A Bit About the Blog


It’s fun to daydream once in a while. Do you ever think of France? Perhaps you know the country well or perhaps you will never visit. I dreamt of living here for years; I dreamt of our children being bilingual and going to French schools and then one day, the dream became a reality. That was 9 years ago, and sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it’s actually true. But then that’s why I want to share it with you and I hope you’ll have some fun following along.

This blog is our story about living a real country life in France and all that inspires us – hopefully it will be a little bit of escapism for you, peppered with some personal anecdotes from us. It’s a mixture of lifestyle, travel and food blogs all combined into one!

We live in a small village in Charente Maritime in South West France. That’s me, my husband, our five children, two dogs, two cats and lots of chickens. We mix with the locals and we love nothing more than to listen to their stories and understand their culture; their unique way of doing things. I write about life as it is happening; I interview local people and I visit local markets, cities, villages and landmarks.

We love exploring our area and beyond as a family, whether it’s on foot, by bike, in the car, or on a boat – it really doesn’t matter as there is always something new to see, and there are always some questions for the inquiring mind that need an answer. One day we could be discussing ancient chateaux, Romanesque churches or historical sites and the next we could be picking vegetables from our own potager and cooking with our own free-range eggs, giving you some recipes, or sampling some local produce or wine; there’s just so much to share with you.

I hope you’ll join me in our adventure and discover what it’s really like to live in France. We believe in the importance of appreciating the simple things in life and I want you to be a part of it.

Do subscribe to the blog, in the sidebar, so you don’t miss any posts and please comment freely, this interaction between you and I is what makes it all so special; building our own little community.

If there is anything you want to chat about or you have any questions please feel free to email me anytime at frenchlife17@gmail.com  or find me on Instagram and Facebook.

Bisous, Susan


63 thoughts on “A Bit About the Blog

  1. Bonjour Susan! I guess you´ll be getting lots of comments like mine, starting by” I found your blog through Stéphane´s” – but that´s just how it is since he mentioned you in his post today! Having moved from Germany to France recently, I´m very exited to read about your view as an already experienced 😉 expat. Looking forward to your stories.. Très bonne soirée from Paris, Sabine.

    1. Bonjour Sabine, welcome and so glad to have you following. Welcome to France, which department have you moved to? We really do love it here, we love the climate, the people and everything about life in France. Looking forward to getting to know you better and sharing my posts. Best wishes Susan

      1. Susan, thank you for the obvious time and care taken in writing and illustrating your blog posts; your photographs are particularly captivating.
        May I ask for more detail regarding your particular micro-climate? Reading statistics is far less informative than first-hand experience from one who has lived through multiple seasons. I’m enamored of the area that I take to be a bit North of your home; particularly Mortagne sur Gironde and environs and your impressions would be useful as I continue to search for property. Thank you – and

        Best regards, JB

        1. Hi JB, I will email you in far more detail this evening using the email that was given as a contact for this message. It is a lovely area and I would be so happy to answer any questions and chat about the micro-climate, the area of which is vastly exaggerated a lot of the time!!! Best wishes Susan

  2. Hi Sue. Penny and Adrian gave me your blog link. Just loving it. I have lived in this area just south of Jonzac, inheriting my gorgeous home when my Father died. He bought out abandoned house in 1971!! Now I have found it will be an avid reader. Have often wanted to do same myself. Mary Clare Ferrary

    1. Hi Mary Clare, Great to have you following. You must obviously love the area you have been here a long time. I don’t know the Jonzac area at all but I do know it is very beautiful. If you want to write a blog, just go ahead and do it. I can tell you the first post and the first time you hit the “post” button is quite terrifying, but it gets much easier and the people you meet blogging are so incredibly nice and helpful. I have been quite overwhelmed by the generosity of fellow bloggers, it’s a great community. Hope to meet you one day Susan

    1. Hi, great to meet you too. Love Australia, our youngest daughter was born in New Zealand and she visited Australia when she was 6 months old, not that she remembers anything about it! Enjoy the blog, enjoy your summer, and lovely to have you following. Susan

  3. Greetings Susan, What a delight your blog is, just found through Sharon Santoni. Thank you for such good writing and sharing the real life. The photo of the girl’s tea party with the pets sent me into serious giggles.That is so generous to offer the paintings as giveaways; they are beautifully done.

