November 6, 2011

Saying Au Revoir

Port en Bessin

I've been sitting here trying to think of either a philosophical way or a funny/witty way to begin this post and am failing miserably.
So I'm just going to say it: We're moving.

In a few weeks the title of this blog will no longer be "Chez Loulou - A Taste of Life in the South of France."


This has not been an easy decision. We have great friends here and a comfortable home. Yet as much as the Minervois is a wonderful, beautiful place to live, we are too isolated and I need access to a better job market.
It wasn't an issue for the first five years we were here, when I didn't have the right to work, but now it's a problem.

We've been exploring our options for a while now.

Last winter I was offered a job in Paris, but the timing and logistics of the move didn't work out. Then in the spring I was offered another job in Haute Normandie, but after visiting the area neither my husband nor I could imagine ourselves living there. We've considered Marseille, the Loire Valley and the Charente-Maritime. We've researched the coastal towns of the Languedoc and thought about Bordeaux or the coast near Biarritz.

Port en Bessin Huppain

Then last month, after doing months of homework, scouring maps, comparing costs, looking at weather patterns, and asking friends for advice, we decided to drive north and check out the Calvados department of Basse Normandie, somewhere between Honfleur and Mont Saint-Michel.

Well, we loved it.

Pink Hydrangeas

Coquilles Saint Jacques

So in mid December look for the new title - "Chez Loulou: A Taste of Life in Normandy."

Moving is often bittersweet, but I'm excited! The new scenery, the sea air, delicious seafood and cheeses, a cooler climate and a greener landscape.
(also, living closer to Paris is definitely a bonus!)

You didn't think we were leaving France, did you? Of course not!
We love living in France!
Also, we're not "leaving" the Languedoc, so to speak. In the future we will use our house here as our holiday home.

The best of both worlds, n'est-ce pas?

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Keith Eckstein -A Taste of Garlic said...

This is wonderful news (I think?) - you'll be so much nearer to beautiful (but slightly backward) Brittany!

All the best


P.S. They might be a funny lot, that lot up in Normandy but...

They do know how to make cheese!

P.P.S . Is there any truth in the rumour that's going round that the real reason for your moving to Normandy is that you've finally tasted every different cheese in the South of France and now need to venture further afield?

P.P.P.S. I do apologise for the length of that last sentence; no excuse for behaviour like that at all!

Suzanne in France said...

Welcome to Normandy! It would be great to meet you @NormandyBizGp or Normandy Jelly. A few of your Twitter friends are regulars! Good luck with the move. SuzanneinFrance

Katia said...

What WONDERFUL NEWS! SO SO SO EXCITED! I am thrilled for you both!

Nanette said...

Life is such an adventure at times!

I hope the transition is smooth and that you settle swiftly into your new life in the north of France xx

Betty Carlson said...

This post brought tears to my eyes as I thought of the places we've been together (Albi, Rodez, Béziers, Narbonne, Fontfroide (sp.)...and of course Gages, Olonzac and Cesseras! I also think of the places I would have liked to go with you: Toulouse, Montpellier, Collioure, to see Kate in the Gers...

Whether we will be able to meet up before "the big move" is seeming more and more uncertain as things get busier, but as Thierry just said, "Oh, we can go up to Honfleur, it's beautiful!"

I'm wishing you the best on all of these changes, and will keep in close touch.

Ellie said...

Oh that sounds really exciting!!!
I'm looking forward to learning about somewhere new from you.
Good luck with your move.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I'm happy to read about your new adventure and look forward to stories about your new home. I hope your transition goes well, Mimi.

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited for you - a move is always a wonderful scary thing. Just ask me I've lived in 5 different European countries. The Atlantic coast is one of my favourite parts of France. I stand a better chance of getting there than the South. Maybe one day we WILL meet up.

