The first 2.5 months of our European adventure were spent in cities (Porto, Toulouse, Paris, Hamburg and Berlin) but we have now moved to the countryside to get a taste of life in rural France. The move also required a change in transportation. In the cities, we either walked or we used public transportation but in rural France we need a car.
The plan was to rent a car in Lyon, after we arrived there by train from Berlin. However, our connecting train from Frankfurt to Lyon was cancelled, leaving us in a predicament. The only options to continue by train meant taking several trains and making numerous changes. Instead, we decided to rent a car from Frankfurt and drive over 700km to our overnight accommodation outside Lyon. It was a costly adjustment, but better than taking multiple trains to reach our destination.
The next day, we drove west, from the Rhone-Alpes region, across the Auvergne to the Limousin region of France to commence our first house-sitting assignment of the trip. We are taking care of a lovely cottage, two dogs and six chickens in a small hamlet, about 50 minutes south of Limoges.
Our cottage is surrounded by farmland, open fields, woodland and apple orchards. There are chestnut trees everywhere and, at this time of year, they are shedding their nuts. It’s a beautiful, peaceful location and is giving us a chance to re-connect with nature.
You might think that country life is rather sedate but the dogs keep me busy, as they are exercised three times each day. The day starts early at 7.30am, when I let the chickens out into their pen and then take the dogs for a walk in the fields and orchards adjacent to the cottage. The grass is usually wet with dew and there’s often a low hanging mist, but it is a nice time to get out for a walk. On most mornings I see a deer or two in the orchard and sometimes the dogs flush pheasants from the cornfield.
The lunchtime walk is usually the longest of the day. We take the dogs out in the car, further afield and to different locations. It gives them more variety and it allows us to see more of the surrounding area. There’s an abundance of places where the dogs can run off-leash and some of them are very scenic. They love to run around exploring and, if there is water nearby, they’ll usually jump in at some point. It’s a great place to be a dog. However, it is currently hunting season so, depending on where we will be walking, the dogs may have to wear bells and hi-vis jackets for added safety.
About 5pm, we head into the field behind the house where the dogs run and retrieve balls until they’re tired. Then they get to relax with us in the living room. My final task is about 8pm, when I have to put the chickens away for the night.
It has been a long time since we had a dog of our own, so it is a real pleasure to get to hang out with these adorable characters. They are so lovable – and well behaved!
We have two weeks left at this house-sit and we have two more house-sits in the region during October and November, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of rural France in the weeks to come (with a couple of city visits squeezed in between house-sits).
The adventure continues!