We went to France ….. and then we came back.


We live in Yorkshire.  Until March 2014, we had lived in the Ariège, southern France, and we spent six and a half years there.  I shared many of the experiences we had there in this blog, which was then called ‘Life in Laroque‘.  I wrote about the walks we shared with the groups we belonged to, singing with our local choir, our efforts to refurbish our home, which was an old ex-butcher’s shop, our discoveries about the history of the area…. and just life in general.  Our day-to-day experiences were as important as trips within the area and beyond, and I look back at my blog as being an invaluable diary for me, reminding me of this very special chapter in our lives.


We came back, but not because we were unhappy. Far from it.  We hope that within the French community where we lived, Laroque d’Olmes, we’ve made friends for life.  We really tried to roll our sleeves up and integrate into the day-to-day life of our community, and that effort seemed to pay off, as we got included in local events and became as much a part of the fabric of daily life in our community as others who’d lived there for much of their lives.
But the lure of family and friends proved too much and we came home.  Not to our original town, Harrogate.  After more than six years of small-town life, it seemed far too big and busy.  We chose Ripon, the smaller town up the road which is twinned with Foix in the Ariège.  And actually, we’re not living there either.  We’re in a village a little further north, North Stainley.

This blog, then, is in two parts. Early entries look at our life in Laroque d’Olmes, and later on our life in North Yorkshire takes centre stage.

And now I’ve started another blog too, detailing our family’s history.  It’s called ‘Notes on a family‘, and you can find it here.

Yorkshire Dales, near Grewelthorpe.



41 thoughts on “We went to France ….. and then we came back.”

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Margaret. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and will keep up with it as I can through the move and settling back in to America. You are missed on Peckett’s Way. If you find yourself in my neck of the woods, please be sure and look me up.


    1. Oh thanks, Leann. I had no idea you read the blog. You ought to write one too you know. I’d love to keep up with your experiences as you re-settle in a country that may have changed in ways that surprise you – or perhaps not – after such a long absence. Good luck, and I do hope we’ll meet again, whether in the US or here in France.


  2. Hi Margaret. We are just in the process of buying a house in Laroque, on Avenue Jean Jaures. We (myself, wife Elizabeth and daughter Lydia (16)) live in Nottingham whilst elder daughter lives with boyfriend (French) in Toulouse – hence the reason for choosing this region. We intend to spend as much time as we can (work permitting) in Laroque, joined by friends and family when possible. We are also considering renting it out when not in residence to allow others the benefit of the beautiful area. We do intend to integrate as much as we can and whilst not wanting to live in an ‘expat’ community it would be useful for us to have a few tips. We should be finalising the purchase in early April, perhaps we may be able to meet?


    1. In our case, we did have family reasons to come back, and while I still feel the pull of France and friends there, both countries have such a lot to offer. We feel lucky to be comfortable in both places.


  3. What an interesting life you have had! Similar to us – we live for over half the year on our yacht in Greece. It was going to be full time, but the lure of my precious little grandchildren was too much, so now we come back to uk over the winter. I’ve never been to Yorkshire, can you believe!


    1. No I can’t! You must put this right. And here was me thinking what an interesting life you’ve had too. But in the end, grandchildren win, don’t they? Quite right too.


  4. Hi Margaret, I have been enjoying your blog recently. You write so well. I have an art exhibition in September and came up with the title “From the Pyrenees to the Pennines”. So I googled it to see if it had been used before and your blog came up. I didn’t pinch your title, honest! The parallels are quite uncanny: we lived in the Aude for nearly ten years and came back to Saddleworth, also in 2014. If you don’t mind giving me your email address I will send you an invitation to the opening on 9 September. It would be lovely to meet you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting how you moved to France, lived there for 6 years and loved it, and then moved back. That’s how I felt when I moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for 4 years in 1980! Sometimes family will pull us back, won’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

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