Living in France, what’s it’s really like?

Living in france

Living in France…thoughts 6 weeks on

Before deciding to move to France, my mind was full of stereotypes about what it might be like to live here. I’m sure it’s the same for most people. The French love the French. The French love baguettes. The French love garlic. The French have great wine and adore long lunches. So far so good.

Once we found our dream glampsite and area, I began researching on forums, Facebook pages and journals about what the French are really like. So my opinion changed to: The French not only love the French but actively dislike non-French residents. The French only love French cuisine and wine. The French will only speak French with you (even if they know English). The French can be unhelpful and rude to non-French people. The French love red tape and bureaucracy. The French lifestyle is slow, relaxed and nothing gets done over lunchtimes (12-2.30), Sundays, August or December.

So after 6 weeks living in the beautiful Dordogne area of France, what has been true, false or a complete surprise?

The biggest and most welcome surprise, has been how wonderfully friendly and helpful everyone is. From the schools, doctors, shop keepers, strangers, everyone has been brilliant. Not once have I felt uncomfortable or made to feel foolish. One shop keeper (who owns the most fabulous clothes store in Brantôme) went out of her way to help us find furniture. The advice and time given but expecting nothing but  friendship in return was a pleasure.

This brings me onto another false expectation. Every French person has at least tried to meet me halfway with the language. My attempt at French is met with a wry smile. So between hand gestures and basic language on both parts, dealing with life in France has gone well.

Some things have been true. The French LOVE baguettes. They LOVE a long lunch – nothing opens or gets done between 12-2:30 including all shops, supermarkets, doctors, etc… We have found this a difficult adjustment, often finding ourselves in a ghost town between those hours. Same goes for Sundays, you have no choice but to spend it with your family (whether you want to or not!).

Another true stereotype is the French love French food. As a family, we love an Indian takeaway, British fish and chips,  Mexican fajitas and many other different cuisines. Well that went out the shuttered window very quickly! Either you pay triple the price for anything British (cheddar is €5 for a small cube) and don’t even talk about teabags! Same for Mexican. The only item remotely Indian is Uncle Bens curry, I’ve had to get a food parcel flown in for Bombay potato mix and Mango chutney. And as for traditional fish and chips, well fair enough some things should remain on sacred land.

To summarise, you don’t need to know a lot of French to live here. However, to make friends and make life more fulfilling I am very keen to learn as much as possible. Be friendly and people will be friendly in return. Don’t go out at lunchtimes or Sundays, expect to be bloated on rich food and baguettes and take your time, there’s no rush!

Au revoir for now

The Pantry’s 🇫🇷

 

 

One Month Already! Why? When? How?

One month, belairlecamping,

Wow where did that month go? What brought us to this point? Were we mad? Let me explain.

France…living abroad…starting afresh…the idea started as a tiny spark in the background of many, many ideas and began to grow and grow, until one fateful night that spark came to light a fire. Sure, we have spoken about living abroad, hasn’t everyone over a glass of wine at some point? I believe in God and also believe in the Law of Attraction, both of which have similar themes. Seek and you shall Find, Ask and you will Receive.

Well for the last few years we have both prayed for an answer for a problem we couldn’t express and spoken at length for an opportunity to live our lives to its fullest potential. We have youth (one of us;) wisdom (sometimes) and a yearning to live a life less ordinary. Life is for living, not slaving away to make someone else rich, or to spend all our wages on keeping up appearances. That spark is now truely a flame, igniting a fire that had been there the whole time, just needing fuel, direction and breathing space.

Ask and receive, Seek and Find. Things I love: Family. Friends. Food. Wine. Being outdoors. Trying new things. Organising. Holidays. So God and the Universe via a series of events came up with a plan. I put this to my husband one evening. “So how about living in France; glamping is a great way to use all our skills, our girls will love the way of life and we get cheap wine?”

Four months later I’m now writing this blog. Wow how life can deliver when you least expect it! It’s not been all plain sailing. Blooming Brexit happened at the WORST possible time with the exchange rate now the worst for years!!! This limbo period before we get going with the renovations is painful at times! The girls miss their friends at nursery, days out at the zoo and family time. We have no time alone to discuss what the future holds or to have a normal adult conversation and living here coming into winter, this period feels an eternity.

And yet. The end (or rather the beginning) is in sight. We get the keys to the campsite and our new house next month, in time for Christmas. We return to see friends and family for a few short days for my birthday. Our eldest starts school in January, a welcome event for us all! Followed by months of hard work, mega spending and finding our way in a language we are yet to master! This is what we came here for (sings Rihanna in the background) and yes, I can’t wait!

Au revoir

The Pantry’s

 

Welcome to our Dutch mini site

Belairlecamping

Welkom op de site van onze Glamping, in het prachtige Noord Dordogne in Frankrijk.

