June 8, 2014. Impressions from France.

Today we start week two in our house in St. Leon-sur-Vezere. The week has passed by quickly. We have been settling into our house trying to get used to the way of French country life as perceived by two Hoosiers. As an update to last week’s blog, our allergies are better. We are both on French over the counter drugs. We like the French pharmacies. Our allergy medicine costs us about $5 a week. Rita says at CVS the medicine would run us $25. We are still learning new French words not learned in French class. This week we learned: la tapette a mouches which is flyswatter, because we had to buy one for the house since we have no screens and the doors and windows are open much of the time; le brouillard, which is fog because the mornings are foggy; and une coupe, la couleur and les meches because Rita needed a cut, color and highlights this week.

We are trying to get into the French way of life, but we have suffered some setbacks. Last Sunday, we did things around the house in the morning. Then, we got dressed up and went to the grocery store. Unfortunately, we arrived at 2:30 PM and the grocery store closes on Sunday at 12:30 PM! We also have to get used to buying our bread each day. The bread, called baguettes, is baked daily and available for purchase at the boulanger, the bakery, before 8:00 AM. If we don’t go to the boulanger by noon, we don’t get fresh bread because they run out. Then, there is the boucherie, or butcher shop, where the meats are cut and sold fresh daily. They close in the afternoon and are only open a few hours in the morning and again a few hours in the evening. Finally, if you want fresh fruit, le fruit in French, or fresh vegetables, les legumes in French, you don’t buy them at the grocery store, you buy them at the fresh market which is held one or two days a week in the villages.

This week we bought some really fresh eggs, see photo of feather in egg carton. We visited Perigeaux and saw the beautiful byzantine cathedral Saint-Front see photo. Perigeaux is about 45 minutes from us and has a population of 30,000. It also has a medieval section with many restaurants and timbered houses. In our village, we there was a la petanque tournament. There must have been 100 people in our village of 400 who came to play. La petanque is also called boules and is similar to bowling. See photos.

Our nearest village of any size is Montignac. We went to the fresh market in Montignac yesterday to buy strawberries. Dordogne is the strawberry capital of France, cherries and raspberries. Then, we ate pizza for lunch at an outdoor café riverside along the Vezere River. The riverfront is well maintained and beautiful. We took another canoe ride on the river. This one did not end well either. I guess I shouldn’t let Rita steer the canoe. See photos.

One day we drove to Hautforte, France to see the Chateau Hautforte. We only toured the perimeter of the Chateau and took photos which we have or will post as soon as Rita gets around to it ( J K). But, it was impressive. It was first occupied in the year 1000! One of the owners was Baron Henry de Bastard. What was his parents thinking??!!

Another day, I was homesick for an American hamburger so we stopped at Le Tourny, a small café in Montignac so I could satisfy my homesickness. See photo of my burger. It came with a cooked egg on top. Actually, it was pretty tasty! And, of course the French fries, called frites, are always excellent. Watch out McDonald’s!

While we are out driving around, we try to visit some of those one hundred most beautiful French villages so we can cross them off our bucket list. This week we visited St. Amand-de-Coly. (Damn, I get tired of typing village names with hyphens.) It is dominated by a Romanesque fortified church which you can see in our photos. The walls of the church are 12 feet thick.

Next, we continue to be baffled by the French supermarket where we go for all of our entertainment. They don’t have self scan lines. They don’t have cash only lines. They don’t have “less than 10 item” lines. You also bag your own groceries and, if you want to be truly French, you don’t get your money out to pay until all of your groceries are bagged and put in your “caddie or chariot” French for grocery cart. Of course, all of this contributes to long lines at the checkout. It is so funny to watch people stand in line and observe all of this. It shocks us that it is not more efficient, but “c’est la vie.”

Finally, I have placed in our photos an aerial view of our village. The Chateau and Church stand out as landmarks in the photos. Our house is right next door to the Chateau, but it is not in the photo sorry. No we did not take the photo from a hot air balloon, but we wish we had. It is a photo of a photo on the wall at the town hall or Marie in French.

Next week, we take our first French cooking lesson. We hope to blog on French cooking next week.

We have re-read our blog above. I thought it was from Green Acres and Rita thought it might be from the Beverly Hillbillies. What do you think?

Impressions from  St. Leon sur Vezere, Haute-Fort  and Montignac!

 

 

Aerial view of St. Leon-sur-Vezere with our next door neighbor's Castle and our landlord's Castle.

Aerial view of St. Leon-sur-Vezere with our next door neighbor’s Castle and our landlord’s Castle.

Hamburger is hiding under the egg! It is on a bun with all the trimmings. Only the egg was unexpected.

Hamburger is hiding under the egg! It is on a bun with all the trimmings. Only the egg was unexpected.

Rita is no longer in charge of steering the canoe!

Rita is no longer in charge of steering the canoe!

Petanque tournament in St. Leon-sur-Vezere.

