I read a very interesting blog post recently on Our French Oasis which essentially posed the question: Where would you prefer to live? Town or country? So I’m adopting a similar approach to today’s blog post: Are you drawn to a rural or urban lifestyle?
Having recently spent a couple of weeks cat-sitting in the middle of Montpellier, the question was genuinely posed several times as we wandered the city streets, sat at a pavement café watching the world go by, or just while we perused the many and varied shops… Having lived for the past 17 years in Hong Kong, I do miss the buzz of the city. I miss the availability of goods and services virtually 24/7. The array of restaurant options just in my relatively small home town of Sai Kung rivalled most of the towns we have visited in France so far. But with the hustle and bustle comes noise and pollution. France retains that olde-world charm of long lazy lunches and deserted roads, quaint villages and beautiful scenery. We’ve certainly enjoyed exploring the area around the château in all directions but we feel that our hearts are drawn further south.
So we’ve made a decision.
We’re leaving the château!
Don’t faint. We’ve had a fantastic time here and we’ve loved having the opportunity to live in such an amazing building (I must admit that we are always comparing properties to the château and almost every time, it wins hands down). It’s just that we feel there are other areas to explore and so we’ve rented a little house in the Languedoc region in the South of France for the next 6 months of our French Adventure.
Having just returned from our latest dog-sitting experience, I wanted to share with you some of the sights we encountered. Above was the view from the kitchen window of the property we were looking after. It was a barn conversion perfectly positioned in a village with a bakery, little supermarket and pizzeria just around the corner. The church bells woke us at 6am every morning (after their hiatus from midnight to aid our slumbers)! We could walk out of the door, cross a little river and be in the local vineyards walking the dogs within a couple of minutes.
It certainly helped our step counts with two good walks a day. The only time we cut it a bit short was the day of snow. Yes, SNOW in the South of France! Quite unusual as you can imagine! The river flooded and the swimming pool froze over so we stayed indoors except for two brief walks that day.
Luckily there was a wood burner in the lounge so Rich set about making a fire which soon warmed us up. The next day the sun was out and the snow had all gone and soon we were playing in the garden with the dogs again!
The dogs were really well-behaved and happy to be left in the garden while we went exploring for a couple of hours. We went back to Minerve again (one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France that we had last visited on a cold and wet January day). What a difference!
We wandered around for about an hour, taking in the amazing scenery then we stopped for a delicious lunch at a recommended restaurant called Le Relais Chantovent. Rich generally disapproves of me taking photos of my food but I managed this quick snap of my amazing dessert!
We also found a quirky mobile fish and chip truck near Narbonne that was actually a converted boat on a trailer! The lady parks it in the carpark of a local hardware store so it felt a bit surreal eating fish and chips while watching people come in and out carrying planks and tins of paint but there you go! Rich let me photograph that one because it was so unusual!
We finally said goodbye to the dogs and returned to the château where Spring seems to have sprung.
So I’ll leave you with the question I posed at the beginning: where would you prefer to live? In the town or country? Urban or rural? I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts.
À bientôt, bisous.