Originally when we made the move to France it was with the understanding that we would move at the end of every year to a new city or region. Our intention was to see as much of this beautiful country and absorb as much of the culture as possible.
However, when the time came we decided to make our stay in Carcassonne a bit longer. The reason was simple, we love it here. It certainly didn’t hurt that three months in a row our landlord, Jason, asked if we wanted to stay on. We have been good tenants and felt that he might have thought so as well.
Recently, we were discussing our decision to stay another year and decided that we had better start making plans to move at the end of this year or it might become all too easy to agree to a third year here. We have become locals and like that many of the people we see frequently think of us as such.
After returning from our six week sojourn to Spain, several of the locals we see frequently were happy to see us return. We assimilated quite easily into the laid back lifestyle here in the Languedoc region and enjoy everything from the locals to the weather.
But we didn’t want to bail on our original goals. We love to travel and visit new places. Part of the attraction to living abroad was to be able to do more than just see a few tourist sites and leave. So the idea of settling into a comfy situation has left us feeling like we might be betraying the original plan.
To that end, we have been looking for another location that offers everything we love about Carcassonne. It needs to have a good mix of things to do, festivals, market days, museums, parks. Access to transportation by train or bus is a necessity as we don’t own a car. Access to “regular” life stuff such as a super market, sporting goods store, pharmacy, veterinarian, etc.
This time we also have to consider Sami’s needs. Kiara was small enough that she didn’t mind being an apartment dog. A trip each day to the park was more than enough for her, and due to her illness sometimes it was too much. However, Sami is a healthy girl with tons of energy. So, for her a place to run and play is a luxury that we added to our list of wants.
After creating a list of things that were necessities and those that are complete deal breakers (such as no train and 5 km or more to the local market) we went in search of a new residence in a new location.
We believe we have found exactly the right spot in Argeles-sur-Mer. Argeles-sur-Mer is on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It has the longest un-obstructed sand beach in the south of France, just over 7 km. The town has history going back to the 8th century and is close to a noted artist colony, for Fauvists such as Picasso and Matisse, in Collioure just 7 km up the road.
Though Argeles-sur-Mer has a smaller population than we prefer at just over 10,000 residents, it seems to have more than enough access to open-air markets, supermarkets, pharmacies and such. Anything that may be lacking we’ll be able to find in Perpignan, with over 118,000 residents, which is only 17 km away and accessible by train in 15 minutes. We have purposely tried to avoid towns that are too small as a comfort measure, but Argeles-sur-Mer has one more added bonus that makes it worth trying . . . a two-bedroom apartment with a yard just three short blocks from the Mediterranean Sea.
We are in negotiations now with the owner and she seems happy to have us come stay beginning in April of 2015. It has long been a dream for both of us to live close enough to a beach that we could enjoy year round. Though Argeles-sur-Mer is a tourist town the busy part of the high season lasts only a few short weeks in August. During the high season, June 1 to September 15, dogs are not allowed on the beaches but come September 16 Sami will be able to spend as much time as she likes running in the sand and surf. Between June 1 and September 15 she’ll have to get by with the 6 acre park two blocks from our apartment or walking along the promenade that stretches the length of the beach, all 7 kilometers!
We have spent more than a few hours with Google Earth getting familiar with what will hopefully be our home for 12 months come April 2015, but we are excited at the prospect of living close to the sea and spending time seeing all the sites available in and around the area. And, of course, long walks on the beach!
Photo credits to Wikipedia and Google Earth.