Around France

5 Years an Expat in France

5 Years an Expat in France…

Would you believe? It’s been five years since I started my expat adventure in France. After all this time, I’m as as excited as ever about being here. And not a bit trepidatious at what lies ahead.

Highlights: 5 Years an Expat in France

Feeling at home

My little apartment that’s up 55 steps in a tower across from the Duché in Uzes is just as charming as it was on first sight. I still love it. The fact that it is in the middle of all the activity in Uzés is still a plus.

Expat in France

I love leaning out my window when I hear horses’ hooves clomping around the Place de Duché. Sometimes it’s a horse-drawn cart and driver who take care of the potted flowers in the square. Sometimes it’s a coach filled with tourists visiting the town.

Expat in France

I will say, however, there’s a change in the works. Not a move from Uzés, but a bit of repositioning. A chance to get to know the town from a new perspective. Stay tuned…

Making friends

Living in France is a constant whirl of activities with lots of friends. Some friends are French; others are expats; and some are “regulars” or part time expats who return year after year.

Expat in France

Initially, it wasn’t easy to make friends. Especially since I didn’t speak a word of French. Now that I’ve been here for a while, I’m recognized by locals, in the kindest way, as the “American who still doesn’t speak French.”

Travel, travel and more travel

Living in the south of France has to be the best place ever to see the world. That’s probably not the truth, but it seems so. Coming from the US, where it can take 7 hours to travel from Beaufort, South Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia, it’s amazing how you can get from one country to another in so little time. Easy access to travel by train simplifies things, too.

Beginning the “Memories Tour”

A new adventure started in 2018 — the first of the “South of France Memories You Promised Yourself” tour with my great friend and best-selling author, Patricia Sands. We started a tradition of yearly women’s tours, organized by Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France, my partner in crime and tour planner extraordinaire from Sete. My first ever time tour leading may not have ended up as planned, but along the way I met sixteen new friends I will hold close and in my heart forever. Tour plans for 2019 are ready for you to join. Stay tuned …

Facing my fears

What could be more frightening than having a serious accident while in a “foreign country?” Happily I’m now acquainted with the French healthcare system. There could be no finer anywhere in the world.

Blogging

expat in FranceWhile I’m aghast how 5 years have flown by, I’m equally amazed I’m still writing and loving the Barefoot Blogger.

To tell you the truth, the “Barefoot Blogger” has taken on a life of her own. The person I write about now is an out-of-body extension of myself. As she fumbles her way through life and travels in and about France, it’s amazing she’s survived without more mishaps.

The best part about blogging is connecting with readers. Some visit Uzès and contact me to meet up. We’re like instant friends.

Loving France

Where can I possibly begin to express how much I’ve grown to love France. From early on I confessed I never imagined spending a lot of time in France, much less living here.

Life in Uzés over the past five years has been like living a dream. The longer I stay the more I’m attached to the rhythm of the town and its people. Coexisting with centuries-old architecture and ancient history has changed me.

Expat in France

Learning French

Surely you are weary hearing how I’ve struggled to learn French. Please don’t count how many times I’ve said: “I’m turning a new leaf. I’m taking French lessons.”

Not to disappoint, I have a new plan for in place for Expat Year #6. Stay tuned…

expat in France

35 replies »

  1. Are you from Beaufort, SC? My husband and I spend 3 months in sunny St. Petersburg,Fla but stop to visit friends in Beaufort, SC, who moved there from suburban Philadelphia about 5 years ago. They introduced us to the realtor and now friends who helped find their lovely home (Deb and Russ). I don’t recall the namee, but they ran an inn before going into real estate. Beaufort is a wonderful town!

    • I lived in Beaufort for 3 years before moving to France. I loved it! I’m afraid I don’t know your friends who are there but I agree, it is a great place to live. Especially the historic district. Almost like being here. Thanks so much for contacting me and following the blog. Stay in touch.

  2. I’m on a three month hiatus on the islands of Maui and Kauai ( no hardship here!) with plans to return to France in May. You completely capture the expat experience, Deb, in a most sincere, believable, and authentic fashion. I would imagine you must now be eligible for the coveted Resident’s card after applying for long term visas for 5 years in a row. Your tenacity has paid off!
    Best of luck with your new move…as one of your many followers I will be waiting for the next installment on your Blog. Et bonne chance avec tes leçons de français…l’immersion est la meilleure stratégie pour apprendre la belle langue!

