The 5th (and Last) Six Months in France

August 15, 2013

Le Menil Scelleur

By Gabrielle.

Here it is! This is the final post in the 5-part mini-series about our time in France. I’ve been meaning to share it for two weeks now. (These last two weeks! They’ve been full and good, and overwhelming too.) But even though this post has been delayed, today is actually a fitting day to share this finale report about our time in France. Because one month ago today, we said our teary goodbyes and flew from Paris to San Francisco. One month ago!

When I am able to sit still for a moment here and there, I get terribly homesick.

(But don’t feel too bad for me. Tomorrow, I’ll share photos of the house here in Oakland. It’s awesome!)

During our last six months in France, I tried to share lots of posts about small details of French life, and we took two big trips — both North. Here’s the full report:

We marked two years in France. And a gardener power-cleaned the cobblestones at La Cressonnière.

We talked about working with a time difference. And we discussed homeopathie in France.

We shared Stacking Wood, which was filmed right at the farmhouse. It’s another one of our most popular Olive Us episodes. We also took you on a visit to a French cider farm. And talked about the famed local French lace.

A section of the stone wall at the farmhouse crumbled and was repaired by a stonemason. And we put an offer on The Cottage in France!

We took a last-minute roadtrip to Ireland! Small update here. Full report here.

winter walk08

We lived through the extended winter. We snapped photos on a late winter walk in our neighborhood. And then got snowed in. And then got drenched! Also, Ralph made a little movie of the kids picking blackberries. And Ben Blair turned 40!

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

We shared 5 Fabulous French Souvenirs under $5. And talked about Easter Candy in France.

Embroidery and France

We discussed embroidery in France. What kind of music the local kids were listening to. And postcards in France.

Oscar Blair

We took my parents touring around the D-Day sites and William the Conquerer spots, and Oscar was baptized in the stream near our house!

Amsterdam | Design Mom07

We went to Amsterdam for a video shoot. In fact, from April to June, we filmed 17 more episodes of Olive Us (these haven’t been shared yet, but they’re coming soon!). Another little report from Amsterdam here. And the full report, titled 5 Things to Remember for Your Trip to Amsterdam.

Little Red Riding Hood |

We celebrated May Day with our neighbors. And shared Little Red Riding Hood (in French!).

kayaking in the fjords08

We went to Norway to celebrate Ben Blair’s Fjordieth! Little hellos from Norway here and here and here. And a write-up about kayaking in the fjords here. (Oh my goodness, I just realized I haven’t even written up a full report about our trip yet. Hah!)

paris - spring 2013

We did a little filming in Paris. The wisteria made it’s appearance. And we visited Chateau Falaise, the birthplace of William the Conquerer.

Five Affordable Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Trip to France.

We gave another report (our last one) about schools in France. And visited our town’s vide grenier (town yard sale). We also shared 5 Financial Tips When Moving Abroad.

converted french mill

We closed on The Cottage! And we found an amazing architect to work on the renovation.

apple blossoms at a French farmhouse

We spent a Saturday zip-lining in the Suisse-Normande. And we listed La Cressonnière for rent.

gabrielle blair alt summit

I went to New York for Alt Summit NYC. And we announced we were moving to Oakland.


We talked about how we shop and eat in France. And we harvested the peonies for the third and last time.

5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. Great stuff you can find at any French Grocery Store.  |  Design Mom

We shared 5 More Fabulous French Souvenirs Under $5. And we spent the 4th of July at the D-Day Beaches.

French Grandmother

We started packing up. And ended up with 32 pieces of luggage/bags. We said some goodbyes. And the day we flew out? We shared the first post in this 5-part series.


And that wraps it up! What a time we had!!

Thank you so much for indulging me while I’ve re-lived our time in France. I already treasure these re-cap posts! And I’ve referred to them when I want to remember the timeline or when I’m feeling nostalgic. They are my proof that we lived life fully while we were there and took advantage of everything we had access to. No regrets.

And here’s to the next adventure!

P.S. — If you’re curious, you can read all 5 reports here.


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Grace @ sense and simplicity August 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

Even though I read the original posts, I’ve enjoyed reading the recaps too. You packed so much into your years in France. I love doing end-of-year recaps too so you can look back and ponder everything you’ve done over the year. I think the hardest part of them is choosing only one photo to go with each item in the recap.


2 giulia August 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

aw, i’m kind of sad these recaps are over… but i’m excited to see what you come up with there in oakland! we just moved back to dc after a year in barcelona and, following your example, i also posted a recap of the things we did there on the blog.
it seems like you took advantage of your time there incredibly well!


3 Kristin August 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I love reading these recaps! I especially loved the reminder about what French kids are listening to. Such great music! Also, how amazing is Carla Bruni? I officially have a girl crush on her now.


4 Melissa August 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I’m sorry to see this end. I guess it will be official when you change your “About Me” section to say you live in California. I’m glad for that because my family resides in SF, and I know how joyous the area is!! See you in SLC, I just registered for Alt Summit….SO HAPPY to be going.


5 Lena August 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Oh, Gabi, my heart aches for you. I’ve been through the exact same situation and I still feel homesick a little (even though our experience wasn’t as great as yours). I think when you move with your kids, and remember all those locations where they played, where they started to walk.. that’s what I miss the most. I was wondering, could you write an honest post about how you feel back in the US? And what do you miss the most about Europe?


6 Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux August 16, 2013 at 7:24 am

Beautifully summarized! I loved so many of those posts! Your posts in France have been very helpful to me – still feeling like a newbie – I often looked to see if you had experienced something similar. Thanks!!

I look forward to reading more of your adventures in Oakland and what fun that you will always have a piece of France with the cottage.

We have made the commitment to stay in France – it just works for us…I love all your posts about visiting Normandy and I will use them as we choose our travels around France. How are your kids adjusting to being back in the US? Are they staying in touch with their French friends?


7 Kim August 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I loved reading your recaps – what a fantastic, positive experience you all had! And, you get to go back regularly because of the cottage! Very excited to read of your cottage renovation adventure!


8 Kim August 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm

By the way, Australia is a long way from Normandy, but my husband asks if you need an electrician for your cottage? ;)


9 janis August 20, 2013 at 12:40 am

just to let you know, the link isn’t working for all of the “time in france review” posts! :)


10 Design Mom August 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Hi Janis! So sorry the links aren’t working for you. I checked them again and they seem to be working for me. I wonder if it’s a browser thing?


11 Marc September 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I love that photo at the beginning of the post. It looks like something Raymond Depardon would have in one of his books.


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