February 2000

converted Dutch bargeThis is the Marco, the barge that we hope to turn into our new home.  After looking at many barges in France, Belgium and Holland, we have decided to purchase a boat that we looked at in France on the very first day of our search. It's the unique layout of this barge, with its wonderful back deck and the kitchen and dining area in the wheelhouse, that helped us decide that this was the barge for us.

We are feeling pretty good about the way that things are moving right along. We have been in Europe for less than one month, and we already have a barge in dry-dock that is pabarge in drydockssing inspections and will soon be ours. We have a home in a small village with friendly neighbors, a bank account in the local bank, a French teacher and a daily routine.

We are happy to be staying here for a few months while the barge undergoes remodeling/painting and a name change, as soon as we think of the right one.  We are getting acclimated to life in France.  Fortunately, we are starting out in a village with a slow pace.  With everything being foreign, it could be overwhelming living in a big city.  It has been part good fortune and part research and planning that has helped everything fall into place so easily.

It certainly was good fortune that brought us to our guest house.  We are in the very small village of Saint-Symphorien-sur-Saône, located in the burgundy region of France, 30 minutes south of Dijon. It is just a 10 minute drive to Saint-Jean-de-Losne, where we bought our barge from the boat broker, H2O.

The owners of our guest house, or Gîte as it is called here in France, Georges and Nathalie live next door, and they have been extremely kind and helpful to us.  Since it is winter and we are the only guests staying in this beautiful old farm house, they have allowed us to have the run of the house and to take over the gîte telephone to use as our own.
young girl with school books
Their 10 year old daughter has agreed to give us French lessons. Nina is a great teacher, very well prepared with books and lesson plans, and she tries very hard not to giggle at our pronunciation, but sometimes she just can't help it.

She has also been teaching Toby to sit and stay in French, and she's looking forward to dog-sitting for us when we go to Paris next week to meet friends.