Moving to France

Closing down our Seattle life.

Following our dream of an extended stay in France has been a long, long road, but finally we are so close that we can feel it!  Since the sale of Le Pichet in September of 2022, my time has been filled with getting us ready to move to our house in Orthez.  You can imagine the nearly endless list of stuff to take care of:  Visas, banking, transportation, packing, shipping, it goes on and on.  We have literally had a 5-page To-Do list posted on the living room wall for the last 4 months!  Every time a page was completed, a new one was added.

I think back fondly to our first move to France, in 1990, when we left Seattle for Paris so that I could attend culinary school. At that time, I was young and strong like a donkey, we packed all we could carry, got rid of the rest, and headed for Paris on a TWA flight with no real idea what lay ahead.  This was pre-internet, so the tiny apartment where we would live had been rented sight unseen. It all seemed so fun and exciting and free of worries and doubts.  What’s to worry about?

Obviously, 30 plus years later, the planning process was much much more involved.  But all that was wrapping up by the end of January.  Continue reading

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Getting the Visa

My student visa from 1990 when I attended culinary school in Paris.

Of the long list of things to accomplish before we can move to France, getting approved for  a Long-Stay Visa is one of the most important.  We took the first step in that process earlier this month when we made an appointment with the French Visa office in San Francisco. We had already filled out the preliminary forms on-line but the next step is an in-person meeting at the nearest office.  Here we go!

The process of getting my Student Visa in 1990 taught me a couple things about dealing with French bureaucracy.  First, be patient, don’t get upset and keep an upbeat attitude. Second, remember 1) when your application goes way off track and you feel like going over the counter at some annoying clerk. Continue reading

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