    My name is Susan also and I leave in the New England woods north of Boston in a cottage crammed with English and French antiques and junque, too many tea pots, a bossy Westie and a wonderful kind man who makes sense of it all. Design greeting cards and write, garden and love to host dinners. Have lived in Europe and miss it, but visit vicariously through blogs, design books and cooking French food. All the best for a wonderful holiday season to you and yours,

    Susan Gabriel

    1. Hi Susan, So glad to have you following and welcome to the blog, sounds as if you live a pretty fun life too! I am looking forward to going over to your website and having a look this evening. My mother in law, who painted the two scenes, also collected antique teapots! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy Christmas. Susan

  4. Hi Susan, Roddy, 5 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 10 chickens,
    Hope every ones fine as kind, Karen and I just made it thru our 1st blizzard of 2016, hope it’s not like last years snow. We broke records with 120″ of that white stuff, dame.lol

    Heading back to Cabo in a week or so, then to Cap Cana , DR 1st of March, hopefully the weather on Cape Cod will let me go catching when we return. Found a new pike spot on mid-cape, 28 for 29 bites, but that 29 one was 20 lbs broke off at the net. Sob.
    Nice small and lm bass too, but the ramp closes during the summer. Got a parking
    ticket before Labor Day….lol

    Cado fishing was slow in December, fished 3 days, got a nice Mahi on a fly, and a stripy Marlin off the shotgun….

    We’ll chat when and if I return … 😉

    1. Hi Jay, fabulous to hear from you. We have been watching the images of the snow on the news, but it sounds as if you are escaping it soon anyway, is Karen going with you? Looks like you have been doing lots of fishing. I think it’s time you both headed over to Europe and came and saw us? You can catch up on all I have been doing here, but email either Roddy or myself, same email as always and we can chat further. Susan x

  5. Good day Susan, nice to meet you! Happy to have found your blog. I am located in the Us a few miles from the Florida Everglades! I love the French style of decorating Lisa@ Sweet Tea N’ Salty Air

    1. Hi Lisa, welcome to the blog and I am so happy you have found it. I love the Everglades, the only thing I did not like was the humidity in summer! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and hope you will continue to follow along. Susan x

  6. How fortunate you are to be surrounded by your family in this lovely place! I so want to see France. Not just the France you see in Paris. But the one you live in. I’m looking forward to reading more about your experiences. Thanks for following Oh, the Places We See. Maybe someday, we’ll see your France!

    1. Hi, thank you for following along too. Paris is of course on everyone’s wish list to visit and it is gorgeous. But there is so much more to France as you say. Getting away from the main roads and the big cities is a real adventure, it is such a beautiful country. I hope you get here one day and I can show you around. Susan x

  7. To Susan, I am so happy to meet you. I am in Tucson, Arizona. Many moons from your glorious life. It is so inspiring when you fine someone or something that makes you sigh with contentment. Your grounds are what dreams are made from. Hello! Marcia Green

    1. Hi Marcia, and I am so happy to meet you too, thank you for taking the time to write and say hello. I would welcome some of your Arizona sunshine and dry weather right now, April was cold and May has been chilly and wet, not at all usual for this time of year, the garden as a result is way behind and flowers are unwilling to bloom! The only thing growing furiously are weeds and the grass! Do come by and have a ‘chat’ at the bottom of my blog posts, that is the very best part for me, reading people’s comments and replying to them, it’s great fun getting to know everyone. Very best wishes Susan x

    1. Thanks so much, so glad you found me too. My husband grew up in Greece, so he has very very fond memories there. We love it here, the children love it here and that’s why I really enjoy sharing it with everyone. Hope you really enjoy following along and the future posts and have a lovely weekend.xx

  8. I just found your blog and subscribed. I can’t wait to follow your adventures in gardening, animal games and kids. I hope I can come and stay in your little guesthouse the next time I’m in France. Bisous from Oregon US.

