Tag Archives: France

Living a life in Quillan

A week ago we finished our three-month-long stint in France. Leaving Quillan felt like a significant ending. I left with questions that cannot yet be answered with certainty. Will we ever return to Quillan? Years from now will we carry regrets about what we did or did not do while we had the chance? Will our children thank us or curse us for it?

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The tiny commune of Quirbajou

When we visited the village Quirbajou yesterday I was surprised to see it has a mairie (town hall). It therefore must be a commune, which is an administrative level in France. There is, as far as I know, no equivalent in New Zealand. Communes in France have a town hall, a mayor, and a town council. They have responsibility for many of the functions that in New Zealand would be carried out by district or city councils. But Quirbajou is so tiny! At the last census it had a population of 36. How can such a small population support a mayor and town council? Continue reading

A storm in the Pyrenees

After two hot days in Barcelona we woke on Monday morning to rain and thunder. The rain continued for the duration of our drive home, north through Figueres, across the border to Perpignan, and west to Quillan. The storm was apparently very widespread. We heard a rumour that Madrid had hail. After arriving home in Quillan we learned from friends that the storm was severe in the Aude region, including large hail stones in places.

Hail stone Continue reading

Carcassonne for a euro (and 18 euros taxi fare)

With the long weekend for Pentecost, the boys headed to Andorra for an overnight stay, while I accompanied Susie to Carcassonne for her flight back to London. The trip to Carcassonne airport by car from here is pretty well signposted – though the plane symbols are sometimes hard to see – and pretty straightforward actually, taking just on an hour from Quillan door to door. Continue reading

Battle of the labyrinth (that’s the title of the fourth book in the Percy Jackson series)

Today was my first “quest” into the labyrinth.  Don’t blame me for saying “quest” my dad told me to. But anyway, if you don’t like hearing scary things because you get sick when you hear them,  I recommend skipping to the 3rd paragraph. Hint: We got lost in the labyrinth. Continue reading

Welcome to France

The arrival at Charles de Gaulle was smooth enough but some things were less smooth than others. Having 13 hours earlier passed through Changi airport, Singapore, I noticed several of the less smooth parts of the arrival that I doubt would be permitted in many places, and certainly not at Singapore. Here are three of those things: Continue reading

How’s your French?

When presented with the most common French words, I confidently know about 60 of the top 100. Does that indicate enough vocab to get by for three months in France? I know some basic verb contructions. Je mange. J’ai mange. Je vais mange. And I often listen to teach-yourself-French through headphones while scootering around the Wellington waterfront. Is that enough?

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