Saturday, 6 October 2012
Act II - France
Scene opens with Brad and Cassie clutching a baguette and sporting berets...okay, actually clutching a French phrase book and sporting a Kitzbühel and (free!) BMC ball hats respectively.
We have landed in France. Southern France.
Because if you're going to 'live' somewhere else for a few months, why not choose somewhere warm for the Fall?
On our first trip to France in 2006, we visited and loved the nearby city of Montpellier. Enter the Internet and numerous searches for apartments and links and voila - we found this place in a town we weren't too sure how to pronounce (FYI it's Oo-zess). It sounded like a good fit though - not so big that it wouldn't feel 'French' enough, nor too small that no one would speak English. A bit of a leap of faith, yes - but eased when relaying the location to Cassie's co-worker who'd visited here a few times and loved the place (merci Ben!). And it has proven to be everything we'd heard and read about.
We don't have a car for the full duration of the stay, but are close to two larger towns for renting when we need one. There is a great regional bus system here too - all trips are €1.50 - whether it's 10 minutes out of town or an hour to Avignon. The system also runs the school service, so depending on the bus time you choose, it could be packed with twelve yr-olds. And with the thought of contracted out school buses and middle school kids, it's getting WAY too close to work thoughts for both of us....must....banish!
So....here's a little peak into the place we've rented while we're trying to pretend we're French. The town of Uzès is quite small, so no house/hotel/apartment is too far out. Our apartment is on the second floor of a small building and located only two small blocks from the main square, Place aux Herbs.
Here's a shot of one side of our living room. As you can see, we've parked our usual mode of transportation inside the apartment. Brad's is the one on the left, ha ha.
We found a great place to rent bikes from for the duration of our stay. And best of all? The owner is from Britain and was able to get us set up with bikes without us having to slaughter any more of the French language.
Brad picks out a nice road bike to explore the hills and valleys of the surrounding area with and, eventually, to ride one of the Tour de France epic mountains, Mont Ventoux. Cassie's has panniers. For epic rides to the local Intermarché.
Here's the other side of the living room. It's definitely decorated in classic French style (but I guess when you're here, it's just classic style). Big comfy chairs and a large bookshelf with books (mostly in English!). To get in the mood, Cassie's already read Chocolat.
Moving along into the kitchen - complete with chef!
Fortunately a good sized fridge, which we were surprised at. And we're used to the gas cook-top, although the gas here burns HOT. As in, we're able to boil water on the small element setting in a few minutes (and also burn soup....).
And he's best part of the place....the deck!
It's right off the kitchen, so we eat out here most meals. And because the apartment building is located on the peripheral road, it's right on the edge, literally. The view is unobstructed as the surrounding houses and yards drop away down the hill.
Ahhh....could get used to this....