Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Simple Life in France

The Seine, Paris at 10:00 PM
     In the event that you're a blog follower of Sailing Simple Life you may have noticed that we haven't updated our blog in a few months. The reason? We had an opportunity to spend the month of July in France. This may disappoint some in that we didn't sail there given that it was much more efficient to hop a plane from Boston to Paris where we spent a few days before traveling south spending July exploring the Charente and Dordogne regions.


   
The orchard in the side yard overlooking the sunflower field.
photo by Joe Boulay


     Sailing across the Atlantic to France wasn't an option and after traveling aboard Simple Life for months in "slo mo" it seemed almost miraculous flying across an ocean and arriving thousands of miles away within a matter of hours. On a given day while traveling aboard Simple Life we are typically underway for seven or eight hours while covering only 50 miles!

   






Michele with a baguette at the Marche in Aubeterre.
Photo by Joe Boulay
      Last January after several weeks of persistent, strong easterly winds resulting in zero opportunities for Gulf Stream crossings we holed up at anchor in South Beach, Miami. Tough life right? Actually, it was pleasant, but while lying at anchor (not in a marina with any facilities) for weeks waiting for a favorable weather window I longed for a month or so ashore. I was growing weary after a few false starts across the Stream. It was during our layover that I finalized plans for Simple Life's French connection.
Aubeterre a medieval village in the Charente region.
Photo by Joe Boulay

   


Michele & Porgey enjoying the warm evening at the house.
Photo by Joe Boulay
     The simple life in France was à la bonne heure. The historic country home we lived in was akin to living life on French film set. Visualize a French country kitchen with exterior provincial blue shutters shielding the midday sun. An aloof pure white country cat. Geraniums blooming in every window box. A menagerie of copper pots hanging over the red tilled back splashed stove. Floor to ceiling windows cranked open sans screens filling the rooms with warmth and sunshine and a few bugs.

Flowers and vines adorned the exterior of the house.
Photo by Joe Boulay




















Evenings by the pool with wine & fromage.
      Back yard views of undulating hills of sunflowers and freshly baled hay, c'est magnifique! I must admit that five years of French in high school and college (I'm certainly not fluent in French) were helpful, but did little to prepare me for actually speaking French in the countryside. I've included a number of photos in this blog from France even though we were land trekkers and not technically living the simple life abroad.

   
Bee on a sunflower
by Joe Boulay



      Living aboard the Simple Life consumes most of our year and believe it or not occasionally there are times when we long for shore leave. Not for long periods of time mind you, just something to whet the pallet offering an hors d'oeuvre if you will of life ashore. A block of time when we don't always have to be so connected and concerned with wind, weather and whether or not our neighbor's home might drag into ours during an unexpected nighttime storm.
Joe loves cheese

   


Cheese vendor at the Aubeterre march.
Photo by Joe Boulay
     Our French hiatus was splendid, better than expected. A life unexpected. We had no preconceived expectations! We knew little of where we were staying. Everything including a trip to the InterMarche (the local market) was a new adventure. That was how we lived our simple life in France.


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