    1. Hi Gayle, so glad you did find the blog and great to have you following along. When you are planning your next trip to France do send me an email, would love to welcome you in our guest house. Have a very happy holidays xx

  9. What a lovely blog! Really inspiring and I love the passion you obviously have for all things France! We too share this are are in the process of buying a property in the Gers region, hoping to be out there in summer, with a view to moving permanently in the next couple of years. It’s blogs like yours that really make us certain we have made the right decision. Thanks for all you efforts in keeping this up


    1. Thanks so much Derek, as I am sure you know there are lots of ups and downs to living in France and it’s not always easy, but I think it is important to always remember why we moved here and to make sure we enjoy all the things we moved here for. Life is never perfect anywhere, but by keeping this in mind, we really do enjoy our French lifestyle. The Gers is beautiful, if you are driving down and stopping off in this area, pop by and say hello. Are you coming from the UK? Xx

      1. You are absolutely correct, we have been visiting France for 25 years and we have tried to lose the rose tinted view of French Life. In saying that, we tend to live life every day with France in mind from decor, food to perspective, think we were French in a previous life 😀

        We are currently in Scotland, would love to drop by as I’m sure we will be in your area at some point, we visited Royan last year, loved it. Thanks again for your inspirational blog

        Derek x

        1. Anytime, let me know when you are this way, it’s a long drive from Scotland! I agree with losing the rose tinted spectacles, life is life and the same old boring things happen here just as they do everywhere. But for me, it is the slightly slower pace and the fact that everyone seems to enjoy the simpler things that make it special. Have a great Sunday xx

  10. That is very nice of you Susan, it is a long drive! It is exactly that slower pace and appreciation of the simple things that we love about France and what we want to do more of, hope you had a nice weekend x

    1. Thanks, I think this is one of the main reasons people move to France and love it, our life is quite hectic with the children but at the same time also slower, if that makes sense. Because no matter how busy, people take time for lunch, people take time to enjoy each other’s company. Family, being together, actually having fun are more important than so many other things and it makes for a lovely lifestyle. Had a great weekend thank you, hope you did too.xx

  11. What a lovely blog!Have only just discovered you from Southern Fried French(a favorite!) (as I’m sure you will be,too!)
    You are in such a joyful part of your life!
    We lived in Paris and Montreal in younger days;memories I truly would not take gold for. 52 years married,just turning 70 tomorrow.
    Feeling a b i t reflective,but so very thankful for blessings,and!
    wonderful joie de vivre which I know you are now sharing with your lovely family.

    1. So glad you found me Natalia, and wising you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Lucky you to have lived in Paris and Montreal, where are you now? Once again have a lovely day and thanks for taking the time to comment. xxx

  12. Hi Susan

    I’ve just come across your blog and am enjoying it 😀

    We’re having a house built in a village just outside La Rochelle, having travelled throughout France over the last decade or so trying to work out where to buy a property. Charente Maritime won hands down. We’re currently in Christchurch, Dorset and initially our French home will be just for holidays. Your insight into life in France is fabulous. It makes me feel even more excited to start my own French adventures.

    Thank you so much

    Geraldine x

    1. Hi Geraldine, so happy you found the blog! I wonder where your house is outside La Rochelle? We have travelled much of France and lived further south too and when we moved here we absolutely knew we had found the perfect place for us. Just love it here. xx

  13. Susan – I’m new to word press and blogging and am so excited to find your blog. I love the articles I’ve read this far and I love the pictures.

    I’m attempting to document my 33 year attempt to learn French. Ironically my name is Susan and my husband who is half french is from Charente Maritime and his mother still lives there. We were just there in May.

    My struggle wth the language is epic ! After 33 years of visits you would think I could speak French – but nope.

    Any suggestions on learning the language ?

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Hi Suz, fabulous to ‘meet you’ as it were and so sorry this comes after your visit in May, perhaps next time you are over here we can meet up. I have received your lovely email and will reply in far more detail later today. Xx

  14. isn’t it wonderful what you can get out of your own garden? Just yesterday we had a Ratatouille too, unfortunately
    with vegis from the supermarket and I could taste the difference. Also berries and other fruits doesn’t taste the same
    compared to my childhood. Pesticide and pollution show their imprint. So lucky you….Relaxation, serenity etc. I can
    find doing everyhing very attentive, not matter whether reading a book, listen to music or doing my housework.

