foreigners love it! Perhaps, because we are not French, we don’t worry so much about the details, we look for the simple beauty instead. We have embraced your culture and your language but as we are outsiders I think we much more able to ignore the things we don’t like. Your country is wonderful and we have met with nothing but kindness and friendship from French people, albeit somewhat curious as to why we want to live here!!! I hope you continue to enjoy reading my ex-pats view on life in France! Susan x

  • Hi Susan
    I really enjoyed this post. When I started secondary school in 1962 (!!) I was so excited to know I would be learning French. I loved it. I got a high grade in O level, but then it all stopped. In those days, travelling was not so easy for the young and I was a shy girl. How I envy the young now and their ability to travel wherever they choose!
    As with one of your other readers, strong family ties kept me in England (apart from a 4 year spell in South Africa when I first married at 21) and my children were born and raised here and now my grandchildren. But I still have a love of the French language and a real desire to find out as much as I can about France. So, having retired last year, I have begun French lessons with a lovely French tutor near to where we live. When my husband retires next year, we plan to come to France and drive around, taking in the small villages and towns, not the ‘main drag’. Discovering rural France and all the variety that it offers. If life was different and we had no family, I would love to move there, but that won’t happen now (& I love having my family!). I am so excited about our plans! Your blog & Sharon Santoni’s have inspired and encouraged me to make this plan. We have made a small start this year by booking a few days to visit Giverny and Monet’s Garden – a place I have always longed to see. But without your blog, I would probably not have considered or even been aware of the Charente Maritime area, but that will definitely be on our list now!
    Despite a strong desire to visit France, we did follow our dream and once the children had flown and settled, we moved an hour away to live in a village in Wiltshire, England. It has about 900 people and like your village is near to bigger places, like the beautiful city of Bath, but it is so wonderful to be able to come home to our little cottage in our village where we can’t walk down the street to the village shop without stopping to say hello to someone.
    It struck me too that all your children and Roddy mentioned the seasons. That’s something I missed so much when I was working full time in a huge building and where we didn’t see daylight from our office! The whole year passed me by without ‘feeling’ the changes. Oh the joy when I was made redundant!! I vowed never to be in that position again. Having lived in South Africa where there are not the differences in the 4 seasons that we have, I know how important they are to our sense of passing time, of moving forward in life, of the need to have times of rest and times of activity and the sheer joy of seeing a small bud opening each spring!
    You are giving your family THE very best of upbringings. However far they move away as they grow, they will never forget this more simple life and will inevitably be drawn back to it. Keep sharing your thoughts and your experiences, we are all interested and your stays in other countries would definitely be worth writing about, perhaps from the perspective of daily family life? Maybe one country per post? Go for it!
    Sorry it’s a long post. Why do I do that? It’s a woman thing – we have a need to share!!
    Have a lovely week.

    • Hi Marian, don’t apologise for it being long, I love hearing your stories. I am so pleased you will be visiting the Vharente Maritime as part of your trip through France. It has some of r best beaches in the country, the wonderful Atlantic Islands from uber chic Ile de Ré to the smaller islands and the Ile d’Oleron and so much more in between. lIke you, we have lived without seasons and we all missed them so much, I think we need to go through winter to fully enjoy spring, which is now emerging. Susan x

  • Hi Susan, Your blogs are always so inspiring. I, too, am passionate about the French culture. Living in New Orleans, Louisiana, we have several of the “old time” values. Our family, and those of most of our friends, still have dinner together and especially a Sunday lunch, where no-one is in a hurry to leave the table. I have visited a couple different regions of France and ready to retire from my legal secretary job. I would love to live in a small village and take part in teaching English, whether it be in a formal school or in a family home. Would you happen to have any suggestions or a direction I can look to? I am certainly not proficient in the French language, but I can get by. Looking forward to reading your words – Del Lancaster

    • Hi Del, it’s always good to hear of an area where the family meal is still important. With regards to teaching English, I would suggest the first thing you do is take an online TEFL course so that you have some qualification, they are of varied lengths and are recognised worldwide. There are also companies who look for English host families in France who will take in one or two students for a week at a time to enable them to have a full immersion in the English language, if you had a spare bedroom is could bring in some good income. let me know if I can help further, am very happy to do so if I can. Susan x

  • Another great topic! It is very impressive to feel your frenchpassion. As a frenchman I trivialize all these small pleasures of life which you describe so well. Then, when I read your deep love of france, I get goose bumps! Merci encore et continuer d’ écrire avec autant de talent.

  • France is one country in Europe that its nation has never thrown away their culture and values. They have reserved them from generations to generations and till today it is still going on. It is a country that life is fresh, and there are many things to see and do. When I am in France I never get board.

