Part I: The theory exam (code de la route)
If you have a European driving license or are from a country or state in the US that has an agreement with France you are lucky in that you can usually exchange your license for a French one by doing some paperwork via the nearest “prefecture.” This can take a long time but I have heard that most people who succeed at this get it back within a year. My unfortunate circumstance was having a California driver’s license which I renewed every five years but was stuck in the grey area of legality. Since it was coming up for another renewal and I felt I was paying too much money for automobile insurance I decided to put my foot down, pay the 1,000 euros to the local “auto-ecole” and start my lessons while complimenting those with practice tests on the internet (an extra 40 euros but well worth it).
Continue reading Adventures in getting a French driving license
So what’s it really like to LIVE here in Cotignac all year long? I get a lot of questions like “how cold is it, what is there to do in the off-seasons, what are the locals really like when you aren’t a tourist and are living right next to them? Continue reading A typical year in Cotignac
You can find almost everything you need to DIY in Cotignac at Coti Brico, just near the post office and across the street from the fire station. It’s easy to park there too, you can drive right in! They even sell garden furniture and stuff for your swimming pool, light bulbs, tools, batteries, garden needs, paint, and lots more. Take a peek the next time you need something like…rope or a ladder or even a hoe!
I get a lot of questions particularly about restaurants and wine and what to do in the area so I thought I’d share my personal recommendations with you. These are a culmination of my many years of experience here and I do hope the information contributes towards either a better visiting or living experience for you. Any questions, please feel free to ask! – Susana 🙂
Continue reading My favourite things to do (by Susana)
It’s something the French take for granted: gratuitous education from the age of two and a half, so long as your child is propre or nappy-free. All children living here, no matter what nationality, have the right to this benefit and it’s a huge bonus to any family wanting to try out living in France temporarily. Of course if the language is an obstacle the experience could be a little less seemless, but for children between the ages of two and five, a foreign language is acquired effortlessly, by immersion. Continue reading Free child care in Cotignac!
Cotignac is very very popular as a tourist destination in the Summer, but what’s life like in the Winter time? Well, as an all-season resident, I can tell you: it can get very cold here, unlike the coastal areas (Cote d’Azur’s beach towns like Nice, Cannes, St Laurent du Var, Hyeres, St Tropez etc) and exceptionally this year (2014) we escaped the coldest temps and snow we had seen for at least five years in a row. The cold can bring with it some snow in January or February causing havoc for drivers and those housed in badly insulated houses. If you are thinking of living here, you should be prepared for cold weather well into MINUS 0 degrees centigrade, and invest in good down jackets and cozy boots (and double glazed windows if you can!). The snow never lasts more than a couple of weeks but it does bring with it some excellent photo opportunities and absolutely stunning scenery amongst the trees and cliffs that are white-washed with it. If you insist on seeing this, the best time to visit is mid to late February to chance it. Just make sure you have enough firewood in your house!
The coldest winter of 1956
Ever dreamed of moving your young family to the South of France but thought it might be out of your financial sites ? Think again. You could save up to 1,200 euros per month by enrolling your child in the local Maternelle.
Continue reading Free Child Care in France!
Cotignac’s history can be traced back to Roman times but came alive particularly in the 1100s with the building of their very first chapel, the Chapel St Martin which will soon be given a full renovation to show off its one-of-a-kind old painted frescos which will attract tourists world-wide. Continue reading A short history of Cotignac
So what do Angelina & Brad, Eric Idle, Vanessa Paradis, and David and Victoria Beckham have in common? They all have vacation homes in Provence, and in particular, the VAR department of France. Branjelina’s Chateau Miravale is situated in the all-organic village of Correns. This area is so scarcely populated, it’s rare that we see paparazzi bothering to make the drive out from the busier areas like St Tropez, Cannes and Antibes.
Continue reading Living in Cotignac: Affordable Real Estate
Four years ago I moved my young family from the glamorous, cosmopolitan and touristy Côte d’Azur to the slow-moving, vine-growing, peaceful life in Provence, in the heart of the Var department of France. What I expected was boredom, isolation, a country-bumpkin life-style with equally parochial people, dull and most of all very French. To my pleasant surprise, however, I had it all topsy-turvy.
Continue reading Living in Provence-Verte