French Sabbatical

My family's year in France…

Day 68 (6 September 2010) – More From Saturday Night

So I mentioned yesterday how generous and thoughtful John & Ann-Marie’s family have been. At dinner on Saturday night John hinted at some kind of surprise coming later. And at the opportune time 15 year-old Benoit retreated to the kitchen and then returned with this cake that he and sister Céline had made for the occasion. It’s the type of kindness that takes a bit of your breath away. The cake was delicious but I have to give extra mention to the frosting, trying to express it in a single word. Marzipan. Mmm…

It’s been a quiet day here in Nantes. All the kids are back in school for a full day today, Ella having left at 7:45 and scheduled to return soon after 5. That’s a long day, tempered a bit by a lengthy lunch and half days on Wednesdays. Melinda is on her way back from shopping at Ikea and Chloe & I are both quietly working/reading at home, having taken a bike ride earlier.

Before I go I have to send out a happy birthday shout-out to Romain who turns 18 today! His parents are throwing a big party for him on Saturday. It sounds like it’s customary for there to be a big bash on a person’s 18th birthday. Chloe turns 18 in February. I wonder what she’ll be expecting…

September 6, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. Hello
    My friend’s daughter will start going to your school (tomorrow, I suppose) and she told me about your blog. I have it as my home page so i don’t forget to read it. I am planning to spend 3 months in France, have not yet chosen the place. I plan to go April-June 2011. I am toying with the idea of swapping houses or renting a small place. I live by Green lake. How did you choose Nantes?

    Comment by raquel mello | September 7, 2010 | Reply

    • We chose Nantes for a pretty simple reason – we know a family who lives here. Having an “inside” contact has been especially important in easing our transition, helping with all the setting up that needs to be done, etc. Additionally, Nantes and Seattle are very, very similar in feel (in fact, they are officially sister-cities) so that helps everything seem more familiar.

      Comment by pscsandy | September 7, 2010 | Reply

  2. This is definitely a good start. I’ve been looking at house swapsites but have not yet found anything that matches the timing. I am starting French classes now.
    Is your house outside of the city?

    Comment by raquel mello | September 7, 2010 | Reply

    • We live in the city but outside of the center of town (similarly, we live in Seattle near UW but not downtown). It’s an easy tram ride there when we want to go. If you haven’t yet, check out

      Comment by pscsandy | September 8, 2010 | Reply

      • Andy, this site is incredible! I just scanned through the places in Paris just for starters and this might be exactly what i am looking for. I had no idea this even existed, I am soooo excited. Did you take French classes before you left? I am looking for a private teacher right now, maybe a French student looking to make some money…

        Comment by raquel mello | September 12, 2010

      • We did take a class at a wonderful place called Alliance Francaise located in the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. But I’d recommend conversational classes, not the grammar and verb conjugation work. Just get with people who speak French and talk, talk, talk.

        Comment by pscsandy | September 13, 2010

  3. […] picture. That’s John on the left and his step-son, Benoit, on the right. You may recall from last summer that Benoit is quite the cook. Today he was my snooker partner, while John partnered with daughter […]

    Pingback by Snooker (Day 365 + 6) « We're Still in France! | July 6, 2011 | Reply

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