You love the food, the wine, the haute couture, and you dream of sitting in a Parisian café sipping kir royal and watching the passersby. Maybe you’ve visited France a few times, and you always left wanting more.
Like many Americans, I had always dreamed of living in France. But dreams are ethereal things, and leave us with more longing than substance. Reality, en revanche, brings our feet back to the ground on which we must build. How romantic it sounds: buying my morning bread at a local patisserie, strolling through market stalls spilling with color and taste, and, of course, learning to speak French.
Fast forward several years, a husband, two children, and a mortgage later, and my little café reveries have become more realistic. Where the heck is a park when you have two small boys who need exercise and not a one and a half hour lunch? (Oh, and that long lunch is broken up as follows: half hour for getting the menu, getting the waiter’s attention and ordering, twenty minutes to wait for the food, ten minutes to eat before baby starts screaming and two year old starts seriously misbehaving, and thirty minutes to wait for the check.)
No, the Paris of my dreams wasn’t going to happen at this time. In fact, after two weeks of tramping around the city with the boys, we decided Paris wasn’t going to happen at all. Nevermind the expense of living in the city, the fact is, it just isn’t the best place for two kids under two who are used to a lot of space. Hey, I might have only seen three museums in that time, but I do know where every worthwhile park is in each arrondissement! Thank you, thank you Jardin du Luxembourg for only charging 2.50 per kid.
After a long and fruitless search, we fell in love with the Alps, in the area of France called “Haute-Savoie.” We found a house with a huge yard overlooking Lac du Bourget, the largest freshwater lake in France. However, I must begin from the beginning…