    The French language is the most “Beautiful” language in the world. I am so glad I was born with both though, English and French. When I see students today studying either English or French language, I feel what they are looking for. I call myself lucky that I was born with both. I love France.

    • Hi Juli, it is a beautiful language, I agree, and to be able to speak both French and English is the best of both worlds. When my children chatter to each other in French, without even a hint of an English accent my heart bursts with pride and it sounds so magical. Susan x

  • How I envy you !!!
    Wish I had chosen to do this when I was younger. But, now, I’m contemplating moving to Sorrento, Italy, my favorite place on Earth…all by myself.

    • Hi Marsha, wow what a possibility, I say do it, you can always go back if it doesn’t work, but cease the opportunity, we are so lucky to be able to travel like this nowadays. Oh and whilst your in Europe, do come over to France and join us, would be fabulous to meet you, Susan x

  • OH my goodness! What a treasure i have stumbled upon!
    Our daughter (who grew up in Southern California; married a boy who is American; but who lived in Switzerland as a young boy; lived here near us in California for 3 years; then took their three children to live near Geneva for 8 years when they were 4 and 6 (twins were 4). They went to schools speaking only French….and had the same thing with the lunch,etc. They moved back when the twins were going into 8th grade; and the eldest going into 10th!

    They moved back to America; and very close to us…their grandparents…we are ecstatic!

    However; it is wonderful to hear what your children love about where you live! Did I count 6????

    We live in Montecito; a small town in Central California….and we have chickens also! Our grandchildren love them!!

    I am so delighted to find your blog!

    I have one too!

    http://www.mccormickinteriors.com. I am terrible at tech…..I hope you can find it. And I hope I can continue to manage it!
    Your blog is a delightful treasure!!! I am thrilled!!!

    • Hi Penelope, so glad you did find me and welcome to the blog! What a fun life your daughter has led, I wonder do her children still speak French at home now? Such a gift to speak more than one language. We have five children, we stopped there, thinking that was more than enough!!! I am on my way over to your website for a look around, thanks for the link, it looks like it should work perfectly! Enjoy your chickens, more about ours in my next post! Susan x

  • Another gread topic! It is very impressive to feel your french passion that brought you to move in France. As a frenchman, I trivialize sometimes all these small pleasures of life in France that you describe so well and, when I read all your good comments I get goose bumps! Thanks to be here.

    • Bonjour Philippe et Merci! I think as an outsider we see things differently, we are better able to overlook the bad and concentrate on all that is good. I have always been a firm believer that as a guest in someone else’s country we should not moan about things, if we don’t like it, we can simply leave. There is nothing worse than a foreigner enjoying all a country has to offer on one hand and at the same time complaining that this doesn’t work and that that is wrong. Unless of course they are here on official business and cannot leave!!!

  • What is somcaptivating is the French penchant for living life to the fullest. That means with friends and family. A satisfying metier is important, but not more that friends and family. Hedonistic pleasures are focused above all on making life’s necessities into pleasure–not just eating, but eating good food in a beautiful setting, with people we appreciate. The French prefer better rather than more. Mostly. There are exceptions everywhere of course.

  • What gorgeous photos–there was really no other explanation necessary for why you live in France after seeing those!! I ended up living in Paris on a whim (really, to escape reality), and I fell in love with the city. Then, I met my husband (a Parisian) and stayed there for years, and my love for France only grew as I got to travel and see other parts. It’s such a beautiful country with an amazing culture. And it’s such a gift to your kids to not only be bilingual, but also to have the opportunity to live abroad and expand their horizons. We’re currently living in NYC, but we have a toddler and plan move back so that she can experience both countries and cultures. I agree that it is so amazing to hear your kids speak a foreign language perfectly. I never tire of hearing my daughter wave to me and say “au revoir” or call me maman. The best! 🙂

    • I agree Laura. My son’s first word in French was ‘colline’. We were staying on a farm in Australia with hills in the distance. I could not believe what I was hearing! It was and still is so special.

      • Hi Catherine, it’s incredible as both you and Laura have said, to hear our children speak French, as I said it is the best thing we have ever done for them! Hope you had a great weekend. Susan x

    • Hi Laura, isn’t it funny, those foreign words uttered out of little one’s mouths can literally melt our hearts, I still, years later, marvel at our children, I just love hearing them speak, the ease with which they literally flit between two languages, it was the best thing we ever did for them! So I wholeheartedly encourage you to move back even if it is just for a short while. have a lovely weekend Susan x

  • Yes!! To all of the reasons……….Yes!! SO grateful to be able to take that deep breath and feel the slower, richer, lifestyle…………with seasons……….as one cannot truly appreciate the bright sunshine without some bits of cold and gray………..bringing us to our foundation as humans.
    Thank you, thank you – and all of the reasons for living in France? Agree!!!! Tyler also agrees!!!!!

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