• Our area,  Things to do

    The Bayonne Ham Festival

    A few weeks ago, we came across the Bayonne Ham Festival during another one of our many DYI store trips to the French Basque capital. It became evident that something big was happening in town when we saw cars parked all over the roundabouts, miles before we got anywhere near the centre. When we finally reached the banks of the river Nive, we understood why. Dating back to 1462 (yes, that’s right!), Bayonne Ham Fair takes places every year during the Easter weekend. Over 30 local producers compete in showcasing their produce. Three different elements — pigs bred for meaty, muscly back legs, a rich diet of grains and nuts…

  • Welcome to Frenchfully

    Meet Rum

    A little over a month ago, we welcomed a much-awaited new member of our animal family into the world: Rum, the baby pony. His mother, Isla, has been with us since June las year and she was already pregnant. A few weeks ago, Rum arrived during the night. Since his arrival, he has become something of a local attraction. He is a friendly little fellow and loves a cuddle and a back rub! But of course, we first have to pay the tax to his mother Isla who won’t accept anything less than a handful of delicious grass!   Our guests couldn’t get enough of baby Rum. And who can…

  • Our journey

    One year of Frenchfully

    It’s hard to believe we’ve lived in France for over one year. It’s hard to believe that three days ago we celebrated one year of Frenchfully (the blog). But what’s even harder to believe is how much we’ve packed in one year! We arrived in Biarritz in November 2017, with no idea what the future had in store for us. We were excited about starting a new chapter; a new adventure in a new country. We were fed up with life in the big smoke and yearned for the comfort and peace promised by the countryside. A few days later we moved into our new forever home, Maison de la…

  • Day trips,  Our area,  Things to do

    Autumn in the Pyrenees Atlantiques

    As the nights are drawing closer and the smell of burning wood lingers in the air, one knows that autumn is truly here. And although the changing colours of the trees and the crackling sound of broken leaves under feet delight people everywhere in the world, there is a lot to be said about the bucolic peace and sense of wonder one will encounter on a walk through the many quiet roads that criss-cross our region. From the village of Jasses, just outside the fortified village of Navarrenx, we took a country lane that lead us through copper-coloured forest. Half an hour later, we left the forest behind and stepped…

  • Events

    Hosting our first wedding

    On 8th September 2018, Irina and Leigh took their vows at Maison de la riviere. I’ve known Irina for more than ten years. She is one of my best friends and she was my chief bridesmaid at our wedding, two years ago. It was an honour and a pleasure to suggest that the wedding they envisaged (‘We really loved your wedding,’ they said. ‘We want something similar’) was entirely possible at our new home in France. Why not? They’d get the perfect wedding venue and we’d get another challenge (as if we hadn’t set ourselves up enough challenges) and the opportunity to spend time with friends we hadn’t seen in…

  • Our journey

    Launching Maison de la rivière

    Alistair and I have been trying since the day we got on that plane to Biarritz on 6th November 2017, leaving London for good. Nine months went by and we finally had a baby: Maison de la rivière . Ok, I know that’s not a baby in the traditional sense, but it’s a baby nevertheless. A baby we gave our sweat to, our tears, our days, our nights, our money and, to a certain extent, our health. What was supposed to be a straightforward project of decorating, turned out to be more of a full-on renovation. Walls had to be cleaned of wallpaper, then left to dry out the moisture…

  • Daily life,  Our journey

    A quiet and predictable life

    This morning I go through my Facebook feed and read a post about a friend who lived close to where we used to live in London (Streatham) listing all the lovely things she will miss about her house, as she prepares to move to a new home, and all the things she wouldn’t miss. ‘Pollution and grime. Not feeling safe enough to walk to or from the station after dark. No sense of community.’ To which somebody posts a comment saying ‘There isn’t much sense of community anywhere.’ It makes me think of the conversation I’ve had with Alistair a few days ago when, reminiscing about our former life, we…

  • Biarritz,  Day trips

    Day trip to Biarritz

    Alongside the beaches of Portugal and, of course, Cornwall and Devon, the South Western coast of France is a well-known European surfing spot since 1957, when the American writer Peter Viertel decided to open a surf club in Biarritz, thus bringing this sport to Europe. Surfing is such an integral part of life of the people of Biarritz that it is given as an option to students for their baccalaureate exams. But Biarritz is not only about the surfing. It has been the destination of choice for the rich and famous since 1854 when Napoleon III and his Spanish wife Eugenie, chose Biarritz as a summer residence. Since then, it…

  • Events,  Pau,  Things to do

    Grand Prixs de Pau

    Since moving to our new home in France last year in November, we’ve hardly had the chance to experience more than the daily life. As many people who move abroad with a project in mind would tell you, renovating a house is an all-consuming affair. And when you are also responsible for 10 chickens, 5 goats, a cat and a dog, you count yourself lucky if you manage to grab a coffee at the local bar once a week. So when we heard about a famous event taking place less than an hour’s drive, we decided to treat ourselves. Grand Prixs de Pau is an event with tradition, dating back…

  • Daily life,  Our journey

    The Trickster in our midst

    It’s been a little over six months since we moved to France. The actual anniversary day of us moving into our new home went by without us noticing. We were probably absorbed by the multitude of things we need to do on a daily basis. The pleasant winter activities of feeding the chickens and letting them out for the day and feeding the five goats have been taken over by worries about cutting the grass that is not far from being knee-high, getting rid of the brambles, clearing the path towards the river, finishing the renovations at the gite, decking the concrete base that we inherited from the previous owners…