Life's Little Pleasures: French Countryside
Long Term House Sitting assignments opens up a country and its people to you. You get to peek behind the curtain and get a feel for what it’s really like to live there. That’s when life’s little pleasures start revealing themselves to you.
France’s countryside, with its beautiful landscapes and mellow vibe, had an abundance of those.
The Life’s Little Pleasures series invites you to spend a day by our side as we stroll around a specific little part of the globe and soak up all the best that life has to offer.
French Countryside: The sound of silence
We start our day by waking up to the sound of birds singing, the soft wind blowing and the sound of your own breath. A real treat in this day and age as most places are busy beehives, with loud cacophonic noise pollution such as cars honking, construction work, or the neighbour's loud music blaring.
It’s so quiet, even the cat is still sleeping:
We make ourselves a cup of coffee and look out the window and see the mist still covering the fields in the distance.
We’re going hiking this afternoon followed by apéro / dinner with the neighbours. Better get dressed and go to the market to get a few things. We wouldn’t want to show up empty handed now would we!
Hmmm... Should we walk?
Or should we drive?
Let’s walk. We have plenty of time and besides, we can stop and look at the horses along the way!
I love our morning strolls… with a coffee to go, of course!
French Countryside: The market
Oh my! There goes the diet!
No wonder I have this song stuck in my head!
There’s our neighbour Jean-Pierre, clowning around!
We’ve been coming here so often the merchants and customers are starting to recognize us. I guess we’re slowly integrating into the community.
All right… time to head back. I believe we have everything.
Bernadette’s picking us up in an hour for the hike, so I’d better clean the pool before we head out.
All right, all done. And just in time, Bernadette’s here!
French Countryside: The hike
Be sure to have a slice of that humble pie bread she brought as this 72 years old can out-hike everyone!
Do we have everything? Hiking shoes, water, snacks, wine…
Wait… wine?!? For hiking?
We were explicitly warned by the homeowners we’re house sitting for that the one thing we must NOT forget when hiking in France, is the wine. Numero uno on the list.
Silly me… I thought my hiking shoes were numero uno...
The whole group has arrived. Time to boogie.
Knowing the French, I was expecting lots of chatter but everyone’s keeping to themselves, soaking up the forest aromas, lost in their thoughts. You can hear the twigs snapping underneath our feet as we slowly follow the trail. It sure feels like a walking meditation as our brains just absorb the surroundings. Inevitable when enchanted by such beauty.
Sweet! There’s a little village tucked away out here.
It’s so quaint here... The streams echo in our ears. Green and blue everywhere, the smell of pine and nuts…
Let’s pick a few off the side of the road, shall we?
To think that just a few years ago life was a cubicle. Look at us now… homeless (well, technically), jobless, picking chestnuts off the side of the road and never been happier!
Oh… we’re going on the trail that leads to the top of the mountain.
Watch out for the snails!
A three hour hike is challenging, but the reward is so worthwhile.
No wonder everyone’s skinny around here, four hikes a week like that will do the trick.
I guess that’s how we burn off the baguettes, the cheese, the pastries and the wine.
What a treat to live so close to the Midi-Pyrénées!
Let’s go wind down at home a bit before apéro.
And where’s the cat?
Ah! There she is!
French Countryside: Apéro
Apéro, short for apéritif, is our opportunity to banter and catch up with everyone.
Our neighbours Serge and Christine were kind enough to invite us over, alongside other people from around here.
Tonight is “Un apéro dînatoire”, meaning a full meal will accompany the drinks. Did I mention they’ll be twelve of us?
I hope we brought enough chocolates for everyone:
Maybe we should of brought this instead:
What a great opportunity to be a fly on the wall!
About five different conversations happening all at once. The humour, the arguments, the camaraderie… a cacophonic symphony that’s just candy to our ears.
We’re being teased a bit about our French Québécois accent and we tease them about this:
“Oh lalalalala! Vee do not serve you such horreurs!!”
Hehehehe... Got them good.
Apéro is French sacred ground and we’re just so delighted to be a part of it.
I catch a glimpse of Sophie and she’s just beaming. It’s such a warmhearted feeling to be so easily welcomed into their home. To think that if it wasn’t for House Sitting, we’d be holed up in a hotel somewhere.
As much as this has been enjoyable, we’d better not overextend our welcome.
Besides, we want to spend a bit of time with the kitty-cat before turning in.
“Thanks for the invite, see you tomorrow."
Ah… that was nice...
Oh sweet! The stars are out.
Another gorgeous day awaits us tomorrow.
Hmmm… Maybe we’ll go to the market again?
Nah… I think we’ll stay at home and hang out with the cat
Bonus Section: Reward
For those of you who’ve experienced the lifestyle of French countryside, this travel badge is your reward:
One travel badge per Road Stories article. Let's see how many you collect over time.
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