The Pleasures of Rural France


I arrived in France just over a week ago, and it’s everything I’ve ever heard or read about it. The flowers blooming are intense, both in colors and aromas, the sun is intense, even if the air is not yet hot, and it’s gorgeous. The area I’m in, Deux-Sevres, is in the Poitou-Charente region. It’s about a 4 hour drive to Paris, but not as far south as Provence. I’d say it’s a bit southwest of the center of the country. If this were Texas, it would be Fredericksburg. The temperatures have been in the 70s mostly (22-25C) during the day, and the 50s at night. That sounds about perfect for this Texan. However, the intensity of the sun has given me a painful sunburn on my nose and shoulders, which I didn’t expect.
My hosts informed me that it gets up to 36C in the summer, and sometimes 42C. That’s well over 100F, and yikes, I might as well be back in Texas. Good thing I’m not planning on spending the summer here, right?
What am I doing at this workaway host? Well, so far I’ve helped to shred sticks, raked mowed grass, planted tomatoes, lettuce, peas, and sunflowers, rearranged sheds, carried boxes, loaded and unloaded a large van that was packed like a Jenga game, walked and fed 2 collies, drunk lots of good red wine, eaten really delicious whole foods, including bread made fresh every day, and shopped for groceries. Oh, and hung out laundry and brought it in (one of my favorite pastimes, really).
On Monday, my hosts will travel back to England to get the last load of things from their old home and I will stay here and maintain everything. That will include feeding and walking the dogs, treating one dog’s dry eyes 3 times a day, watering everything in the evenings, cleaning the pond filters, feeding the fish in the pond and tanks, and other stuff that goes keeping up with a homestead.
I haven’t had a real day off yet, and even if I did, we’re so far from anywhere that I couldn’t go anywhere unless my hosts took me, but that’s ok. It’s quiet here, and peaceful, and nature surrounds me. It’s so beautiful it takes your breath away sometimes. Enjoy the pictures I’ve been taking. Sorry it took me so long to post them, but the days are long and the nights filled with great conversation over good wine, or watching movies.

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4 Responses to The Pleasures of Rural France

  1. Sheree says:

    Amazing!! The house would be considered a “shanty” by north Dallas standards, but in its setting it is beautiful and quaint!! What fun. Enjoy!!

    • ericagott says:

      True, Sheree, but the building is large and rambling. Their part is 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, but compact. The rest was 1 and 2 bedroom houses but are now being used as storage and workshops. Total, 5 houses in one building. The original owner kept adding on for each child as they needed their own place.

  2. Wow cool Erica! These are great pics, I love France, so jealous!
    Are you living in the tent or in the house?

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