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Let the Pet Sitting Begin – Three Months in France, wonderful pets, country, homes, and homeowners

Spring color in the village park where it was easy to imagine it to be a backdrop for painters, picnickers and general frolicking .

Following a 9 hour flight from Bangkok to Paris, and a 2 + hour train, we were greeted with a touch of spring in Valence, France. With one night at a quintessentially french AirBnB (way too short for this sweet village) we were ready to “let the pet sitting begin”.

View from the typically french village plaza.
Bev and Jasper were inseparable.

Our first stop was a month stay near Crest (pronounced Cray) in the small village of Chabrillan (population: maybe 600). Steve and Vonny Kent were off to Australia and they entrusted us with their home, Jasper, their totally indifferent cat named Tinx, beautiful, healthy egg laying hens and the challenge of a marine aquarium.

A view of Chabrillan from our walk with Jasper each morning.

Vonny was kind enough to show us around before leaving. While doing so, she introduced us to their friends Frances and Pete. We hit it off and, with Jasper and their dog, spent plenty of time together, especially a couple of amazing lunches. Isn’t it interesting how we attract foodies to our life all over the world?

Our first lunch together (Pete, John, Bev, and Frances) at Les Aubergistes in Marsanne. We laughed every time we got together.

Frances and Pete are ex UK’ers who have been living in France for 15+ years. They have traveled all over the world , including a three year RV stint throughout the U.S. Their home in Roche Grane had a jaw-dropping view of the Pre-Alps.

The Rhone Pre-Alps

Our favorite dining experience while in Crest was at La Salle A Manger. The food was perfect in taste and presentation. It was pure pleasure to meander through each course enjoying a relaxed midday respite from a otherwise hectic day (not really). Each time we had lunch there, once with Vonny & Steve (home owners) and once with Bev, John and of course Jasper we exclaimed “we will return” and “a bientot”. As seen here, we even got to know the owners pretty well.

John with the Owner in the red glasses and our fabulous server.
The walk along the Garonne River enjoying early Cherry Blossoms.

From Crest we headed to Bordeaux for some “tweener time” meaning time between pet sits. This is a great mid-sized city with charisma, really great food, loads of history, beautiful architecture, lots to see and do, and, did we mention really great food (and bread…and cheese….and wine!).

Our first day began with lunch at Le Brasserie des Chartrons. What a start. We’ll never forget the Cappuccino Beetroot Mousse. For that matter, we’ll not soon forget our favorite boulangier, Au Pétrin Moissagais. The bread at this place is seriously addictive. We could definitely live in Bordeaux.

Best view from our favorite Boulangier
Bev pausing for a moment at the Lake in the center of Lauzun.

Moving on to the next Pet Sitting assignment, we headed for Lauzun, about 45 minutes by train from Bordeaux.. What a blast we had. Wonderful, friendly homeowners, 3 terrific cats with different but really fun personalities, a gorgeous home, in a friendly community, with a village a twenty-minute walk away.





This home was so beautiful with a great kitchen, comfy large living room, and plenty of space for the three cats – Pretty Kitty, Spot and Chanel.

Bev in the backyard after our morning walk.
The bridge at the town lake was so peaceful and beautiful. It was a great spot to bring a baguette and a coffee.
The watchful eyes of Pretty Kitty

No matter where we went in the house or the yard, Pretty Kitty, the ruler of the roost, was always watching, making sure that the other cats did not get attention that she so richly deserved.

Speaking of “watchful eyes”, Spot was nothing if not vigilant in his capturing of mice and bringing them back to us proud as could be.
A quiet moment for Bev and Chanel when Pretty Kitty and Spot were not chasing her.

We then took a train back up to Paris and then east to Troyes, about an hour and a half. Our home would be just outside of Troyes, a farming village, caring for Judith and Terry’s two wonderful labs, Layla (11) and Jess (4). What a pair! Jess could run and play all day while Layla was full of love and hugs (in between naps).

Bev walking Layla and Jess in the woods.

Layla’s favorite game in the morning was chase the ball into the Lake. Jess played along but preferred chomping on a huge log-like stick to chasing a ball.

††

All in all, France was amazing. We would return in a moments notice. And, let’s not forget Paris.

†

Bev inside the Pyramid entrance of the Louvre.
This is not in Paris. It is the Village of Essoyes, the summer home of Renoir.
OOOOPS, a failed attempt of some dramatic move at the Opera.
But this time we got it right.
Pyramid at the Louvre
Bev by her favorite Louvre painting.
We ended our three months in France with a stroll to Pont Neuf and Notre Dame on a rainy day. Our apartment was perfect, the weather, even with the rain, was also perfect. We’ll return often.

See you on the road,

John & Bev

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