Happy new home.

melinda said...

sounds great......i love all the food in Normandy and look forward to your posts from there.....have you house hunted yet??

georgiegirl said...

lansesGreat news. Normandie is in my plan to visit this summer. Hope to learn more from you about this region.

georgiegirl said...

sorry about the 6 alphabets preceding my sentence

MilkJam said...

wooo-hooo! so excited! :)

Alison said...

How exciting! Yay!

Rachel said...

Welcome in advance! I am at technically also 'between Calvados and Mont St Michel' I am sure you will love ot up here...and let me know if you every want a hand with anything.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! What exciting news - I'm so glad you'll be closer to Paris now!

Jennifer said...

Yes, it is good news! :)
Might have to get to Brittany one of these days, since we'll be so close and all. I hear you Bretons are a funny lot as well. :)
And that cheese rumor might be true...

Thanks for the warm welcome and the invitation! Much appreciated! I'll try to stop by and meet you after we get settled.

Merci sweetie! I'm feeling very positive and hope it all goes smoothly. Now I just need to find a job up there!
Can't wait to be able to pop into Paris to see you or you can jump on a train and come visit us. We'll only be 2 hours away.

Jennifer said...

Yes, life can be quite the adventure! I'm still sorry that we weren't able to meet up the last time you were here. One day, if you get to the north, or to Paris, you'll have to let me know and I'll make sure we have the chance to see each other face to face!
Thanks for the well wishes.

I know! As I said, it is bittersweet...
There's a lot to look forward to, yet I hate to say goodbye to friends.
We'll just have to make an effort to see each other when you come to Paris. Or you two could come up! Honfleur is beautiful.

Thank you for your support and kind words!

Jennifer said...

Cathy (Mimi?)
Merci! I'm sure there will be many stories! :)

Moving is always full of emotion, good and apprehensive. I'm embracing this one!
Let me know if you're ever in the neighborhood.

We've been looking at homes but have decided to rent a furnished holiday rental for a few months this winter to give us time to get settled. The food in Normandy - what's not to love!

Jennifer said...

Have you ever been before? I once spent a few days in Normandy in the was gorgeous!
Hope I can be of some help and hope you have a great trip. Let me know what your plans are!

No worries about the 6 letters. :)

Moi aussi!
Again, I appreciate all of your help. You have been brilliant! Plan on getting an invite for lunch or dinner in the near future.

It is exciting! We almost ended up in the Charente, as you know, but found Normandy to really suit us. Hope to meet up with you one of these days...

Veronica said...

Oh my goodness! Sorry to see you go, but it sounds as if you've found a place you love. And you can't fault the decision on the butter, cream, and of course cheese level. We need to meet up before you go.

PS there's a new cheese shop in Lézignan -- I thought of you when I passed it :)

Jennifer said...

Thank you in advance. :) I just might take you up on that one of these days!

Me too! Only 2 hours away!
You two are welcome to come and visit any time! No Minervois wine, but Calvados and Pommeau...

Jennifer said...

Merci my dear. We're very happy with our decision and I would love to meet up before we go!
Do you ever get to Normandy?
I knew about the Fromagerie in Lézignan as I almost applied to work there! Sadly the position was only 20 hours a week, so not enough.
Have you been in yet?

Texas saraH said...

What wonderful news! Normandy is gorgeous, and it would be my first choice of places to live in France outside of Paris. Good luck with the move and can't wait for the new adventure to commence!

The Beaver said...


Was thinking of you whilst I was watching the floods in the South. Don't know whether you are affected.
Very happy to read about this wonderful move. All the best in Basse Normandie -who knows may be in another five years you will make the move to Paris-where there is a will there is a way .
Bonne chance in your new endeavours

Michel said...

Good luck with your new adventure. You will have a great time exploring a new part of France and finding new cheeses. I look forward to your posts.

Diane said...

Wish you all the very best in your move. Having just done it ourselves I know how stressful it is but much easier if you are still keeping the second home. Take care. Diane

Jennifer said...

