I thought today we could all have a wander around our small French village, but first a bit of history as to how and why we found ourselves living here. I was born in London and lived in the suburbs, not far from Heathrow airport, until we moved to leafy Surrey when I was four. Just after Ade and I got married we moved to Reading, a large university town that is on the M4 motorway heading to the west country, with fast rail links to London (my daily commute for many years) and where everything you would expect from big town life was on our doorstep. When Ed was almost four we swapped UK town life for French village life and have now spent almost 11 years in a rural community of just under four hundred people. A big difference to life in Reading.
|At the village boulangerie|
|The village library|
We don’t live somewhere that has stunning views, a beach or even a meandering river. We are not a perched Provançal hilltop village or home to an ornate Romanesque church, but what it lacks in character it more than makes up for in community spirit. We do have a church, a salle des fêtes (village function hall), a park, a petanque court, a boulangerie, a hairdresser and a library and almost every month there is an event going on; communal meals, games nights, treasure hunts, picnics, walks, plant swaps, a vide grenier (car boot/yard sale) and a Christmas party to name just a few.
|The petanque court|
|A communal meal in the park|
Living in a small community that has been friendly and seems to welcome the input of their funny English neighbours has really helped me feel that I belong and sometimes I feel like I was just waiting to arrive here. With our lifestyle change, from both working to just Ade working part time, we have been able to spend much more time together as a family and I think our 14 year old has enjoyed more freedom and independence here than we would have given him in Reading. From a very young age (about six) he has been allowed to walk alone to the boulangerie that is on the same road we live on. He was still in primary school when he started walking home from the bus stop alone and now he is in college (secondary school) I haven’t seen the school bus for years. He regularly walks the dog (without us) along the many tracks through the farmland surrounding the village and he has recently started doing 20 km bike rides in the local area, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone. I hope that when he is older he will appreciate the freedom and outdoor space our quirky lifestyle has given him.
Here some other pictures taken around the village.
|The Old School House|
|Village Lavoir (old wash house)|
I’m delighted to be linking this post to Seychelles Mama’s My Expat Family blog link today and you can read more from other families all over the world by clicking the link below. What is special about the place you call home?