We moved to France

I’m writing this from a bed and breakfast in the town of Mireipesset, in the southwest corner of France. We flew here from Vancouver on Valentine’s Day, and plan to live in this part of the world for the next year or so. An old friend of my wife’s has a house for rent in the nearby village of Argeliers. They’re just putting the finishing touches on the renovation, so we’re squatting in the B&B for a few more days. Then we’ll move on in.

I suppose it’s a bit ironic that, after a year of living Canadian, I have fled the nation for foreign shores.

We’re hoping that our year in France will be much like our year in Malta. We’ll enjoy life at a slower pace, and have a chance for some reflection and renewal after a hectic five years in Victoria and Vancouver. Even if you work as much as usual, living abroad affords you the luxury of a lot of extra free time. Until I lived in Malta, I never realized how much of my time was occupied with the, for want of a better word, bureaucracy of my life.

About a month ago, I realized that I hadn’t “announced” in any formal way the fact that we were leaving the country. Not on this site, nor on Facebook or Twitter. I’d wanted to ensure that our ducks were all in a row, I guess, and then I became particularly busy.

As a kind of experiment in discretion, I decided to just hold off on telling the Internet (I know, what a strange world we live in where that’s even a consideration) that we were moving to France. What, if any, are the results of that experiment? I’m not sure yet.

Here are a couple of photos I shot in and around our village. You can also find some photos on Instagram, including me standing in our swimming pool (sans l’eau) and a field full of sheep.

Argeliers is on the Canal du Midi, a 240 km canal system built in the 17th century. It makes for excellent walking and cycling.

This is the impasse or alley where we live. Ours is the orange house on the right. I’ll post some photos of the house soon, but it’s got a nice view over the canal.


  1. Wow–looks beautiful! Just what a person would imagine…How lovely to wake up to your post and photos. I like what you said about the ‘bureaucracy of my life’–that’s it, isn’t it? It takes some bureaucracy to uproot and go elsewhere (especially France!) but at least you now have the chance to re-create as simple or as complex a life as you want…

    Enjoy getting acquainted.

  2. Fantastic! I am a big believer in taking time out to relax, reflect and enjoy life. Looking forward to reading about the year ahead.

  3. Ahhhh, memories. We explored the towns and countryside around this area in the summer of 2005 (remember the 40 degree plus heat wave that killed thousands across Europe?). We spent an incredible day picnicing around Minerve. I recall fantasizing then about moving to this region.

    If you are heading south into the Pyrenees, may I recommend you visit Ceret? We just about named our newborn daughter after this town because of its incredible beauty and vitality. They have an incredible Saturday artist’s market, great open-air theatre and wonderful jumping off point for a trip up Le Traine Jeune!

    Enjoy, you two.

  4. Darren

    I’m delighted for you and will look forward to your regular updates on how you embrace the french culture. I trust you will be updating this site regularly with your experiences?


  5. I seem to recall that you had a custom-designed home built for the two of you. Or was that someone else?

    Well, if it was you, what’s going to happen to the house? And, if it wasn’t … well, you can ignore the question.

    Here’s a “heads up”, btw. I was out of Canada for about 5 years when I was your age. Now, many years later, I’ve applied for OAS and I’ve been asked to provide proof of the date when I returned. Suggested proof is airline tickets, shipping invoices, etc. (I am *NOT* making this up.)

    So, for the sake of your sanity many years down the road, save your return tickets, save your return shipping invoices.

    1. Thanks for the tip.

      We did design a house a few years ago. We haven’t been quite ready to build it and settle down, so we’re holding off. It’s possibly a project for 2013.

  6. That’s fantastic, Darren! I loved reading about your stays in other countries so this will be fun. Now I have to dust off that dream of ever living in Europe, especially now that I am an EU citizen.

  7. That canal looked familiar, and I soon realized we were in that region when we visited a villa near Narbonne:

    Now I finally get a whole genre of painting

    Wonderful place. If you get the chance, highly recommend you travel down Spain’s nearby costa brava — Salvador Dali’s house in Cadaqués is not to be missed. And, you aren’t so far from Barcelona.

    Very happy for you and Julie, wish you a wonderful and memorable year.

  8. Hi Darren,

    If you feel like seeing a bit of Europe, I now live in Lausanne, Switzerland with my husband, son, and baby#2 (arriving in August).

    You and your wife are more than welcome for a visit. We love company!


  9. I find it amazing that you get to live in all these places. I envy you. Enjoy your time there and always – lots of photos!

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