My love of France sneaked up on me. Unlike my husband who I think came out of the womb loving France. His dream, which predates our meeting ten years ago, was to live in France. It wasn’t a dream I shared. But here we are in the process of buying our very own house in France. So what changed?
My husband’s dream grew over many happy summers in France with his children. Brittany, Provence, the Dordogne – he loved them all.
My French experiences had been minimal. A day trip to Boulogne by hovercraft (that dates me), a weekend in Normandy to help paint a friend of a friend’s house (bit too much hard work) and a day trip to Paris on the Eurostar to have lunch (decadent and lots of fun).
My own love of France started quite recently. Two days into our French holiday in Provence we went to the local farmers market. The myriad of stalls in the square spilling up into the narrow side streets enchanted me. The fruit and veg stalls were a revelation, I had no idea there were so many different types of tomatoes, wrinkly ones and purple ones. You don’t find that in the supermarket at home
But the thing that really started my love affair was the lunch. Delicious tuna salad washed down with some Provencal rosé in the sunshine, the hustle of the market packing up around us. I don’t even have to close my eyes to be back there, the memory is so vivid.
My husband wanted to move to Provence there and then. I was more cautious. What about our family commitments? What work could I do? I didn’t speak French (and have no aptitude for languages). We didn’t know anyone…… The list of reasons not to go seemed endless.
We have had more French holidays since then. Exploring different parts, my love of France grew and the French dream became a joint one, but still the obstacles seemed insurmountable.
Until now. The most important thing is that we have found an area of France we both adore, Entré deux Mers. We love the rolling hills of vines and morning coffee watching the world go by in our favourite village. We have found our special little corner of France.
The other big change is that over the past six years I have discovered a passion for wine. A wine tasting present led to training with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust in London. A subject I used to find intimidating I now find endlessly fascinating.
Now I knew what I would do in France. Wine!
Despite all that, we thought our dream of France would always be beyond us. Then my father’s death, a significant birthday and a career change for me made us decide. We decided to go for it and worry about the consequences later (or not at all).
Without telling anyone, we arranged a fact-finding trip to look at some houses in our chosen area. The inevitable happened, we fell in love with the second house we saw. The views of rolling hills of vines sucked us both in. The swimming pool sealed it for my husband.
For me it was the gloriously bright and airy art studio (the owner was an artist) that did it. Our trips to France reawakened my artistic side, dormant for years due to work commitments. The dream of space to paint and sculpt, made me mentally pack up my art stuff lying dormant in our shed before we had seen another room.
No surprise then that by the time we got back home we had bought a house!
However, there remains one BIG problem. I still don’t speak French. Not in the way that other people say they don’t speak French. I know nothing. I once tried to order a glass of Crémant at a cafe and got green tea!
They say love is blind and it certainly feels a bit like we are heading into the dark. But it also feels like a great new adventure – and that has to be worth doing.