Pat on arrival at CDG December 2023 after making police report for stolen laptop

France it is

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When I started traveling early last year, I hoped France would be my future home, but I had no certainty of getting a visa and so was considering other options. The moment of truth finally arrived when I submitted my application for a VLS-TS: a long-stay visa, good for a year and renewable in France. (The initial application must be made in one’s home country.) And I got it!

Before heading back to France to start house-hunting, I made a quick trip to Cancun and Puerto Morelos: a last beach vacation there with Kristian, a visit to the cardiologist I have great confidence in, and a tooth repair – crown, in fact – from the dentist I trust in Puerto Morelos. Done and dusted; clear for take off! Four days after returning to the States, I was on my way to France.

I still don’t know where I’ll end up, exactly. My explorations over these last two years have comprised a mental and psychological journey as well as a series of physical displacements. In 2022, I was aiming for southern coastal cities from Avignon to Narbonne, and of that zone I still like Narbonne, but I have found the cities to be beyond my budget and the smaller towns not to my liking. In 2023, I revisited some of the Yonne and Nièvre – where I hadn’t been for 9 years – and saw cities and departments new to me as well, in the center and west-center of the country. My budget keeps shrinking and so I am now looking in some of the most economical areas, but not the Dordogne so beloved by the English; not the Aveyron; I do not like being in the mountains for more than a brief vacation, and so I’m not looking further in the Aude either (think Carcassonne). Nor do I want an isolated location, as so many Brits seem to prefer. That’s a bit of a shame, because it seems many British buyers have done a great job of renovating a property that they’re now giving up.

So, where?

There seems to be a north-south cultural divide in most Northern Hemisphere countries and regions. The South does seduce with its sun and warmth and often a more laid-back style. But I’m finding my self-identification as a Northerner being reinforced. And, no surprise, I consistently find that a river running through a town makes me happier. I am looking in areas bordering the Touraine which I greatly liked at first sight in 2014; and in the southern parts of Normandy and its bordering areas. I am still considering parts of Burgundy and may revisit. In Deux-Sèvres, first visited in March, I like Thouars; people tell me to consider Parthenay, but I need to see more of it.

I’ll keep blogging my explorations. Will welcome your opinions and commentary1

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Kerry

    What a frustrating inconvenience right off the bat, the computer. Hope Santa comes to the rescue.
    Fingers crossed the housing market is in your favor and you are settled quickly.
    Diana & I are plotting a visit as soon as you’ll have us. KB

    1. Pat

      Oh yes, Kerry, painful! Santa left my life long ago, but with so much generosity in my early years, nothing to complain about. Can’t wait to host you! Meanwhile, you can follow my searching, which I’m trying to keep up with occasional computer use. Would buy a refurb but don’t know where I’ll be after Sat morning, have no address to schedule delivery to! Working on it.