It’s been 40 years with only one brief return visit, but I’m heading back to France next week for an extended stay.
In 1976, I spent the summer as an au pair looking after Thomas and Mathilde. In September, I headed to Toulouse where I found a place to live and enrolled at the Université de Toulouse-le Mirail.
Mum and a friend came to visit me and we travelled to Italy together. I dreamed of living in France permanently, but life had other plans for me.
In the back of my head, I always hoped that one day I could return to France for an extended stay. This year I took the plunge and will be spending six months in France and the United Kingdom. Here’s a brief overview of my plans:
Three-week holiday in Nice and Corsica with my family
One-week visit with a very good friend from Saskatoon in southwest France near Carcassonne
Three weeks in Le Cannet (near Cannes on the Mediterranean) looking after two cats
Two and a half weeks in Quillan (near Carcassonne so back in the area where I studied in 1976) – another cat
A quick one-week trip to the United Kingdom (I can only spend 90/180 days in France) – Doing what? Who knows!
Christmas in Tours (I passed through this area, admiring the fabulous châteaux, during Christmas holidays, 1976) – one cat
Three weeks in Poole, United Kingdom (my chance to delve deep into the British tradition of holidays at the seaside) – two more cats
Three weeks who knows where! It’s not yet booked.
Back to Tours for 10 days, a chance to visit more châteaux.
I’m tentatively booked to housesit and look after Charlie in Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales, in February/March for 5 weeks (I spent 2 ½ months here last winter). I'm looking forward to spring flowers and fields full of baby lambs.
And, finally, home on April 5. I think I’ll be very glad to spend some time in my own space by then. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on markets and bakeries, travel and adventure.
The majority of my housesitting arrangements are through Trusted Housesitters. I’ve been very happy with their website and the opportunities it offers.