France Update

November 22, 2010

Some fun progress on our year in France. We heard back from the homeowners of a house that we are very interested in renting. I am trying hard not to get my hopes us — but the pictures are so charming that it has already captured my heart. Then, this morning the whole family arrived at the County Clerk’s office bright and early at 7:30. All six of the kids passports have officially been applied for — a major accomplishment involving mountains of paperwork and documents. Yay! I think we’ll have them in hand by Christmas.

Which reminds me, do you know anyone near Argentan in Normandy? We are looking to hire an assistant to help us get settled during our first couple of weeks in France. We need someone that’s bilingual in French and English and knows the area well. They’ll be helping us do things like arrange for a car, find a tutor and a babysitter, and give us a tour of the area. If you’re interested, or know someone that would be perfect, please send me an email: gabrielle [at] designmom [dot] com.

P.S. — Does all the talk about the Royal Wedding have you daydreaming about being a princess? Find French castles for sale here. This one has 90 bedrooms!

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jan @ Family Bites November 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

Sigh…so envoius yet so excited for you all. I lived there for a year, and it was truly the best thing I did (as a single person of course). I can’t wait to hear more about this.


2 Michelle McCullough November 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

My husband served his mission in France. If you want to just pay us to come along, let me know! ;)


3 Natalie November 22, 2010 at 11:55 am

I met someone in Paris that might be able to help you. We’ve emailed a few times since I’ve been back. I wish I could go back. France is so wonderful…I’ll let you know.


4 deborah@applesinwonderland November 22, 2010 at 11:55 am

i will learn french asap if i can tag along. :) is that the house you are thinking of renting? it’s charming. ;)


5 hi kooky November 22, 2010 at 11:55 am

What a marvelous idea! Best wishes on your adventure. (Sorry, I have no helpful advice here. Just admiration!)


6 Ana November 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Oh my! This sounds so dreamy, I read your post and my mind immediately traveled to dreamland… One day I want to experience France for a year (sigh)… Can’t wait to read more about your plans!


7 Karen M November 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm

One step closer… so exciting! Fingers crossed you get the house you’re hoping for. What an awesome place/way to spend 2011!


8 Lauriel November 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Fun fun! My family lived in France for 2 years and loved it!


9 Geneva November 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm


sorry that passports involve a mountain of paperwork. just last year, a birth certificate, and easy form and a picture they do at CVS was all it took! so easy!


10 Miss Stovetop November 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

You’re going to live in France for a year? WOW… and so jealous :o
And excited to see France through your eyes :) I’ve only ever been to Paris once, and never wanted to leave!


11 Bree Harris November 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

You make it very difficult to not envy you! ;) I love you anyway! What a wonderful adventure that your children will remember always!


12 JWK November 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

That is terrific news! Be sure to check out Deauville on the Normandy coast when it warms up. The kids would love it!


13 jan November 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Sounds so dreamy. I’ve often thought of doing this myself. What an awesome adventure for everyone! Crossing fingers for you!!!!!


14 HollowSquirrel November 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Wait, why are you moving to France? I’m so confused. Didn’t you just get to Colorado?


15 esther November 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Yes Gabrielle… where can I read about this new adventure?


16 Patricia C. November 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

I’m curious, too. I’ve always wanted to live abroad for a year. How do the kids feel about being gone from their friends and school for a year? How are you going to deal with schooling? And what about work? Can your husband work from home? Thanks for answering all my nosey questions :)


17 Damaris @Kitchen Corners November 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm

If you buy that castle can we all come visit?


18 Noelle @ Gray Paint Decor November 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Wow! How marvelous! I am daydreaming about France a lot lately. Would love to take my fam there for a year. Hope all the logistics come together smoothly.


19 Elizabeth November 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I am so curious how you are handling the visa situation!? My husband and I would love to spend some time in Edinburgh, Scotland, but I thought I read somewhere that a visiting visa can only be for 6 months at the longest. Maybe it is different in France?? Also, are you and your hubby still working from home for that year? Thank you for any advice, and I love reading your blog!


