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  • Writer's pictureMme Vanessa Williamson

Living the dream in France

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

We often hear from overseas guests or friends "Your living the dream", alternatively from locals or French people we meet "Pourquoi Mayenne?" "Why Mayenne", quite the opposite question & just the same curiosity of How Why When did you do this. Curiously I did not realize perhaps naïvely that packing up your life completely in Australia & moving to France to live was such a heartfelt dream. It was my dream ever since I returned from a long backpacker’s trip to Europe in 1983, with plans to return as soon as possible. I did return for holidays 15 years apart but never to live. Then on returning from our honeymoon in Germany in early 2017, I could not settle back into our routine. I asked Matt within weeks of returning, would you move to Europe to live, yes he replied without hesitation. My next question was, "can you help me find a way to make this happen"? What followed was intense researching visa & country options, brainstorming ideas, obsessive looking at property, as we looked for a way to go, live & work & not return. Our close friends listened patiently as we worked our way through many ideas, & plans to make it happen. By the October Matt close friend Allison, and I were on a plane to France to look at property, regions, towns to see if we had found our place in France, and we did.

The saga of gathering together all the requirements for our VISA application is a story best told over wine late at night. The stress as we sat in our apartment, jobs finished, removal truck on hold, waiting each day for the email to hear if our VISA was approved was 100% stressful. But here we are 17 months later in our first season as B&B owners and well and truly in business.

Pourquoi Mayenne is our favourite question, we think it would make a great tourism marketing campaign slogan, after answering it so many times we have a concise answer. The beauty of the countryside, the history, the house, the people & of course quite unassuming Mayenne, less than 3-hour drive from Paris.

We are living the dream, our dream, this dramatic change I can assure you is not for everyone. It’s not easy, at times very hard. Constantly personally challenging, as we reach each new milestone, only to begin the next. There have been tears, anger, feeling like we could not go on some days, but hugs, love & determination pushed us on. Do we love it YES, do we regret it NO.

Each month we have had visitors arriving at our door. Our first guest arriving 10 days after we arrived with 2 suitcases each. The first from New Zealand then Australia, Canada, France, America,

England, China. We have had NASA Scientists, Ambassadors, Watchmakers, Poets, Professor’s, University Vice Chancellors, Doctors, Chefs, Stained Glass Artisans, Engineers, retired USA Military Intelligence, teachers, Accountants, Policeman, people from every walk of life you could imagine, & some you may not have imagined.

It’s a fascinating new life we share with every new guest who arrives at our carriageway gates, that why we hope you will come to stay & for a few days a least share in living the dream with us.

Thanks for reading


16 Aug 2019

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