Petanque tournament in St. Leon-sur-Vezere.

Perigeaux's Cathedral Saint-Front. Byzantine architecture.

Perigeaux’s Cathedral Saint-Front. Byzantine architecture.

See feather in egg carton? Those are really fresh eggs!

See feather in egg carton? Those are really fresh eggs!

This would be considered a modern front door here in Montignac! We like them all!

This would be considered a modern front door here in Montignac! We like them all!

We liked this home because it was a corner lot.

We liked this home because it was a corner lot.

Here is a typical front door in Montignac.

Here is a typical front door in Montignac.

Had lunch on the river bank in Montignac.

Had lunch on the river bank in Montignac.

Just a little street we walked by in Montignac.

Just a little street we walked by in Montignac.

Saint Amand-De-Coly

Saint Amand-De-Coly

Haute Fort

Haute Fort

 

View of a few of the resaurants in Montignac.

View of a few of the restaurants in Montignac.

 

 

Our first view of the Eiffel Tower!

Our first view of the Eiffel Tower!

Our favorite lady, Notre Dame. I visit is not complete without paying a visit to Notre Dame..

Our favorite lady, Notre Dame. A visit is not complete without paying a visit to Notre Dame..

View from our hotel on Rue de Seine.

View from our hotel on Rue de Seine.

Les Deux Magot Cafe. Yes, it is called the two magots. No visit to Paris is complete without having an aperitif or two here on the left bank.

Les Deux Magot Cafe. Yes, it is called the two magots. No visit to Paris is complete without having an aperitif or two here on the left bank.

Our wonderful French family going back to 1968. Dominique, Alain, Aude, Yann and me.

Our wonderful French family going back to 1968. Dominique, Alain, Aude, Yann and me.

Same group, without Dominique, but with Rita.

Same group, without Dominique, but with Rita.

We drove to the French Riviera, St. Raphael to check out a house to rent. We stayed at this hotel on the beach.

We drove to the French Riviera, St. Raphael to check out a house to rent. We stayed at this hotel on the beach.

A rare sand beach on the French Riviera at St. Raphael.

A rare sand beach on the French Riviera at St. Raphael.

This is the main square at Sarlat la Caneda.

This is the main square at Sarlat la Caneda.

A timbered building in the old town of Sarlat.

A timbered building in the old town of Sarlat.

A quaint street scene in Sarlat.

A quaint street scene in Sarlat.

Market days are Saturday and Wednesday in Sarlat. This is an artisan bread maker. We eat lots of fresh bread and none of it is Wonder Bread!

Market days are Saturday and Wednesday in Sarlat. This is an artisan bread maker. We eat lots of fresh bread and none of it is Wonder Bread!

You want fresh fish? This is the place. The market in Sarlat. Just cut the heads off before you cook!!

You want fresh fish? This is the place. The market in Sarlat. Just cut the heads off before you cook!!

How about fresh produce? There is plenty to go around in Sarlat market.

How about fresh produce? There is plenty to go around in Sarlat market.

Rita loves potatoes and white asparagus is in season!

Rita loves potatoes and white asparagus is in season!

In addition to food, the Sarlat market has other vendors. In this photo, the vendor is selling umbrellas.

In addition to food, the Sarlat market has other vendors. In this photo, the vendor is selling umbrellas.

We did a weekend in Brittany after Sarlat. This is the beach at La Baule. Notice the nice sand!

We did a weekend in Brittany after Sarlat. This is the beach at La Baule. Notice the nice sand!

Evening was coming rapidly when we snapped this photo on the beach at La Baule.

Evening was coming rapidly when we snapped this photo on the beach at La Baule.

A photo of our hotel in Dinard on the North Coast of Brittany. Our Megane is the first car you see in front of the hotel.

A photo of our hotel in Dinard on the North Coast of Brittany. Our Megane is the first car you see in front of the hotel.

The beach at Dinard. Notice the low tide and wide sandy beach.

The beach at Dinard. Notice the low tide and wide sandy beach.

A photo of our hotel in Dinard on the North Coast of Brittany. Our Megane is the first car you see in front of the hotel.

A photo of our hotel in Dinard on the North Coast of Brittany. Our Megane is the first car you see in front of the hotel.

No trip to Brittany/Normandy is complete without paying a visit to Mont St. Michel. It is incroyable.

No trip to Brittany/Normandy is complete without paying a visit to Mont St. Michel. It is incroyable.

We had lunch at La Mere Poulard a famous omelette restaurant in Mont St. Michel.

We had lunch at La Mere Poulard a famous omelette restaurant in Mont St. Michel.

We spent the first day of Rita's birthday at this hotel in Brantome in Dordogne. A great location.

We spent the first day of Rita’s birthday at this hotel in Brantome in Dordogne. A great location.

This is one of the modern showers we blogged about. It has two rain shower heads and jet sprays on the sides. It also has a sign about saving the world by not laundering towels each day!!