20 Rachel November 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I don’t know anyone who lives in that area of France. I have a friend, though, who lives in Versailles (the city, not the palace), and writes a blog about learning to live in France as an American:


21 Miss Stovetop November 23, 2010 at 3:02 am

“The city, not the palace.”
LOL! :)


22 Sarah Buttenwieser November 22, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I totally want to understand the mission logistics & your sister’s going too? So sweet!

Living in new places is so eye-opening & heart expanding. We lived in London for 18 months & it was such a rich experience in so many ways.


23 CEO November 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

So happy for your family….. I have been dreaming of doing a house swap for a month in Paris next summer……….. Your family is so inspiring…..



24 Tanya November 23, 2010 at 7:21 am

This is SO exciting!


25 Merissa November 23, 2010 at 7:54 am

That’s going to be so amazing for you and your family!!


26 Amy S November 23, 2010 at 9:10 am

I am totally looking forward to hearing about your adventures and living vicariously through you!!


27 Elliott November 23, 2010 at 11:45 am

Hi- My sister (Leslie of aroomsomewhere) and my wife both read your blog. I lived on my mission for a year in nearby Alencon and Caen. Send me a note if you need any help. There are often students from England studying in or around Caen who can help with translation. I can probably dig up contact info for some of the people I know in those cities.

So jealous, by the way. Argentan is beautiful. Not much there except for farms and old buildings, small villages, etc. It’s perfect. Lots of good cheese too. The Normandy coast is amazing. So much history, both ancient and modern. You’re going to love it.


28 Kelly November 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I would love to hear about the economic logistics of all this, without prying too much. I have been dreaming of doing something similar, but just here in the U.S. But alas, can’t figure out just who will pay our mortgage in the meantime!


29 Happenstance November 23, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Sounds like a fun, family screenplay already:) Can’t wait to follow your journey.


30 nancy November 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Hi G,

Whattt???? I think I missed the post about how this all came to be? I know you’ve posted about wanting to do this…Since and how did this become a reality? What about hubbies job?



31 Michelle November 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm

How wonderful! We are moving to Italy in January for 3 years.


32 Cinzia October 29, 2011 at 2:42 am

Michele, have you moved to Italy? How do visas, residency passes (?), etc. work? Are you an EU citizen? If not, how will you obtain a residency for three years?! Hope you’re still reading this blog! C. :-)


33 LLH Designs November 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

France!?!? How did I miss this? I am SO excited for you! Provence stole my heart. I can’t wait to go back (hopefully this summer). I was fluent in French, but am so out of practice!

Excited for you…


34 beren November 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

hi, i’m a french reader. my english is very poor, so excuse me if i’m not easy to understand. Your blog is very nice, i like it very much :)
when will you come in france? You’ll see, normany is so nice, but there are a lot of different landscapes in france :) good luck for this year.
I live near Meaux, it is between Paris (i work in Paris) and Champagne, so i can’t help you for your first 2 weeks, sorry. But i wish you will find someone. :)



35 Jennifer James November 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm

This post is so perfect for two reasons. Number 1: I am so thrilled for you and your family! Living in France is going to be a year to remember! Number 2: This is the reassurance I needed to make a move of my own. My husband and I have been thinking seriously about moving to New York in 2011 and staying for a year. This is just the sign I needed.




36 Becki O'Brien December 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Lovely giveaways!! The dollhouse is gorgeous!


37 Marlo December 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Reading this makes my heart hurt a little….I so want to move back to France one day. My oldest daughter was born in Paris, so it’s where I became a mother. Sigh. someday. Good luck with everything. You will love it.


38 Deborah December 5, 2010 at 2:13 am

Hi! I did leave a message when you first posted this but it seems to have disappeared… I’ve lived in the South of France between Montpellier and Nîmes. I’ve been here for 24 years and my dad lives near Bordeaux. My sister has a country house near Saintes / Bordeaux / La Rochelle that she’s selling…
If I can ever be of any help just send me an email!

Deb (kickcan & conkers)


39 Andy @ Chateau For Sale July 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

WOW!!! An absolutely stunning piece of architecture and the beauty of France is that there are many more like this.


40 Home Designer September 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Hi, great to read of your travel, please take pictures of your house and some interiors too. Thanks!


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