Thanks! Nice to get other opinions about Normandy, as we have some friends here who think we're crazy to move north.
Love your place in Austin! I'm totally envious of your huge fridge and kitchen. :)

Thankfully we have not been affected by the flooding, just have had lots of rain. The worst weather was to the east of us.
Yes, maybe Paris in 5 years... (fingers crossed!)

Thanks! I'll happily report on all the new fromages I find up in the north.
Also, if you find anything new here in the south, please let me know.

Yes, moving is always stressful. Hopefully it will go smoothly. Hope you're settling in nicely to your place in the Charente.

Sandy said...

wow! sounds like an exciting new adventure...and I will look forward to seeing this area in your blog! =)

Unknown said...

What great news! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Wow I am impressed! That you can move from one spot to another one...such a luxury! I am sure you will love Normandy countryside as much as the South! Good luck with the packing, moving ( I hate that). Did you find a place in Normandy already?
So exiting!
Bisous Celine

Caroline said...

Congrats !! We've been hunting around in the countryside a bit too, though not for toute de suite.

I think I remember something about you coming to Paris soon ? would love to meet !

paris (im)perfect said...

Sounds very exciting! I hope the move goes smoothly and that it is the beginning of a wonderful new chapter. I'm also glad you'll be closer to Paris!

Unknown said...

SUCH exciting news!! A new adventure for sure.

Lisa Gordon said...

Definitely the best of both worlds, and how very exciting! Congratulations, and I look forward to "seeing" you in Normandy!
Have a great start to your week!

Jean said...

Good luck with the move - I hope you adapt to the cooler, wetter climate in Normandy !!

Mardi Michels said...

Sounds like a pretty awesme choice to me :) Congrats and I cannot WAIT to follow your new adventures!

will said...

Wonderful! You're just adding to your magnificent adventure. Plus, the Calvados region has some amazing cheeses.

wcs said...

Congratulations! Hope everything goes smoothly for you! I'm sure you'll enjoy settling in and exploring a new region.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Just thinking about it makes me want to move up there, near the coast, for the fish markets. Not to mention the cheeses. As for the weather, as they say, it's a matter of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it won't matter.

Nancy said...

So happy for you! Yes, the best of both worlds to be sure.

Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting, Loulou. I've missed you -- and I'm glad you reconnected with me. :)

Holly Bruns said...

Hooray for France. I'm glad you'll still be posting from France. I do so love living vicariously through your blog!

misterrios said...

Congrats! You had me on the edge of my seat there for a while. Looking forward to posts from the north

Sharon T said...

How wonderful! Congratulations and best of luck in your future endeavors! I look forward to learning much more about Normandy :)

Jennifer said...

Thanks! It is exciting!


We have rented a gîte for the winter so not too much packing to do. Thankfully!
Thanks for the good wishes!

Jennifer said...

Yes, coming to Paris in a couple of weeks to meet up with my mom. Her first visit to France!
I would love to meet you too, but I'm afraid it will have to wait until the next time I'm there. I'll let you know when that will be...hopefully not to far in the future since we'll be living so close. :)

Thanks so much for your good wishes! Looking forward to meeting you one of these days. We'll have to arrange something!

Yes, it really is a new adventure. I'm so excited!

Laurenlovesfrance said...

Whew! Just for a moment there I thought you might leave "home"... with the economic crisis looming, these are scary times! I'm so happy for you! Sounds wonderful - weather more like Seattle - closer to Paris... my favorite place! I have felt soooooo homesick for France lately... Glad that you'll be keeping the house in Southwest - good decision! I wish you an easy move and look forward to hearing about your new home!

Happy days girl!


Jennifer said...

Thank you. :) I know I'll have lots of photos to share!

Merci! The weather is definitely going to be a huge change. One that I have to admit I'm looking forward to!

Thanks for the congrats. We think we've made a great choice! :)

Jennifer said...

We certainly are adding to our adventures! It is going to be a delicious one.

We are excited to settle in and explore a new region of France. Thanks for the good wishes, Walt.

