Wednesday 28 April 2010

Where to live?

I have often been asked why I choose to live in France. Well, I'll try to answer that; as much for myself, as for others.

France is a very beautiful country. Along with parts of the UK, it has some of the very best landscape and architecture in Europe. It is well positioned within the body of Europe, it has a good climate, and it's infrastructure is excellent.

One can drive from north to south within one day, the same as from west to east. From where I live (in the south west) I can be over the border into Spain by lunchtime, or even in Barcelona by late afternoon. I could be skiing in the morning in the Pyrenees, and swimming in the Bay of Biscay at teatime. On many occasions I have left my house in the early morning, and been sitting at our Brighton UK home before dinner. France is a reasonably compact country, and with its really superb road system one can be in any corner within about 12 hrs.

France is also a gourmet's delight, although this is less obvious now than 37 years ago when I first arrived. Really good quality markets and supermarkets are everywhere, and the tradition of superb small independent bakers lives on. Without doubt, the standard of every-day lunchtime restaurants has fallen. Not so long ago one was spoilt for choice; nowadays it's not so easy, but with a little searching one should always eat well.

The wine too is good. Maybe the French are a little behind the trend for 'flying winemakers' and their mass production methods for quaffable reds, but the great chateaux are still here and they still produce some of the world's finest.

On the more banal side of things; the education system is good, and the health system one of the best in the world. Of politics; I choose to ignore.

So, when the sun is shining (28 degrees C today), and I'm sitting up at Haddock's with Freddie the cat curled up at my feet, I have nothing to complain about. Add to that a glass of rustic red, a plate of simple charcuterie, and the shade of an old apple tree under which to snooze, and I'm in paradise.

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  1. Blimey, what a life you lead. (trying hard to subdue the urge to come over, buy the house next to yours, and become the neighbor from hell by playing Rolf Harris all day and night, riding quad bikes without silencers, etc. etc. - Jealous? Moi?)

  2. I'm even making MYSELF jealous. Rolf Harris's 'Stairway to Heaven' is No 4 on my 'Desert Island Discs' list. Can yer hear what it is yet?

  3. Okay you it and weep. I have the honor of sitting right under Robert Plant during a concert in the 60's to hear the original "Stairway to Heaven". So close, in fact, that he spit on me all throughout the concert. Oh, those were the days, my friends, of music, for us-the baby boomers, and you could even get there early and get the best place in the house without having to get a certain seat. France sounds so wonderful now as I look out the window in Utah at the bleak rainy day. We were supposed to go to a tulip festival tonight but not a chance now. Drat.

  4. Robert Plant lives here in Bath, Julie, and sometimes visits our local pub - I'm not weeping..

  5. Oh, drat. You one upped me! Okay, you win. Ha ha!


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