Europe 2012: Day 41, Capestang, St. Chinian, Cessenon-sur-Orb


Driving around in Southern France.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We woke at 8:30am.   It is sunny with no noticeable breeze.

Today we plan to visit a couple of the expat communities in the area.   These communities have a high percentage of English, Australian, Dutch, and American people who came here to take advantage of the weather, the food, and the cheap cost of living.   The cities on our list are Capestang, St. Chinian, and Cessenon-sur-Orb.   We have planned this trip carefully to ensure that we stay on major highways on flat terrain.

We also pack up our laundry and put it in the car in case we spy a laundromat somewhere.

In about an hour or so we arrive in Capestang.    It is a nice small town and looked very French.  The big attraction here is the canal where people rent kayaks.   We walk around a bit and discover that there is not much to the place.   All the people must be in their red-roofed houses in the hills surrounding the town.   We decide to move on to St. Chinian.

St. Chinian.  St. Chinian is surrounded by hills and vineyards, too.  Frankly, it looks just like California – wide roads, wide streets, parking spaces, and houses with red tile roofs.

An Abbey in St. Chinian — pretty in pink!

This looks to be a charming French Country home in St. Chinian.

Another charming stone house in St. Chinian.

However, we have one of our best lunches here! I had a salad that had salad greens, bacon, and Spanish ham – OMG!   My DH ordered the menu of the day – Tomato and Mozzarella (wonderful tomatoes in a nice herby vinaigrette), a Beef Kabob and fries (perfectly rare), and Chocolate Mousse (perfectly light and cool).

The BEST salad with Spanish ham!

My DH said, “maybe we should just stay here – we have most of our clothes in the car anyway!”   We laughed – hahahahahah!   But we were  serious.   We are still not liking our house.

Our next town was Cessenon-sur-Orb, just a few miles up the hills from Saint Chinian.   By this time, the sun was really hot!   After looking around a bit at real estate postings and going around the main square, we settled into a café and I ordered a couple of scoops of ice cream – caramel and vanilla.   We sat in the shade discussing what we did and did not like about these expat communities.

Now that is an interesting house on Cessenon-sur-Orb,

This guy “just parked anywhere!”

French laundry, I guess.

I like alleys!

I like arches!

Soon, a gentleman came up to us.  He introduced himself as Chris.

Chris was from New Zealand (the “Land of Hobbits” we joked) and he noticed we spoke English.   He and his wife moved to Cessenon-sur-Orb just four weeks ago after an eight month search for a home in this area.   They are now near the end of their home renotivation and plan to open their B&B in a couple of weeks (it is the only B&B in the area).    We invited him to join us and we talked about the hows and whys of their move to France.   He was a very friendly fellow and we enjoyed the conversation immensely.    We learned a lot and he gave us a lot to think about in the event we decide to move here.    We asked about a laundromat and he said there wasn’t one in town.  We suggested that a laundromat might be a good business opportunity here.

Around 6pm we started back to to Castlenau d’Aube.   We arrived back at the house around 7pm.  On our door was a note from Bridget inviting us to wine tasting and dinner at their house on Thursday.  We walked over to their house and accepted the invitation.   We told them about our day.   Two hours later, Bridget is doing our laundry.  Barry and Bridget are the best thing about Castlenau d’Aube!

Back at the house, I warm up the canned Cassoulet for dinner.   It was good!   We checked email but the internet connection is poor — still!

Quote of the day:   “Looks like California.” — Anna

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19 thoughts on “Europe 2012: Day 41, Capestang, St. Chinian, Cessenon-sur-Orb

  1. Interesting that ex-pats find a lower cost of living in France. I was always under the impression that it cost quite a bit more there. I’m looking forward to talking with you about this when you return.

    Sorry to hear that the slanted, “charming” house never really grew on you. The neighbors however sound like real gems…wow, they even did your laundry!

    Barb

    • Thanks for the comment! The cost of living on France depends on what services you consider important. If you want to check out on life, it can be cheap. If you want to live like an American, it can be expense. Things are changing, the French government is raising the taxes on second homes for foreigners. Some say it will be enough to get out of France all together. The French do not like people too rich (but very rich is OK).

  2. St Chinian looks just like California? That’s a new one! lol

    I think it looks like a typical small town in the Languedoc, myself. Of course I haven’t lived in California in about 14 years…have things changed over there that much?

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    • Brianne, thanks for your note about problems with the comments. Unfortunately, this is the only comment from you I have received. My guess is that you are having problems with either your internet connection (it is slow) and/or your browser (which is causing multiple submits due to the use of the BACK button). Best to close and re-open your browser in the event this happens again. Sorry for your troubles and hope that you are no longer having this problem.

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