:) We loved the seafood!
As far as the weather goes, we plan to adopt the "we don't mind" attitude.

Jennifer said...

I stop by your blog at least once a week, just haven't commented much lately. Your photos are always an inspiration!

I can't imagine leaving France. Glad you like reading about it too. :)

There will be many posts to look forward to! Merci.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the kind wishes. They are appreciated!

I can't imagine leaving our adopted home!
Many people have wonderful things to say about Normandy - other than the weather - but I lived in Seattle for 12 years and I hear it is just like that.
Thanks for nice comment!

Quebec Cheesehound said...

When is D(eparture) Day?

Quebec Cheesehound

carina said...

Woohoo! Guess my Gods were talking to your Gods and there was a whole lot of listening going on! A wide welcome to this end of the Francophilia!

Diane said...

I love Normandy! And you'll be closer to Susan Hermann Loomis' cooking school, "Rue Tatin".

I'm not sure if you've read her book, "On Rue Tatin" it makes me want to move in next door to her.

Alissa said...

Wow, such big news! I know I don't comment much (if ever) but I continue to really enjoy your blog.

Looking forward to the new chapter!

leon's life said...

All the best in this important life move. I personally think you totaly mad, I love the area you come from (my beau parents live in Pusseiguier) But do understand as we have lived in Paris for nearly 20 years mainly for work opportunities and I dream of retiring to ths south one distant day.

Will look forward to hearing about your future adventures. What sort of work are you looking for ?

Amanda said...

The first thing I thought about was the weather too. It is a beautiful region and it will be fun for us to look at your new surroundings.

Jennifer said...

Quebec Cheesehound
Departure day is December 15.

Thanks so much for the warm welcome to your part of France. Can't wait to get more acquainted with Normandy and with you!

Another Normandy fan! I never realized there were so many. :)

Yes, I know the book and I know the house. We drove by it once when we were in Louviers many years ago. Beautiful place!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for commenting this time and thanks for your kind words. I appreciate it!

You're not the only one who thinks we're crazy for moving from the south to the north. We don't think we are, so I guess that's the most important thing. :)
Looking for another position in tourism or hotel reception/concierge

It gets so cold here in the south that we're prepared for that. Scarves, hats, gloves, boots, etc.
What we really need are some more sturdy umbrellas.
But we won't be sweltering in the summers and for that I am so happy!

Ken Broadhurst said...

So many people think Walt and I were crazy to leave "sunny" California (San Francisco) to move the the rainy and rural Loire Valley. Oh well. People will think what they think. I love Normandy and lived there for a year way back when.

Ann said...

I can't wait to read about your new Norman adventures!!! Congratulations on your new home!

Andi said...

Congrats my dear, you are moving to one of my favorite spots, I love Normandie! I cannot wait to follow your new adventures!

angiemanzi said...

I am so happy for you and for myself. Normandy, and especially the region to which you are moving is my favorite place on the planet. I have visited the region twice and I fell madly in love with it. I will be looking forward to your posts. Best of luck with your move.

Jennifer said...

We hope we'll love it. If it is like Seattle, which I hear it is, then we'll be happy.

Thank you! I'm sorry I won't be here to welcome you to cassoulet country, but am happy I'll have to chance to meet up more often in Paris.

The next time you head in that direction, please let me know. It seems like you are a frequent visitor to Normandy/Brittany.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for such a kind comment! They'll be many stories and photos to share in the months ahead.

Katie Zeller said...

A new adventure - how exciting! Good idea to rent first - although we've never done it that way LOL
~Good luck and have fun!

corine said...

I'm totally excited for you: new adventures, new pictures! My husband proposed to me in Honfleur and the whole are holds a special place in my heart.

Jennifer said...

We rented before we came here...for 2 weeks! :)
Thanks for the good luck wishes.

What a wonderful memory to have of Honfleur!
We're excited too - a whole new region to discover.

Mme Stroud said...

Good luck with your move!

Jennifer said...

Thank you! We're really getting excited now.