The Blink of An Eye & Here I Am!

The Blink of An Eye & Here I Am!

The road to Francescas

What is it that made me decide to pack up and make a move across the world to a place I had never actually seen?  Driving in the Lot-et-Garrone for the first time, I  was left breathless by a vision of a church in the middle rolling hills covered in wheat gold grasses, russet grapevines and parched sunflowers. Have I been enchanted by the mistress of Camont, weaving her stories of chateaux & cassoulet?  Was there a potion in the wine shared at sunset with the farmer and his wife at Petit Clos? Or was I unduly influenced by a rosé fuelled video of a summer night market here in my new ville?  Yes, yes, yes to all of the above. But, in truth,
they only brought me to the place I wanted to live all my life.  On that level of wanting something but not really knowing what you were getting in to, which, of course,  has made it all so much fun!

The castle of Henri IV

How did I get here?  It was really all quite simple. Last August my friend, knowing that I had  a French fixation, sent me an article that listed 10 places in the world you could live on social security. One of them, Languedoc-Roussillon, is in southern France, between Provence and Gascony. I had never been to Languedoc, but I knew of Gascony from a quick visit a few years before.  I suspected if Langudoc was affordable, then Gascony was too, and I had friends there.  Well, actually, I had recent acquaintances with whom I had rapidly bonded based on my admiration for their adventursome spirt.  I had Facebook stalked Kate de Camont for a couple of years already, and had met her when I took a great road trip tour of hers to the Basque country.  Plus there was Cindy, the daughter of  California friends, her husband and young daughter who had moved to the area 5 years before and converted their beautiful farmhouse, Petit Clos, into a Bed and Breakfast, while also growing grapes (for wine!). Not a lot, but a start! 

The view from the New Bridge, looking towards Petit Nérac and the Old Bridge. #nofilter

It all seemed to good to be true, so I had dinner with my good friends Luke (the source of that article) and  Darin to talk it through.  Some glasses of wine into the meal, as they continued to push me in the direction of France, I said ” I thought you were going to be my voices of reason.  Why are you not talking me out of this?”.  The response, after “This is what you have always wanted to do…”, was “…and, if you can do it, it means we can do it someday, too!”.

Chez Moe on rue Turrouquet, Nérac, France

So, here I am, in Nérac, France, population of about 6,800, in a house, with a terrace, in what is called Petit Nérac.  It’s just a short walk down the hill to the Baise river,  or over the Old Bridge, or the New Bridge, into the centre ville (town center) and the castle of Henry IV.  Across the road is a beautiful walking trail that parallels the river, all part of the castle grounds.  There are two churches in town with bell towers that ring on the hour, one of which is much more photogenic than the other.

Eglise Nérac- I am so captivated by it’s profile in the sky that I take a picture of it almost every day. #nofilter

I did settle on Nérac before actually seeing it, having read about it from Kate de Camont, having seen pictures and videos from other’s who had discovered it’s charms.  I have not had a moment of regret since arriving.   Yes, I miss my family.  Yes, there have been some major challenges, but that’s a part of what will drive this blog site!  And, yes, it’s not the USA, it’s France, and I love it.




40 thoughts on “The Blink of An Eye & Here I Am!

  1. How courageous and beautiful at the same time. May your dreams continue to come true and I can’t wait to read about it. Hope to someday to be able to live out my dreams….

    1. Monica, I remember meeting Savannah at Roger’s birthday party, just after one of my trips to France. She was ready to visit then, I’m sure she will love it when she is 18. My granddaughter, Julianne, is going to be spending a month in Toulouse this summer, just an hour away from here, and I can’t wait to share it with her!

  2. Love your descriptive writing. I think it makes us all want to visit. Love the pictures and old worldness of the town. Keep sending us pictures and news of your adventures. I plan to take my granddaughter to France in 8 years when she turns 18. I have promised her so need to catch up on my French that was learned sooo long ago!! ?

  3. So wonderful to know your dream came true. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.

  4. A beautiful spirit writing with passion about what drives someone to have the courage to change their life! Your shared adventures are awe inspiring. Your love for all things French embraces the heart of cultural tradition. With ease, you have immersed yourself. Glad our paths crossed and grateful to be in the moment of your constant discovery. Continuer ami!

