Living in a small village of 400 people in the south of France has its advantages and its disadvantages.
- everyone, and I mean everyone, knows your business
- your neighbors always know if you're home or not - no hiding!
- the épicerie owner knows if you have guests arriving by how many baguettes you buy on any given day
- very slow tractor traffic
- can feel like a ghost town in the winter when everyone is inside, shutters closed, huddled next to the fire
- don't expect to run a quick errand to la Poste on the other side of the village without having to stop and talk to at least three people - a normal, 10 minute trip will take at least 30 minutes, so plan accordingly
- the owner of the épicerie will let you take things home without paying because she knows where to find you
- your neighbor the winemaker will deliver a case of his excellent Muscat Sec or Viognier right to your door
- concerts at the church are a 30 second walk down the street
- your neighbors (who know that you suck at gardening and take pity on you ) will leave lettuce, eggplant, green beans, fava beans, zucchini, cherries, apricots and tomatoes hanging in bags from your front door
- the Poissonerie van on Thursday, the Poultry van on Wednesday, the Fruit and Vegetable van on Monday, the Pizza van Friday and Saturday nights
- the mailman will deliver mail addressed to "Aunt Jenny, Our Village, FRANCE" - they must figure since it came from America, it must belong to les Américains
- delivery drivers can pretty much ask anyone who we are and where to find our house
- you can always have a quick snack of figs, which grow everywhere
- your Mayor writes you a very nice, complimentary letter to the powers that be, in support of you becoming a French Citizen
Last time I was dealing with bureaucracy problems, I took Lemon Bars as a 'thank you' to the Mairie. I think this time some gooey, dark chocolate Brownies are in order.
Our Mayor deserves a giant Merci.
It's good to live in a small village.