    1. You sound as if you are supremely content, which is the best way to be. I really do think one of the great pleasures in life for me is being able to grow things and give them away and cook with them, it is so incredibly fulfilling and the taste is so different to anything one buys. I am still always so surprised at how much we can grow and how things just grow so happily. xx

  15. Dear Susan,
    I found your blog after reading an article you had written for the Living magazine which piqued my interest. Since then I have been spending many happy hours reading your blog about everyday life in Charente Maritime. I am particularly interested as I have just arrived in Charente Maritime with my husband and I’m keeping a blog diary for my friends and family but I can see that your blog has blossomed into a much larger entity. I love the photos and it has inspired me to look at everything with fresh eyes (normally my husband takes the good shots and I just take the snaps).
    I have subscribed to receive updates so I look forward to keeping up with the adventures of you and your tribe in Charente Maritime.
    Best regards,

    1. So happy you found the blog, I popped over to have a look and followed you, sounds like you are on quite an adventure. We adore the Charente Maritime, it is beautiful in all seasons. Hope you enjoy your stay, how long are you here for? The chateau looks lovely. Let me know if you are in this direction, or send me a private email, we can always meet up. Susan xx

  16. Hi Susan
    I admire your persistence. I started doing the same as you with a blog about where we live in Spain but got very little feedback. I got bored after a bit and stopped doing it. Earlier this year I ended up in hospital with a heart attack and subsequently had a couple of e-mails saying how much my blog was missed. In response, I wrote quite a bit and then became distracted. It never went any further. So, well done.

    Can I make a small request – that the size of the header is reduced a bit because it takes up almost half the screen making it very difficult to see all your great pictures.

    Alan Bowman

  17. Hi dear Susan
    Thanks to Alan Bowman’s comment I (only now) came to find your ‘about the blog’ and in fact wanted to give him a ‘thumb up’ for his proposal of ‘heavy overheads’…. For a while you had a banner that absolutely took ‘several ages’ to upload – the present one is slightly easier on older equipment. But what you could do, you surely have a programm to resize the contents of your banner photos, since you have a watersign too. I had this feature on a free photo enhancement programme which I can’t use anymore because they made it paying now.
    But in any case, your blog is about the best I know in this field and your writing is fantastic. Your photos enchant me and your family has become ‘family’ to hundreds or thousands of your readers. You have a great gift and we can never thank you enough for sharing so generously your findings, experiences, thoughts and happenings. You should get a medal from the French tourist board anyway for promoting the Charrente Maritime so beautifully in every post 🙂

  18. Hi Susan. So happy I found your blog. It is delightful. I have been living in British Columbia, Canada now for over 40 years but having been raised in the UK I sometimes yearn for more history and culture. I have travelled to Europe a few times and reading your blog just reminded me of those experiences. You are doing a great job of promoting the area you live in. We live next to a park, Fintry Provincial park near Kelowna BC. Perhaps when you have a moment you would be interested to see the contrasts of where I live in a rural area by Okanagan Lake. (Moments in the Garden Photography, Vyvienne)

    1. Hi Vyvienne, I am so glad you found the blog too. I will certainly come and have a look at your area, I love seeing different places and as I have quite a few relatives in Canada it is a country I particularly love. Many of my relations emigrated in between the wars and we now have one entire side of the family over there! Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  19. Hi Susan! I just discovered your blog and I’m so excited to follow your country life in France. My husband who’s now deceased, and I ,were stationed in Naples Italy for 4 years back around 1992 or 93 I think it was. We loved it there, but I got to take a trip to Paris with a group through the military. I was in love with France the minute we landed! It was only a 2night, 3day trip so my girlfriend and I were running all over Paris trying to see everything we could! We saw the Louvre, Norte Dame, the French quarter, went to a flea market, and ate in two fine dining French restaurants. Oh and we saw the big cathedral with all the steps up in the artists quarter as well. It was so much fun! I’ve always wanted to go back and see the countryside of France. You’re so fortunate to be living out your dream with your family! I can’t wait to follow along on your adventures! I live on the Mississippi Gulf coast in a town with a French name! Imagine that? Have a great week!
    Shelia P.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.