Good morning folks, today we open up The Study to Christina Sarah Photography who is going to be talking to us about the dream of living in France. Have you ever considered a move to France? Even if you haven’t we think you’ll enjoy this French renovation adventure plus Christina will be introducing us to her French Airbnb!
So tell us Christina, why did you move to France?
I moved to France in 2007 with my family (Mum, Dad, Sister, Brother-in-law, Nephew, Niece, Brother, Boyfriend and our 4 dogs) yes you’re correct my entire family. I was 19 at the time and crazily never thought too much about it because wherever they were going so was I. We are close you see, my parents are beyond special to me and my siblings and growing immediate family have always been important to me and my now husband.
So I’ll cut it short, we all moved into one house (yep) and 18 months zoomed by while we set up our life in this beautiful sunny country (that I’d never been to before by the way) and we didn’t speak the language, well Mum had been learning so was dealing with everyone French, all my high school French seemed to evaporate as I regretted taking high school welsh for the guaranteed A* expressing that “why would I ever need French anyway”. TOP TIP: If you’re planning on moving to France enjoy some French lessons and prepare yourself.
A few years went by and more French was learnt… when I was just 22 years old and after a year of searching I stepped outside the large gates of a very run down French Manor house and my heart was taken instantly even though I knew it could probably never be mine. I can remember what it felt like… it was a cold November day but it was even colder inside this abandoned house.
With nothing inside it but the odd sink it blew me away, mainly the staircase if I’m honest… this was to be one of the many visits to this old, forgotten piece of French history. Before we knew it we had purchased our first ever home together and boy was it exciting… scary too, I cried a little before the signing wondering if I was doing the right thing, were we crazy, was this the right thing to do, were we right for each other to be taking such a huge challenge together.
Of course its grandness impresses me but its what this has made of me that I am thankful for the most. Its been a challenge and one I wouldn’t like to retake, there have been many highs and lows but I guess nearly my entire 20’s have been about visualising and creating and now I get to do it for a living, perhaps not in the same way but I can create something that future generations will cherish just as I do my 1852 dated French dream! I wonder who was here before me, what they lived like, how it looked then, it made me realise the importance of documenting our lives, keeping a record not only for us when we’re less clear of the details but for the generations to come who will wonder just like I have.
Zoom by a few years, so much painting (I even considered it as a little side line haha I think the fumes had got to my head at this point) many trips to the second hand store furnishing our new home, kitchen tiling, wallpaper stripping, floor sanding, floor varnishing, dream building and also meeting the odd con-artist along the way! It was a roller coaster and although I would never do it again (never say never) I truly found my self here.
Then it was wedding bells in 2013… we were the first English couple to marry in our village (we’re making history you see) and it was the best day (as cliché as that sounds) it truly was!
We are still here more than 10 years on because we have truly fallen in love with France. We love going back to the UK often which is why we love to rent out our home as an airbnb but we think we will forever have a place in France. We’ve visited Italy (Florence to be exact) and loved it and we’ve visited other countries such as the USA but nothing has ever got to us like France. We still feel now after all this time that when we wake up in the morning or sleep in the evening to the sound of crickets or sit in the front garden sipping a cold glass of fizz that we’re on holiday. It really is a dream of course its not without its ups and downs and challenges especially when you own your own business but we’d do it all over again!!
Things that are amazing in France:
The Wine (of course)
The Food!! Home to some of the best resturants I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at!
The stunning architecture and quaint streets perfect for exploring
Quiet Roads unless you’re in the big cities or on the Riviera!
The medical is fantastic
Relaxed way of life
Things that are not so good:
Customer Service can be shocking
Cling film – don’t bother (seriously)
The paint is ridiculously expensive and pretty useless
Paperwork and taxes (much too much of both)