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Saturday, October 4, 2014

The French Visa

Château de la Pellonière de Le Pin-la-Garenne

The painted photo above has nothing to do with this post, but I thought I should give you at least one pretty image in such a depressing post!  Also, these images of life around our French house keep me inspired to keep on "keepin' on" in what is proving to be the hardest task I ever undertook: namely

Moving to France!

I have been packing for the entire summer, giving away so many of our things and editing what we will take with us.  I still have too much.  But that story is for another day.  Today I will just share with you what we are going through to get our French Visa, which will permit us to stay in France for a year.  We are, however, only staying for 7 months on this trip, as we have not sold the farm yet, so we will return here next spring and spend the summer.

This past Wednesday we drove the 2.5 hour drive to the train in Wassaic and took the 2 hour ride into NYC to meet with the Visa department of the French Consulat.  I thought I was so organized.  I have been gathering paperwork for the past few months, had memorized the requirements page of the Visa website, had done drills on taking the paperwork from our envelopes, so as to not take any additional time in our interview, mapped the route and time from the train to the location [ which is not at the 5th Avenue address, but around the corner at Numero 10 74th Street]and googled reviews of the experience by other applicants. I was ready.

 And I had my scarf tied "just so".


Although Deano passed muster, I failed to pass the test, and my Visa was denied.

This section below is what I wrote on my Facebook page, and it may help any of you who are planning the move to be better prepared.

"Update on French Visa: First, thank you to ALL who have shown concern and helped me to laugh through this process!! As of now I am still without Visa, but I am slowly hoping to rectify my situation. ( "Rectify". That is what Dean calls one of my favorite TV shows known as "Justify". I find it a painful word and it reminds me that I have a colonoscopy next week the day before we load our container…but, I digress…]

so, to RECTIFY my situation, I am simply throwing money at it. For instance, on the French Consulat website they state that I need a "passport with at least 2 blank pages left for visa purposes". Now here is why I am not in Mensa: I did not understand that it must say "visa" at the top of the passport pages. I just counted all the free pages I had in my passport [3] and checked that off my list of 17 other things I need for this visa. But when the man checked my passport he showed me that "a lazy US Passport controller" had mistakenly stamped one of my two contiguous visa pages on my last entry to the US in Newark last April, thereby rendering that page useless for a visa stamp!!! I also did not realize that the last two pages in your passport are just…there. Anyway, this resulted in a $40 taxi ride from way uptown to way downtown to the US Passport office where I spent a fascinating several hours getting a new passport ( at a mere $170).But we did get to go out to have my photo taken at a convenience store, by a man who never took Photography1, and we had time for some relaxing liquid refreshment. I must say that the people there were very kind, and the lady expedited my request so that I would not have to go back today. I think the big sad glaucoma eyes helped.

The other problem was with my insurance . I had several documents from my insurance company stating that I was covered by Blue Cross in France for any and all medical needs. BBA teachers, you know we have an excellent plan, and I have spent many a fun phone call with Dawn in Montpelier crafting a cover letter stating how all my medical needs will be paid for in France. However, I have since discovered that what my insurance does NOT cover is "repatriation". That is, if I die in France, they will not pay for my body to be sent back to the USA. And France won't pay to bury or cremate me. Good grief!! I have always told Dean that when I pass, dig a hole and plant me dans le jardin. ( Emmanuel,{ our French gardener} make a note to leave a space for me in the garden.] But, not good enough for a visa. So today I have purchased a travel plan for $833 which states the 3 magic words, Hospitalization, Evacuation and Repatriation. If only they would state on the requirements page of the French Consulat website that your insurance coverage must SAY THOSE 3 WORDS…  And yes, I did see those three words at the bottom of the appointment page, which Dean printed out and added to our dossier…and I never looked at except to confirm the time!

All I have left to do now is make yet another trip to NYC next Friday, be there by 9 a.m.,[ 5:00 a.m. train from Wassaic] show them my new passport, my new insurance and hopefully I will get the same sweet French woman who spent so much time with me yesterday. Or maybe she'll plan to be sick that day…

So please don't blame the French. It was not their fault. Just mine."

We shall return next Friday, down to NYC on the 5:10 commuter train, and throw ourselves on their mercy one more time.You can always follow our adventures on my Facebook page

Wish us Bonne Courage!

the cat from Shrek!

S'il vous plaît, madame du Consulat...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

House Hunter's International!!

Our episode airs in the states on Sunday night!!

II:30 P.M. is a terrible time, I know, and it sure puts a crimp in our TV Soirée plans, but maybe it's so awful they are trying to hide it where nobody will see it?  Ah, well, at least it's G-rated.  Make a game of it.   Throw a quarter in a hat every time you hear me say "Oh, WOW…!"

