Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekend explorations

In lieu of any sort of social life Lionel and I have been spending our weekends occupying ourselves by exploring the Bordeaux area and the southwest of France. While we both would certainty love to have heaps of friends to see over the weekend, we unfortunately don't. Nonetheless we've both really been enjoying our little weekend adventures and have made some interesting discoveries along the way. Areas we never would have even thought to visit have beckoned and we've been surprised by some of the incredible beauty, charming towns and breathtaking views we've come across.

Citadelle de Blaye:

the Citadelle de Blaye

entrance into the citadel

view over Blaye from the walls of the citadel

Bourg-sur-Gironde

exploring the small town of Bourg

homes on the cliffside in Bourg

wandering through Bourg

Royan and the Gironde estuary:

a funky-looking church in Royan

along the Gironde estuary on our way up to La Palmyre from Royan

cliffs along the coast in Meschers

the lighthouse at La Palmyre

shrimp shacks in Royan

a beach in Meschers

view from the dunes in La Palmyre

Bergerac and le pays de Bergerac:

exploring the city of Bergerac

a view of Bergerac from across the Dordogne

historic center of Bergerac

statue of Cyrano de Bergerac in the main square of Bergerac

view over the vineyards outside of Bergerac

a view of the Chateau de Monbazillac perched on a hill over vineyards

Chateau de Monbazillac

Chateau de la Bridoire

Bastide d'Eymet

the remains of the chateau in Eymet

Bastide d'Eymet

view over the surrounding countryside

Monday, October 13, 2014

Police interview

Last week Lionel and I were convoquer par la police for an interview as the final step of my application for naturalization.  I was a little nervous as I had no idea what to expect from the interview, but the list of documents I was asked to bring was short so I had hopes that the interview would be short and simple as well.  And it was.

Actually, it was not just short and simple but to me it seemed absolutely pointless.  Lionel and I wasted 2.5 hours of our morning to take the tram into Bordeaux, have the "interview" and take the tram home.  All so that I could confirm my name, date and place of birth, address in France, date of entry into France, my employment, the fact that Lionel and I don't receive anything from the CAF and my highest degrees in the US and France.  The thing is, he had me do this all vocally and didn't look at any of the papers he asked me to bring.  The only things he glanced at were my titre de séjour and my passport and then only for a second.  He also asked to actually see our livret de famille which was great because that was NOT part of the list of papers he asked me to bring.  So he just trusted us instead for that information.  Once he had confirmed that his information was all correctly entered in the system we were free to go.  So, not really an "interview" at all but more a way to waste a bunch of peoples' time having them come in person to provide you with information that could all be obtained by mailing in a few documents, filling out a form or over the phone.  Great.

Other than my frustration with such a waste of time it went well and the man conducting the "interview" was very nice and we chatted with him for a bit once we were done with all the formalities.  As he walked us out he told me that he would be surprised if I wasn't granted citizenship and that he thinks I will probably hear back closer to July 2015 rather than September 2015.  So, here's hoping that he is right and that he didn't just get my hopes up for nothing!  And until next summer I can just sit back and relax and enjoy the longest period of time I've ever had free from any sort of immigration and residency related administration!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Parrothead fun

Last weekend one of my favorite singers was doing a show in Paris and naturally Lionel and I were in attendance.  It was that time of year again - Parrotheads in Paris season for a weekend of Jimmy Buffett concerts - and it was delightful!  I made it a point to see his Paris show in 2009 and 2010 but unfortunately couldn't go the last three years so I was thrilled to be back!  This year's concerts were at La Cigale, which I was happy about because when I went in 2010 the show was at L'Olympia and they did a horrible job hosting a Jimmy Buffett show.

waiting in line in front of La Cigale

Lionel and I only planned to go to the Saturday night show, skipping the Friday night show so I wouldn't have to take time off of work. Not to mention that, at 70 euros a ticket, hitting both shows could make for one very expensive weekend! So back in January, as soon as tickets went on sale, I made sure to get two, and good thing I did because both Paris shows were sold out in under a week!

 the beginning of the concert

The concert was incredible, as usual, and we took advantage of the rest of the weekend in Paris to visit with friends. It was Lionel's first ever Jimmy Buffett concert and he really hesitated to go (I had to force him and he took a lot of slack from his friends) but in the end he absolutely loved it.  The entire experience - the music, the ambiance, the audience, the dressing up Parrothead style - seems to have convinced him because he's already talking about going to the concert next year. Which I'm thrilled about cause it won't be a battle to get him to agree to come and now I'll always have someone to see Jimmy Buffett with!  Though next year I'm bringing a better camera and taking more pictures!

view of the show from the back of La Cigale 

Lionel and I having fun at the concert in full parrothead attire...inflatable parrot and all!