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Our recent trip to France

New Year’s Eve events, round the globe racing and plumbing problems

    

While Paris parties in the streets and watches fireworks over the Eiffel Tower, Pouzauges had the options of dinner with our French friends and theirs, a local grand ball or an event organised by a bizarre group in the region. The latter is for people who joke they do not want the new year – check it out at www.fonacon.net: it did look like fun but we chose the more relaxed diner avec amis but it turned out to be far from the ‘quiet night over a simple meal’ our friends said it would be. The evening’s gormet fare which spanned to well after midnight included foie gras, salmon fume, leek/mushroom tarts, mousse au chocolat, citron tarte and a Galette des Rois. Evenings like this are very special – we are so grateful that our friends share their homes and traditions with us. This is something we never expected from France but are very glad we have had these opportunities.

In November every four years from our closest beach resort, Les Sables d’Olonne, starts the world famous solo yacht race, La Vendee Globe. For three months, participants sail down to and around the Antarctic then back again. The race passes Cape Leeuwin in WA close to where we saved former race participant Tony Bullymore and more recently Frenchman Yann Elies. Due to the race, Les Sables was abuzz with visitors, vastly different to our previous trips in winter. Despite the extra hype, we still enjoyed our usual plage activities but supplemented them with buying Vendee Globe t-shirts. The Vendeen people are very proud of this event and follow it closely with kids tracking the race and their favourite yachtsperson at school.

During this trip, all three of our French properties had plumbing problems – comes with the territory given their ages. Our house in Pouzauges had blocked pipes, Le Boupere had WC issues and Isle sur la Sorgue had a leaking pipe into our downstairs neighbour’s apartment. While these difficulties could have ruined our trip, we have come to realise that they are part of the joy of owning property in France and they do give you a sense of achievement when you overcome the challenge they present - it also helps to know a few local tradespeople and the odd bottle of Australian wine doesn’t go unappreciated !

Don’t forget our January sale on products to help you buy your own place in France and the special (pay for 7 days, stay for 10 Mar-May/Oct-Dec) for renting our places (plumbing all fixed now!). More to come on our recent trip including other exciting villages we discovered...

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