In 2003 there was a mass departure from Leicester! I moved to Florida in the United States and two of my close friends from the club packed up their belongings and headed to the Dordogne region in France. They love living in France and have a beautiful country home with lots of land and horses. We had plenty of time on our England trip so we decided to head across the channel to see why they loved it so much.
Ryanair is the cheapest way to travel around Europe. We purchased a flight from East Midlands to Limoges with no bags, all for 100 bucks! It was great to finally get back to France after previous visits consisted of the four walls of an Office Depot facility. This visit was far away from a boss and far away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. The Dordogne region is awash with quaint farm houses, chateaus and miles of sparsely populated countryside.
Within an hour or so of our Payzac farmhouse were sleepy hilltop villages that appeared to be straight out of medieval times, markets selling all kinds of olives, pâtés, cheeses, meats, hugely overpriced foie gras, and crumbling chateaus. Pity we didn’t have the funds or the know how to fix up a historic house as the setting and views were spectacular!
Now back to the foie gras! Andrea and I had never sampled this French delicacy with it’s distinct and rich taste and the price tag to match caviar. Culinary boutiques sell it even though the process used to make it is very controversial. By French law, foie gras is defined as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by force-feeding corn with a feeding tube, a process also known as gavage. Ducks are force-fed twice a day for 12.5 days and geese three times a day for around 17 days. This process swells the liver to ten times its usual size. I loved it; Andrea not so much! We bought a small jar to take back to England, but now in hindsight we’re glad it got confiscated by French customs for being over the carry-on volume limit – spreading it on toast knowing the process used to make it would have felt very wrong!
We spent our days driving around the local markets collecting food for wonderful dinners that Linda would prepare for us. Dinner was always the highlight of the day! Living here would definitely be detrimental to our healthy eating lifestyle, albeit extremely appetizing.
The trip to France was also beneficial for my therapy. It had been five months since my hip surgery for a torn labrum and I had been unable to walk more than a mile up to this point. Things were about to change – an afternoon stroll around a local lake took me into the elite level six mile category, a milestone in my recovery process that I was extremely happy to reach. With such beautiful countryside, it was easy to be lost in time. It still took me another few months to walk that distance again! Maybe with all the doom, gloom and frustration there would be a light at the end of this long and arduous tunnel!
With countless historical farmhouses, markets, and quaint villages we could totally see how our friends had moved to the Dordogne – throw in cheap land, very reasonable property values and fresh produce, and this part of Europe could easily be a destination to settle in. If only it weren’t for the French!
March 24th – March 28th 2015