This is one of the modern showers we blogged about. It has two rain shower heads and jet sprays on the sides. It also has a sign about saving the world by not laundering towels each day!!

Modern, or Contemporary Vanity, with towel warmer for those cool mornings.

Modern, or Contemporary Vanity, with towel warmer for those cool mornings.

A great chocolate dessert for Rita's Birthday.

A great chocolate dessert for Rita’s Birthday.

Dordogne is known for Foie Gras. Foie Gras is goose liver. It is really good. Yes, I know there is an ethical question about the forced feeding of geese. But, when in France it is hard not to partake.

Dordogne is known for Foie Gras. Foie Gras is goose liver. It is really good. Yes, I know there is an ethical question about the forced feeding of geese. But, when in France it is hard not to partake.

Rita and I tried canoeing one day. It did not end well!

Rita and I tried canoeing one day. It did not end well!

This is a privately owned Chateau (Castle) we ran across in Dordogne.

This is a privately owned Chateau (Castle) we ran across in Dordogne.

This is a pizza place in Sarlat with live music where we had dinner one night.

This is a pizza place in Sarlat with live music where we had dinner one night.

This is Rita in Sarlat buying produce in the market for the first day in our house. She used a lot of pointing.

This is Rita in Sarlat buying produce in the market for the first day in our house. She used a lot of pointing.

To the left of our car is a limestone cave that our hotel was using as a parking garage! We didn't go into the cave. We were afraid there may be troglodytes in it!

To the left of our car is a limestone cave that our hotel was using as a parking garage! We didn’t go into the cave. We were afraid there may be troglodytes in it!

The first view of our house in St. Leon sur Vezere for the next 9 weeks. Rita did well. So far, so good.

The first view of our house in St. Leon sur Vezere for the next 9 weeks. Rita did well. So far, so good.

This is the main house. It has four bedrooms and 4 baths You are welcome to come visit us.

This is the main house. It has four bedrooms and 4 baths You are welcome to come visit us.

Photo of main house with pool, covered of course.

Photo of main house with pool, covered of course.

Photo of living room.

Photo of living room.

Photo of kitchen with Chef.

Photo of kitchen with Chef.

Photo of master bedroom. No screens or air conditioning. You have to make choices. It does have a heated pool.

Photo of master bedroom. No screens or air conditioning. You have to make choices. It does have a heated pool.

Photo of master bath.

Photo of master bath.

This photo shows the name of our house and our nearest neighbors in the background.

This photo shows the name of our house and our nearest neighbors in the background.

This photo is of our landlord's gatehouse which is located right next door.

This photo is of our landlord’s gatehouse which is located right next door.

Photograph of a home in St. Leon sur Vezere.

Photograph of a home in St. Leon sur Vezere.

We are in Maison de Clerans. This is Chateau de Clerans, the Castle which is owned by our landlord and located right next door to us!

We are in Maison de Clerans. This is Chateau de Clerans, the Castle which is owned by our landlord and located right next door to us!

This truck is parked inside a home at St.Leon sur Vezere where it is being used to rehab an existing home.

This truck is parked inside a home at St.Leon sur Vezere where it is being used to rehab an existing home.

This is a photo of our delicatessen. It is just one of 4 restaurants in St. Leon sur Vezere.

This is a photo of our delicatessen. It is just one of 4 restaurants in St. Leon sur Vezere.

7 thoughts on “June 8, 2014. Impressions from France.

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  3. I have heard that if you put pennies in plastic ziplock bags with some water it will keep the flies away. I don’t suppose you have any pennies or bags with you to test this idea. When I stayed with Domnique we did all of the shopping things you are doing. Fortunately she knew what she was doing and I didn’t have to doing anything but go along for the ride and enjoy the experience. Have a great time and enjoy your cooking classes.

    Like

  4. Love, Love, Love, Love, Love…..our exchange student Joerdis, from East Germany departed on Thursday to go home after almost a year with us.
    We are very hopeful to be visiting Rome, Florence and Italty next May/June – Joerdis family may meet us there.
    Lauren is in Ireland, she left last Wednesday. She will finish in London for her last 2 days and arrive home next Saturday, June 14
    Holle, Linda’s daughter will be in Rome, in Vatican City on Friday, June 13th to celebrate her 18th Birthday. I am feeling pretty confident that she will meet Pope Francis (we’ll see).
    Joerdis will be back in August for Liz (Leisa’s daughters) wedding. We miss her already and await her return.
    I believe that I will have many journeys in the next 10 years to Europe and will be using your tips, love the blogs and pictures….keep posting!!
    Love to you both.
    Mary Didier

    Like

    • Mary, (D) Why can’t you come and visit this year, while we are here! We will be in Italy in August and September! I’ve been seeing a lot of you and Tom on FB! Looking like a party animal couple, now that you are going to be empty nesters! You must be getting ready for that transition! Love you guys! Rita and Norm

      Like

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