Welcome to our Dutch mini site.

Belair le Camping ligt in een klein gehucht, Maucite, op korte afstand van het dorp van Champagnac de Belair vandaan. Het dorp heeft een kleine winkel en een Michelin-ster restaurant! Op ongeveer 9 km afstand bevindt zich de prachtige stad Brantôme, het ‘Venetië van Frankrijk’, vanwege de rivier de Dronne die door de stad loopt en de pittoreske straatjes.

Wij zijn een familie uit East Anglia in Engeland en hebben al tijden gedroomd van een ander leven, onder een sterrenhemel en te midden van glooiende groene heuvels. Na veel onderzoek zijn wij verliefd geworden op de Dordogne en wij willen onze liefde van glamping delen met vrienden, familie en gelijkgestemde individuen over de hele wereld.

Belair Le Camping zal vanaf eind April 2017 open staan voor gasten met geheel vernieuwde gemeenschappelijke faciliteiten, een openlucht bioscoop, luxe ‘Belle’ tenten en een magische houthakkers hut, allemaal beschikbaar voor u om van te genieten. Onze gîte zal op tijd klaar zijn voor de zomervakantie, dus als u op zoek bent naar een romantische plek voor uw vakantie met volop fantastisch eten, wijn en Franse charme kijk niet verder!

Wij wensen u veel plezier met het bezichtigen van onze site en hopen dat het u een voorproefje geeft van het avontuur dat ons te wachten staat…

Alle accommodatie heeft elektriciteit en verlichting, luxe, comfortabele bedden en een zithoek om te ontspannen en tot rust te komen. De keuken is uitgerust met bestek, servies, apparatuur, barbecue, waterkoker en houtkachel voor uw privégebruik. Zout, peper en ketchup zijn bij de prijs inbegrepen, evenals beddengoed. U hoeft alleen handdoeken mee te nemen. Alle kamers beschikken over het gebruik van een privé tuin, ideaal voor een romantisch verblijf. Extra Futon bedden en kinderledikantjes zijn beschikbaar op aanvraag.

Het is onze bedoeling dat u het bij ons naar uw zin heeft, dus als u speciale verzoeken heeft vraagt u ons dan alstublieft. De glampsite bevindt zich op een lichte helling, maar de Belle tenten zijn op vlakke grond geplaatst en zijn toegankelijk voor rolstoelgebruikers.

We hebben drie Belle tenten van 6 meter, ideaal voor een luxe vakantie of een vakantie met het gezin. Alle tenten zijn voorzien van houtkachels.

Drie prachtige tenten van 5 meter, ideaal voor stellen maar ruim genoeg voor gezinnen, bevinden zich op het gras. Deze tenten zijn ook voorzien van kachels.

De houthakkershut is geschikt voor een enkel stel, een verblijf om te genieten van het bos. Een houtkachel is aanwezig.

Houdt er rekening mee dat de kachels (uiteraard) zeer heet zijn! Wees voorzichtig tijdens het gebruik. Wij willen graag dat u gedurende het hele jaar van onze glampsite kunt genieten, vandaar de houtkachels die zullen zorgen voor een comfortabel verblijf gedurende de veranderende seizoenen.

Gebruik ons contactformulier voor een boekingsaanvraag.

Groepskortingen zijn beschikbaar zoals bijvoorbeeld voor vrijgezellen feestjes, yoga groepen, foodies, noem maar op. Heeft u een vraag, neemt u dan contact op!

De gîte is beschikbaar voor huur voor langere termijn buiten het seizoen gedurende oktober tot en met mei voor slechts £800 per maand – bezoek onze website om te zien wanneer de gîte gereed zal zijn voor de verhuur.

Wij verzoeken om 50% aanbetaling één maand voor uw verblijf, het saldo moet worden betaald vóór aankomst via PayPal of bankoverschrijving. Raadpleeg onze algemene verhuurvoorwaarden op de contactpagina voor meer informatie.

Vindt ons ‘leuk’ op Facebook, en zoek naar pantrysfrenchadventure en belairlecamping op Instagram voor regelmatige updates.

Book direct via our website!

About website

This has been an awesome 48 hours for Belair le Camping (and technically very challenging!).

I’m always up for a challenge and following a minor dabble in website php/coding in my uni days, I thought I would give it a go to set up our own website with full hotel facilities. Blooming hell did I under-estimate that challenge! My brain is not the same (after 13 years completing my degree/2 children/many hours watching reality tv) plus my expectations of template website design were WAY higher!

I did not expect to actually add DNS, HTML, name server etc… information myself. Plus widgets, plug ins, OMG but with help from google, wpbeginners and other helpful sources our website is becoming fully functional.

