June 2000

farmhouse in the country

We have been in France for five months now, and we love the experience of living in a smalll village.  Saint-Symphorien-sur-Saône has a population of about 300 people and many more farm animals. We live here in a beautiful farmhouse near the school and the church.

We love our walks by the river, being able to hear the sheep from their pasture just across the road, and waking in the morning to church bells instead of alarm clocks.



sun setting over the river


a really cute little red tractor with little wheels in the front and big wheels in the back



We have seen more sheep and cows since living here than we saw in all of the years that we lived in San Francisco.

From our kitchen window we enjoy the parade of tractors chugging along the road from early morning until late evening.  


grazing sheep, one is looking into the camera

Nathalie in her Birthday HatOur next door neighbors and landlords, Nathalie and Georges have been so kind to us.  They are helping us learn about and adjust to life in France.  This month we were invited to Nathalie's birthday party.  It was our first social event where we were the only foreigners. The party was held in their back yard until the thunderstorm started, then it moved under a roofed area along the side of our house. Thunder and lightning did nothing to slow down the party, and the conversation got too fast for us early in the evening.  At midnight the dancing started, and the party was still going on when we were upstairs with our heads on our pillows.


On quieter evenings, we often sit on our balcony watching the sunset and the trails of all the planes heading toward Paris.  We have learned that the best prediction of the date when work on our barge will be completed is - someday.

Paris will be our first cruising destination. We hope to be there in July when friends are coming to visit, and we have already put in our request at the port to return there in October. We hope to spend our first winter in Paris.


It has taken far longer than we ever expected to complete the remodeling work on our barge, and we know that we have been here in this village way too long, because everyone seems to know who we are and where we live.  First, we have received mail addressed with just our name and the name of the village. There are no street addresses here in such a small village, but we were surprised that they knew where to find us.

Second, our computer needed repair. Dell France was wonderful and responded immediately. DHL delivered the shipping box that Dell sent us for shipping our computer back to them directly to our gîte. This was surprising because we had arranged the pick up and delivery from our boat broker's office in St. Jean, and we had never mentioned to Dell or DHL where we were living.

When our newly repaired computer came back less than a week later, it also was delivered directly back to our gîte. Again, the delivery was arranged for our boat broker's office. We found our newly repaired computer on the kitchen table when we got up that morning. No one knew how the DHL man knew how to find us. It's a small town mystery.

Then, the other day, a wet and muddy golden retriever wandered into the school yard here in the village. The teacher, knowing Toby lived nearby, called to see if he was at home!