Friday, May 31, 2013

Catching Up

I am going to try to update this little by little. Many of you know I found the transition to life in France pretty hard and I still miss all of my friends in Canada and the US a lot. Different language, different customs, different stores, different weather - everything combined made me pretty lonely sometimes, other times just frustrated but more and more I can concentrate on what a great opportunity we all have living France.

Over a year ago, our first houseguests (my parents) arrived and we explored some the area around Chalon.  First stop was Tournus, just south of Chalon, where we found an old car show and a bicycle museum.

Next was Beaune, known for its wine and annual wine auction in aid of the Hospices de Beaune. I love how many places have merry-go-rounds in the centre-ville!

 Then we went to Lons-le-Saunier where we found the 'Vache Qui Rit' and some beautiful countryside along the way.

Notice the rainbow, well, for our first 6-8 weeks in France we had rain just about everyday!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Odds and Ends

Here are a few pictures of our first few weeks here – no connecting story just a jumble of thoughts!
One of the first things we had to do was buy curtains – I had brought two sets with me but they were no match for the 1.5 and 2 metre lengths we would need for the windows on our new apartment. We did not pick the American flag curtains but it is interesting that there is almost as much American motif stuff here as there is French motif stuff in the US – if your first reaction it ‘well, that isn’t much’ – look again – whether is something written in French or pictures of Paris and the Eiffel Tower stores like Marshalls and Hobby Lobby are filled with French themed stuff!
These are the curtains we picked for our bedroom – the name of the pattern is pure coincidence!
A few pictures of the countryside the weekend we arrived
And, of course, the vineyards

Lots of cows, horses, sheep, chickens, goats donkeys – always something to look at
I haven’t taken a lot of pictures of our neighbourhood yet but here are a few…
A quiet street one block away from our building
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The Saone is just at the end of our street

Some of our boxes loaded to go to the dechetterie – I couldn’t help but think of my friends making shelves and looking for packing boxes.
We have been going to lots of brocantes on Sundays – it is an entertaining way to spend a few hours. This is a chair we didn’t buy…
One of the days Isabelle was on vacation we had perfect weather for a picnic on the river – as you will see we haven’t really had another chance.
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On the left – water level on the Saone on April 17th, 2013; On the right – on May 7th, 2013
We had our picnic about 5 steps down from the last step above water.
And we can’t very well live in France and not enjoy some treats – something for the two of us while Paul was working in Clermont for the week and something for a birthday!

A Day in Dijon

We have had a busy few weeks – Isabelle had a 2 week school break, yes, she had 2 weeks of school here before her first vacation, pretty sweet!  The first week Paul was working and there was a swim camp at the Centre Nautique every morning with an 1 1/2 of swimming and a couple hours of another activity before finishing at noontime. The second week started with a trip to Dijon. We needed a few things for our guestroom because our first houseguests were expected.

In Dijon, Isabelle spied owl markers on the ground so we went to the Office de Tourisme to get a map of the walking tour. I must say these walking tours are great – Isabelle acts as tour guide and searches for the next marker and we get to see the city without too much ‘are we there yet’ or ‘my feet are tired’. Anyway, Dijon is beautiful and will require a few more visits but here are a few pictures to tempt our potential guests.

Multicoloured roofs are typical of Dijon

A Grand Post Office

We haven’t been to Paris yet so Isabelle was pretty excited to see Dijon’s version of the Arc de Triomphe

A pretty park and a polar bear – you never know what you might find!

Lots of churches

Interesting architectural elements – the sagging beam!

Interesting little streets and grand plazas

Lessons in Adaptive Reuse – a church/abbey/cathedral until from the 5th C until 1792; then a wheat hall/trading hall/Chamber of Trade and Industry until 2008; now an arts centre and municipal library

Signs of Spring – more tourists and spring blossoms

The famous Dijon cat which goes with the owl