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From the moment I shared that we are moving to the country side, the reactions from family and friends ranged from "congratulations, how wonderful!", through bewilderment ("but you are not a country person"), dread, utter surprise, to "at your age?" (hmmm...what age is good, meaning "appropriate", to change your life?)

And now that we are here, I am asked - how do you fill your days? "but there is nothing going on there!" and "where do you go shopping?". What on earth can you be doing all day???

Branches from our magnolia tree on the salon mantle

I have never been worried about finding things to do. They always seemed to find me! Many women can relate, right? Especially when your life is full of projects, you have a house to renovate, and a garden to tend to. "Doing" has dominated our days since the beginning.

But - after a few weeks here, seemingly imperceptibly, our life became more about "being". Slowly a shift occurred - we became more focused on what's around us. Life became less about rushing ahead, cramming as many things into a day as possible, "stealing" moments of quietude when they should have been just taken.

In a life when the hours of the days are quieter, we have more opportunities to just "be". So even if for the outside world there may not be much going on here, there is plenty that can be enjoyed.

I admit that if I were faced with moving to a small village in the country when I was younger, I would have considered it some kind of punishment. But ever since moving to France , experiencing life in a very touristy, crowded, big city for a few years, the desire to live a quieter, cleaner, slower paced life grew. Spending the pandemic and numerous lock downs in a city apartment enforced this idea.

So when I finally found a new life in this village I sighed with relief. The first night we spent here I asked Jim "do you hear that?", to which he replied "what? I don't hear anything". "Exactly!". The silence in the night, the inky blackness of it (the street lights are turned off at 10 pm). The hours of the day measured by the chiming bells of the "mairie" (town hall). The church across the streets sounds its big bells three times a day, at 7am, noon, and 7 pm (calling for "petit déjeuner", "déjeuner", and "dîner" perhaps?).

I took this picture of the church across the street from our attic. I though it was interesting to see the air bubbles in the original skylight windows

Granted we are still discovering what's around us. So the novelty of it all is still there. But with charming villages, wineries, markets around us we don't feel the pull of the city lights. The hours of the day gently slip by, filled with home tasks, work, tending to the garden, planning the renovation (it is starting imminently!). Living in a small place nowadays doesn't mean being cut off from life. There is high speed internet aka "fibre"!

It seems that for every thing we gave up when we moved away from Lyon, we gained a few. Life has a different rhythm à la campagne. Call it "slow living" if you must. The French way of doing things, "prendre son temps" suits me well. It is absolutely worth to take time for what became a daily ritual to have an afternoon coffee together. Or to sit down with a cup of tea and have a long chat with a friend. Or to peruse garden magazines and books and give yourself to dream about your garden.

Now that the spring is here we are loving having the almost never ending supply of flowers!

But as Jim points out there are negative sides to living here too. Being further away from services and having to drive almost anywhere. This seems to be the only negative thing for me. On the flip side, how often do you need to access these services? The necessities are right here in the village. The post office, the pharmacy, the medical office, the bakery, a small grocery shop. I know that we are still new to all this, and the shiny newness may blind us to some drawbacks of this life. In the future I do plan to "escape" to a city if my soul needs some change of pace. Paris is only two hours away!

La Charite sur Loire - a lovely town nearby we love to visit

For now the every day positives are outweighing everything else. There is nothing else that compares to going out to the garden in the morning and breathing in clear air. Right now, with our big lilac bush in full bloom, the air is filled with its aroma. With the weather getting warmer we have been eating outside more and more. My eyes feast on green, even in winter.

Beginnings of the "potager"

The city life offers a lot - there are cultural events, numerous restaurants, bars, cafes. There is shopping! After our move we visited Lyon for four days. I was exhausted after two, and wanted to go home. Here I regenerate my spirit. So far so good!

So what do you do all day? - my family and some friends ask. I wake up with the sun, pour myself a cup of hot coffee, and go out into the garden with my little dog. Oftentimes I take an early walk in the country side. I started cooking more, baking more. Slowly we get to know our neighbours. Some days we don't go anywhere at all. Now when the weather is warming up, we leave the doors open and lead our life mostly in the garden. There is time to savour - tastes, aromas, colours. There is time to just BE.

A look at the house through the lilac bush

Have you made a major change in your life? Share your experience in comments, it would be great to hear from you :)

To be continued...



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Quiet is indeed a blessing! I’ve spent the last two Septembers in La Charité and I love the quiet small town life of La Bourgogne. Walking along the river, sitting with my book on the island or taking an occasional trip to Nevers or Bourges is very satisfying. I enjoy seeing the same people in the street and greeting them with the daily Bonjour. I’m sure that, with your renovations and garden, you will have a satisfying life.

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Thank you Joanne! Life a la campagne is indeed very different to the city life, but I do enjoy the quiet and familiar. I am glad you got a chance to experience Burgundy which is such a beautiful region of France. Warm greetings, Joanna

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