When we first took up residence in France in 1972, our only non-local, non-farming, neighbours were a couple of Parisian lesbians called Jeannine and Odette.
They were charming, very quiet, and intelligent people, who liked their world to be orderly and 'correct'. There was never a discarded sweet paper, never any noise, and their lawns and flower beds were always perfectly groomed. In many ways they liked their world to be much as I do mine.
J and O were Zen Buddhists, and their daily work consisted of translating obscure Asian religious books/tracts into both French and English. Such things were still fashionable in the early 70's, so I imagine it kept wolves from their door. We quickly became very good friends.
In about 1980 they decided to move to a smaller, more manageable, property, and built themselves a nearby wooden 'eco' house; which, after a very short while, lost its original appeal. They then surprised us by announcing that they had bought a home in a mountainous area of The Cevennes.
They asked a friend and myself if we would help with their move, which we were only too happy to do. A couple of weeks later we set off towards the mountains with a fully loaded rental van.
Eventually we arrived at a seriously ruined roadside house and barn, overlooking bare and bleak mountains. We were amazed to find that this was their new home. It was miles from anywhere, and had no services installed. We were very reluctant to offload their beautiful antique furniture into this tumbledown wreck, and asked if we couldn't find some safe storage somewhere else. They insisted all was OK, and we did as asked. We were very concerned about leaving them there, in the middle of nowhere, on the side of a mountain, with no visible sign of amenities or comfort. We imagined them sitting cross-legged on a rocky outcrop, slowly starving whist chanting some Zen mantra.
I believe it wasn't long afterwards that they 'divorced', with Odette returning to Paris, and Jeannine heading for the south coast. They are now sadly both deceased.
If only they had stayed as neighbours. They were such charming and intelligent people; it was a real pleasure to have them here. It's never been the same since.
The above picture from 1997, shows Cro being admonished by Odette for prioritising mushroom hunting over painting (which I didn't). The church (top right) is that of our village.