A demain, mes amis,

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Dordogne: Part 2

Les Jardins de Marquessac

In addition to the storybook castles and manoirs of the Dordogne, there was a special garden that drew us to the Perigord Noir--
The Gardens of Marquessac.  

I had seen photos of this garden on Pinterest,

 and placed this number 1 on our list of

things to see in the Dordogne

We were entranced by this magical place from 

the first moment we entered the gardens. The 

misty day added to the romantic feeling of 

 surrealism,and although there was one

bus tour there when we arrived, they soon 

scattered and left when it began to lightly 


The rain stopped quickly, and we actually

 found ourselves alone, experiencing a sublime 

  peace and tranquility.

 Even the peacocks were willing to pose for us,

 in a photographer's dream landscape.

There are more than six kilometers of shaded 

paths bordered by 150000 hand-pruned box trees

 a hundred years old, the whole embellished 

with belvederes, waterways, rockeries and 

grassy clearings. 

The views of La Roque-Gageac
are outstanding

but my favorite views were of landscapes that looked like patchwork quilts and  toy villages.

 It's easy to see why this is the most visited garden in the Perigord.

Next time I will share another beautiful garden with you, 


And on Sunday night , September 7, our episode of House Hunter's International will be shown at 11:30 p.m.on HGTV!! More about that later.

à bientôt,mes amis

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Trip to the Dordogne:Part 1

The Dordogne River

{be sure to click on the photos to view them larger…}

Last autumn we made one of our most favorite trips to France. [ I know.  I say that about every trip to France.:)] Not only did we spend 8 days in the beautiful parc du Perche, but we also spent a week in the Périgord Noir, in the department of the Dordogne.

The Dordogne is a region of France that has become a very popular tourist destination. It has also become home to many British expats, owing, perhaps, not only to its green, bucolic beauty,and the warmer-than-English weather, but also to its honey-colored houses which look very similar to those in the Cotswolds. 

We stayed near the town of La Roque-Gageac,a picture postcard village on the banks of the Dordogne River, in a beautiful little house called La Bergerie.  This cozy spot was part of a complex of gîtes known as Rocquecombe

Here is the property, with three of the other houses which rent to guests by the week.

La Bergerie is tucked away in the pines.  Here we had  our apero every afternoon.

Our hosts, Phillippe and Anne-Marie, graciously invited all the guests for an aperitif one evening.  I had never tasted these delicious cocktails before, but they reminded me of Dubonnet or cream sherry.

The next day Philippe took us all on the most marvelous tour of some the châteaux in the area where we were staying.

This one is in Saint-Crépin-et-Carlucet, about 15 minutes from Sarlat

 Château Pierrelacy,
 a sweet little castle dating back to the 16th century

We were enchanted by this adorable dependance...

…and by this fellow who peeked out to say hello! What was a goat doing in the attic?

I can't remember the name of this castle, but it was abandoned and was in ruins on the backside.  Ooo.  Could I have some fun playing there…!

Chateau de la Grand Filolie
in Montignac

This was our favorite château of all.

We would never had found this had it not been for our host.  In addition to stopping to takes photos here, we also took the time to go on a 1 kilometer randonné on a chemin which completely encircled the  property.

This is a view of the west side of the castle.

I took this shot from the back of the property and made it into my Halloween greeting!

There is so much more to show you from the Dordogne, like this scene from Beynac, one of the towns where they filmed "Chocolat"...

Next time, mes amis…

love, dawne

Friday, July 18, 2014

Europe: Simply Irresistible!

Venetian Lagoon

As you know, we're moving to France very soon,  Lord willing, and although summer here on the farm is idyllic, I'm sort of chomping at the bit. I keep thinking of all those places in France that I could be visiting.  And all of those places in Europe that will suddenly be practically next door! So thank you, Anita,for inviting us on another wonderful European holiday! Hop on over to her lovely blog and join us on a tour of Irresistible Europe!

France is my favorite European country, but Italy is right up there, too.  It was the first place I ever visited in Europe, and it simply blew me away. I was an art teacher at the time, and my colleague and I took a group of students on a tour called Belle Italia.

We arrived in Venice right in the middle of Carnevale!  It has been my favorite Italian city ever since.

the approach to Venice in a water taxi

my friend Betsy  and I immediately got our faces painted.  Hey, it was the '90s!

I cannot describe the thrill of my first gondola ride!

Years later I returned to Venice with my husband, and I must say, the gondola ride is still just as thrilling!  And more romantic!

I can't wait to return to this magical city once we are living in France.  I checked the cost of fights from Orly and we can fly round trip for around 70 euros!

Europe, here we come!

santa maria della salute

Off to visit the rest of Europe on Anita's blog party.   Bon Voyage!

p.s. You can follow me on Bloglovin' or by email.  And I promise to talk more about France from now on!

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quid.di.ty The real nature of a thing; the essence; the essential nature or quality of something that makes it distinct and different from other things and establishes its identity

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