    • Maui and Kauai, oh my! What a place to spend the winter. I really appreciate you’re kind words and, mostly, that you enjoy the blog. I write to remember. It’s all so very amazing. Let me know when you’re back. We’ll speak in French, I hope! Happy New Year.

    • Lol! I’m hoping that in 2019 I’ll surprise myself and everyone else and learn French. Thank you so much for your note and encouragement … and stay tuned…🌈

    • You can’t imagine how excited I am about visiting with you. It’s going to make my next life chapter in France totally different. And visiting Aix en Provence to boot. What could be better! See you soon….

  3. We love you and always look forward to hearing about your next adventure. You live our dream! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Thank you my friend. You have been a bright spot in 2018 for me. Can’t wait for our new adventures together this year. Keep writing those wonderful, hopeful stories for us all! Love ya!

    • I’m really ashamed of myself for not working harder to learn French. Or for giving up some of the things that have gotten in my way. But, you know, we chose our priorités, don’t we? For 3 years I choose to send 6 months each year in the US for the birth and early months of my only grandchildren. Other time has been spent traveling—which is why I moved to Europe in the first place. More time than you would imagine is spent writing, editing photography and promoting the blog. Along the way I’ve taken French lessons and spent hours in French conversation groups. Now I’ve been immersed in totally French environment —hospital and rehab hospitals for 10 weeks. I’m beginning to be less fearful to open my mouth and spout out what I think might be a bad version of French. If you’d like to stay tuned, I believe you’ll be pleased with what happens in the next month or so.

  4. Perfect timing for me to find your blog! I can’t wait to start following, as I will be retiring soon and want to visit as often as I can!

    • There are over 400 posts, starting from the time I discovered Uzés, to moving, to five years later. A lot has happened and I’m looking forward to the next chapter. Glad to have you along on the journey as you begin to start your own. Please stay in touch.

    • I’m just around the corner. I can still stop in for lunch. lol I will, however, miss leaning out the window to talk with you. Next chapter. Love you guys♥️

  5. Have loved following along on all of your adventures and, um, mishaps too. Lol. I lived abroad when I was younger, and miss it so. You remind me that it’s possible to do it again when the time is right (when my teen son is off on his own life adventures). Thank you for sharing your life with us all! Can’t wait to see what new perspectives you’ll be having.

    • Yes! You can! Thank you for following along with me. This new year is already starting out as a challenge, but that’s what makes it interesting. I’ll write it all down to share and hope it’s meaningful to someone in addition to myself when I’m in a nursing home. Just hope my vision is still good then to read! Happy New Year and thank you so much for your note.

  6. I have been following your adventures with great interest and admiration! In fact, you inspired me to write my blog. Hopefully, we’ll actually meet in France, one of these days.

    • June, I’m so flattered! Please let’s do plan to meet sometime. Just let me know when you’re nearby. Happy New Year!

    • Can you believe it? I’d much rather time fly this way than any other. Hopefully this year we’ll have a chance to run into each other. Good luck with your new book and Happy New Year!

  7. I am about to begin testing the waters of my drean, leaving tomorrow tor CDG then Oui to Nice with my best girl, Nanou, my small chihuahua. Although an older “woman of a certain age” than you, you are my inspiration. I look forward to new adventures, friends and Writing Until There’s Nothing Left To Say.

    May you enjoy a healthy, happy and funfilled 2019!

    Zoe Asher

    • Oh, Zoe, I’m so excited for you. I can imagine how you feel right now. You and Nanou are going to have a wonderful time. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to meet. Please stay in touch! Happy New Year and new life in France!

  8. Thanks for writing a positive blog about life in France. I spent the last 4 years living in Montpellier. Life in the south of France is simply wonderful. Thanks also for not writing “with a little work, Paris could be just like New York” or “they speak French and things are different!”.

    • I write from my heart about France and these adventures. I know I’m so fortunate and hope that the blog encourages others to act on their passions. Thank you so much for reading and for contacting me. I’m so glad you’re along for the ride. Stay tuned…

  9. Debby, you have done an amazing job of making the most of your experiences. You have landed in a wonderful place and have become part of the fabric. Also, your determination and positivity through your accident is to be admired. It sounds like you are “lucky” it happened in France. You are truly a lady of the world.

    • I’m so happy you’ve been here to see my new part of life. Looking forward to your next visit! Happy New Year and thank you so much for the note.

    • When will you be here? Be sure to check out Barefoot Uzès on FaceBook and feel free to ask anything you need to know about life here. Please let me know when you’ve landed. Happy New Year!

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