• Villa in the Vines with Pool & Spa
  • Driving in France

    Posted on 11th January 2016

    Driving in France….

    …really is a total joy… if you have an insider’s guide.  Imagine quiet village lanes, blue skies, vineyards, empty roads…..but of course, it helps if you know the rules of the road and can deftly navigate French roads with the ease and confidence of a local!

    Our Top 10 Tips for Driving in France

    Here we are going to tell you some of the quirky rules you need to know; how to compare petrol prices (they can vary wildly even within a couple of miles – /+25% is not unusual); tips for navigating those pesky toll booths and what the heck the speed limits are. Looking to hire a car for all the family, from the airport and not be ripped off?  Or perhaps something a little special…..dreaming of a 2CV or an open-top sports car?  Yup, we can tell you where. read more

    Rules of driving in France, part 1

    Posted on 20th March 2014

    Rules of driving in France (part 1)

    Citroen 2 CV france

  • You must drive a Renault, Peugeot or, at a push, Citroën.
  • It must be a hatchback.
  • Silver, white or black are the only acceptable colours.
  • Rules 1 – 3 are excused if you drive a blue 2CV.  What could be more French than that ?
  • Under no circumstances must you drive a blingy German 4×4 (do you want the taxman after you ??)
  • You must give way to the right.  This means that as you happily drive along a road and spot a small road on your rhs – you must stop dead and let this traffic join your road, in front of you. Yes, really.  (It’s called Priorité à droite).
  • However, if you are on a roundabout, give way to the left.
  • No. 7 is a relatively new rule and causes problems with those who were only brought up with No. 6.
  • In bastide towns with a grid-like layout, only ever attempt to drive through once you have mastered No. 6, but also be mindful of No. 8.
  • On narrow country roads, drive roughly in the middle of the road and only swerve, to avoid oncoming traffic, at the last second.
  • Remember to cheerily wave, stop & chat with absolutely everyone you know, however inconvenient this is to other road users.
  • Following on from No. 11, always pause to chat with joggers you may know because they naturally appreciate a little chat mid-way through their run.
  • Picking up stray children and returning them home is the done thing.
  • Road rage is not la norme or de rigueur in provincial France.  A little tolerance and patience goes a long way.  So, if you can’t keep your toys in your pram, please don’t get in your car 🙂
  • read more

    Bordeaux rosé for people on the go

    Posted on
    Thank goodness for that – rosé in cans…was wondering what to put in the kids’ lunchboxes 😉 rosé in cans  

    France & hairdressers

    Posted on 19th March 2014
    So what is a trip to the hairdresser’s like in France, I hear you say…..well, of course, firstly there is the obvious difference of being able to adequately describe what you’d like – and more importantly, don’t want…in French. I find explaining to a hairdresser what I’m hoping for enough of a challenge in English, because what I’d really like is to leave the hairdresser looking about 20 years younger.  (Oh, As I don’t have any hairdressing photos, I am shamelessly adding some lovely random photos of France !) CollageFrance Luckily my coiffeuse knows me well enough now that visits are no longer an ordeal.  In fact, I am coming to the conclusion that my trips to the hairdresser coincide less with a need to have a haircut, and more with the fact I would just really like a guilt-free rest in the middle of the afternoon.  I just love reading the French chav-mags.  They have all the same celebrity rubbish, and it’s all written in a bizarre franglais.  Vast swathes of French are now English – but just said with a French accent.  It’s très chic, you know. Still,  discussions commence regarding layers (dégradé – pronounced ‘day-grad-ay’);  split being an expat in france isn't all sitting by the pool !ends (fourche –  literally ‘forks’);  length (longueur – pronounced ‘long-eeeerrrrr’);  volume (volume – pronounced ‘vol-ooooooom‘‘); and lightness (légèreté  pronounced ‘lay-jair-tay’) – of weight – yes, some of us really do believe that our hair is heavy. Please bear in mind that I love my adopted pays and anything I say is most definitely tongue-in-cheek, particularly if my lovely French neighbours are reading this 😉  However, one thing that I did wish to avoid at all costs was adopting the local hair colour of choice.  This is not just a colour for ladies of a certain age, but is apparently age-indiscriminate.  If you live in South West France you will almost certainly have come across this.  Yes, it’s red.  Not in red as a nice natural shade of auburn, but bright vivid red/orange (think Sharon Osbourne/Rihanna).   Eek.  Fortunately, my hairdresser understands my anxieties, and thus far, I am untouched by the red hair craze.   There is time yet, though….I may still go native…  

    Challenges of being an expat in France

    Posted on 14th March 2014
    Whilst many would like to think that being an expat in France mainly consists of sitting around drinking wine and eating cheebeing an expat in france isn't all sitting by the pool !se, sadly, I can confirm that this isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong – France is a fabulous place to live, but being an expat does have its challenges, and especially when there is a different language thrown in the equation.  In order to speak French well, it is essential that one tries one’s best to mimic Inspector Clouseau.  Think of saying “hamburger” as “am-boorg-eeeeeeerrrrrrrrrr” and you’re starting to get the hang of it.  It is essential that you use your most ridiculous French accent when using automated telephone systems as they won’t understand you otherwise.  Many a time my OH has been collapsed laughing whilst I’m shouting at the phone down my nose and contorting my mouth to make French sounds convincingly. So, if you were to ask most expats as to what is the very best thing about France ?  “The lifestyle” is always a popular answer, followed up with, “Everyone is so laid back and they have 3 hour lunches and spend time with their families.” Of course this leads neatly onto, “What is the worst thing about France ?” this is invariably service non stopanswered with, “Everywhere is always closed as everyone is having 3 hour lunches and spending time with their families.”   We have actually been to restaurants that have been closed for lunch – you couldn’t make it up.  However, this new-fangled concept of being open over the lunch period has finally made it to France and is often proudly displayed (this was spotted at a restaurant in Bordeaux. So that is the real French paradox  😉 Fancy a holiday to France ?  We offer a large (7 bedroom, sleeps 14) country house amongst the vineyards of Bordeaux with its own private heated pool, swim spa and hot tub (and vineyard views, of course).  We’re cheaper than Center Parcs and even a Premier Inn ! (Our high season prices work out about £80 / room / night).  Or maybe think of visiting France this year for an Easter break (from £46 / night / room, based on a 7 night break).
    Family friendly holidays in france

    Self catering holiday home Dordogne, Bordeaux vineyards, France, Aquitaine

    Accommodation near Chateau Rigaud

    Posted on 27th May 2013

    So you’re going to be a wedding guest at Chateau Rigaud ?  Rooms fr. £99/night with free access to spa, heated pool, free wifi, parking included, XL fluffy towels & we even pay your tourist tax!  Book online securely with no credit card fees at our sister site www.breakstofrance.com or if you prefer, you can rent the whole house (7 bedrooms) via this site.  Prices/availability here

    On a whole-house basis, we can offer a large 7 bedroom (baby friendly) gite with private swim spa, heated swimming pool, free wifi, vineyard views – in fact, everything you need to have a lovely stay in the area.  We are only a 15 min drive away from Chateau Rigaud on quiet country roads. read more