Thank you to my family members for testing out my booking and PayPal site, your support is massively appreciated!

So I now invite our friends, family, glampers, adventurers and nosy parkers to check availablity, look at prices and test our booking system for any glitches. If you would like to make a serious booking, then we won’t ask for any ££££ until we are open April 2017 and you can see the glampsite pictures (rather than Pinterest images). A discount for friends and family is always available, just ask 😜

Au Revoir for now

The Pantry’s

A tale of two halves 

About us a tale of two halves

It’s been a week of two halves for the Pantry’s.

On one half we’ve been enjoying adventure filled days out in the Autumn sunshine. Though France is probably best known for scorching summers and snowy skiing winters, Autumn is simply a gorgeous season to explore the villages, towns, rivers and chateaus that make this region so popular.

Check out our photos for examples of how beautiful the Dordogne is. We can only imagine (being our first year in France) how beautiful the scenery is when covered in winters frost and fog and then watching nature literally spring back to life in Spring.

That’s why we’ve decided to keep Belair le Camping open all year round, for those explorers/adventurers/glampers who appreciate nature is all its glory.

All types of our accommodation are fitted with wood burners, thanks to our super supplier  Soulpad who have provided our Bell Tents and stoves to keep us cool all summer and cosy all winter!

The other half has been busy increasing our awareness of Belair le Camping on social media. We haven’t opened yet but getting a lot of support via our Facebook and Instagram accounts and our audience has gone global!

We’ve also been busy trying to add plug ins onto our website to enable holiday makers to check availability, book online and pay securely via Paypal. This is vital to keep us up to date with competitors and make it easy to book directly with us. Will update once this becomes available.

Hope everyone has been enjoying Halloween and making the most of the sunshine whilst it lasts,

Au revoir

The Pantrys

Belairlecamping plan d'eau

Designing the glampsite 

Glampsite belairlecamping

Now that the contracts are signed and deposit paid, we have begun the design process and budgeting for our dream glamping site. In a dream world, money would be no object which is not the case! However, we have discovered some hidden gems during our return visit to the glampsite, and with imagination, hard work and creativity a lot of what we want to achieve can be done.

The social area:

Where the existing caravan sits, is a large wooden area near the pool, perfect for a social area. Whip away the caravan (which will be prettied up and used as a honesty shop elsewhere) lay the flooring, bar, chiminea, tables and chairs, pretty lighting set, get the music on and wine out, job done!


The pool area:

Currently, an overground pool sits beneath a beautiful pine tree, in the middle of the campsite. In 2018, we hope to instal a underpool to compliment this pool. As you can see from the pictures, with a lot of decking and then landscaping around the existing pool, it can become quite fabulous!


Outdoor cinema:

The glampsite is set in 4 acres of beautiful grassland and woodland, with a gentle slop on the right hand side. This slope makes a perfect setting for our outdoor cinema, imagine warm summer evenings enjoying a classic film, or cuddling under a blanket during the cooler starry nights…

Lots more projects also underway such as the shower block renovation, possible games room in the barn, erecting the belle tents, furnishing and decorating the accommodation, the list is endless!

Au revoir for now!

The Pantrys

Dordogne…the Pantry’s have arrived! 

Pantry's Dordogne

I’m sitting here writing my blog snuggled up in our rental gîte, with a glass of vin rouge with a big grin but tired bones.

Been a very busy 48 hours, moving house then staying in Dover with two girls who hate sleeping. Up at 2:30am😪 but the trip to our gîte couldn’t have gone better, thankful for the safe journey.

We meet with the notaire (solicitor) on Monday to sign the Compris de Vente and start formal proceedings, which takes around 2 months. We are committed at this stage so no going back! 😱 On Tuesday we see the campsite and house and gite again, hoping to take lots of photos and put a plan in the place for the glampsite.

But in the meantime, we are making the most of the beautiful sunshine and we have visited a bustling local market in Thiviers, Ben asked for 24 potatoes in French, which the lady found hilarious 😂 After a classic lunch of baguette, Brie and grapes we had a hike around the fairytale chateaux at Jumilhac de Grand, only 6 miles away.

Hence the big grin and tired bones but most of all, a happy soul.

Bon soir  🇫🇷

The Pantry’s


New website!

New website

After some advice, I’ve decided to switch to WordPress for our Glampsite, that was a painful move! Though not a professional, I’d like to think I can put a website together, but WordPress makes life very difficult!

Nevertheless I’m pleased with the end result, and look forward to tweaking the content as our plans come together.

We’ve now got an email address for enquiries, an Instagram page and now beginning to advertise on glamping websites which is amazing!

We are also on track to move to France in October 2016, hence lots of boxes, bubble wrap and tip runs going on in the Pantry household!

Bon soir for now, time to relax with a glass of vin rouge 🍷