  5. So wonderful to know your dream came true. I am looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.

  6. Hello Maurine, I follow Kate Hill’s FB and after reading some of your comments to her posts, I decided to follow you, as well.
    My husband, our 10-year old and I moved to northern France in 2001 on a lark and spent 3 years there. We learned the language the hard way, bought and renovated a 100-year house and travelled all over Europe when our son wasn’t in school. It was the best thing we ever did. We are back in California now since 2005 and I yearn to be back in France. Kudos to you! I will live vicariously through your blog. A bientôt!

  7. Do check out St.-Cirq-Lapopie on the River Lot – a bit touristy, but people flock there for good reason! I bet you would love Figeac, too; the man who deciphered the Rosetta Stone is a native son and much celebrated there, plus the brocantes are terrific.

    Check out this site: You can open your photos in it and rotate them so they are correctly oriented for future blog posts.

    Good luck in your new and exciting life!

    1. Diana- and everyone, the pictures show correctly on the full (computer) site, but are turned on the mobile versions. I’m going to have to do some investigation to find out why…

      1. I’m reading your blog on a desktop and a couple are turned on their sides, so I don’t think it’s just the difference between a desktop and a mobile. Might have something to do with the original orientation on your camera or phone, but this tech stuff is way beyond my remit!

        1. ok, they are straight on min… so I will really have to do some investigating. Thanks!

        2. Ok, I think I figured it out- the one’s that were twisted had uploaded sideways and, even though I edited them to turn them it didn’t seem to hold This time I edited the size before uploading and, at least on my phone, it looks ok. Thanks again for letting me know!

  8. A wonderful start to your blog! Still a big fan of your writing. But, why wasn’t my name in this? Why did Darin and Luke get to be in it?

    1. You’re the star in the one where I rescue the journalist from the swimming pool as well as the one where I go see a concert featuring the former bandmate of my two favourite Beatles. And, every time you compliment my writing my heart sings!

  9. Loved reading your blog Moe…..I am so excited for you. Keep the update and pictures coming …..I will be living vicariously through you!!!! You are very brave!!!!!
    Have fun and thanks for sharing with all of us.
    Bye for now, Virgi

  10. Yay! So happy to hear you telling us stories! We miss you but are so proud of you for taking this journey! Can’t wait for the next entry! 🙂

  11. Wonderfully written Maurine!

    Thank you for sharing your courageous and beautiful new life with us!!

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog and seeing the lovely narrative pictures.

  12. All I can say at the moment is congratulations to you a brave and spirited lady, a similar memory I have of you when we met 15 years ago during our trip to USA, visiting Vicki and Mike. Now I can really believe that we can fulfill our dreams. Best I find that dream to work towards.

  13. Brava Moe! It’s wonderful to be a willing accomplice to your dreams and to have you as a kindred spirit in the good Gascon neighborhood. Much respect and chapeaux off to you!

    1. Thank you for allowing me to worm my way in, Kate. Your warmth and generosity of spirit is so special and I so enjoy witnessing it here in Gascony.

  14. Great intro to what I’m sure will be an wonderful and entertaining blog. You are so brave to have made this huge move on your own and what you have accomplished in such a short period is mind boggling (and quite funny at times!). I can feel in my bones that this is exactly where you should be and I couldn’t be happier since now you are so much closer to us. Look forward to seeing you soon.

  15. That would be great…I am loving your journey! Message me with a date and time and we’ll make it happen.

  16. So happy to be following your lovely musings and photographs! I loved living in Germany (during the ‘dark ages’) and only have letters home saved…my thoughts are with you on this incredible journey❤️

  17. All I can say is Tres Incroyable…..I admire your courage and willingness to take risks and follow your passion.I hope you have brought your whistle or actually now you probably dont need it.I am so in awe.
    With much love and admiration,
    Emilie aka Em or CL

    1. Em- the whistle is hanging on the pantry door au Chez Moe. Wouldn’t go anywhere without it. It reminds me I’m not a shrinking violet.

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