I still find it very strange when people ask me why I am moving to the South of France. Strange and confusing. My answer is always simply “It’s the South of France!”. To me anyway, it’s the most natural thing in the world, it’s where I want to be. I’m already there, my body just needs to make the journey.
But first, a little introduction. I’m Claire. London born, married with a son, photographer and businesswoman, vintage enthusiast, mid thirties, real redhead, Rosé drinking, francophile. And in 1 week I am moving to the South of France. It’s the start of a new life, bigger than a new chapter, it’s a whole new book.
We are moving to a little ancient village just west of Provence, surrounded by vineyards and sunflower fields and 15 minutes from the Ocean, equidistant between Pezenas and Montpellier and less than two hours to central Provence. It will be such a huge change to be in the countryside after spending the last ten years in the incredibly overpopulated, smoggy, noisy, outer London suburbs. Another answer to the “why the south of France?” question is the property prices. Our 2 bedroom ground floor flat under the Heathrow flight path is valued at the same price as a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom 250 year old house in Languedoc. Need I say more?
No big life-changing moment made me decide to move to the south of France, it was lots of little moments, that all clumped together to create enough momentum that it was impossible to NOT move. I spent 6 months travelling around France in my early twenties and the obsession began then and never left. My heart wants France, it always has, it want’s the extended summer, the unique light, the inspiration that I feel when I am there, the smells, the tastes and the time that seems endless and abundant. Oh and wine. Never forget the wine.
As I write this I am surrounded by boxes, probably only a quarter of my possessions that I have been collecting and hoarding for the last 10 years remain and one of the hardest things I have had to do for the move is get rid of so much of my stuff. Every decision of whether to keep or purge was agonising!
There have inevitably been sacrifices to make this dream come to fruition, not just physical stuff, but leaving friends and family behind is really hard, although we already have several visits booked in this year, my sister, Dad and nephew and niece are coming only three weeks after the move in date so I won’t even get a chance to miss them! However, there is so much to gain, a chance to grow, to spread my wings, make new friends, to create and live more abundantly, a little place for me and my family to be and enjoy each other. Making the move has given us so many opportunities already, my husband aka Monsieur Bear, is taking super early retirement and joining me in my business, this means we get to work together and see each other every day. And Mother is moving with us, we have this big old winegrowers house and so she can come and live with us, Mother has always been more like a big sister to me and she’s pretty much one of my best friends and her health is not great so I’m happy to have the chance to look after her now.
So the countdown is crawling to its resolution. We move in less than a week, the removal vans are coming and then we drive 14 hours to Provence. We have never seen the house or the village we are moving to other than on the internet. Oh, and in less than 4 weeks I have to sit a two day business seminar entirely conducted in French so that I can legally run my business in France and according to the online test I took I am only 39% fluent. I’m hoping there will be a nice bilingual gentleman there that will succumb to my flirting and help me out.
I’m feeling so many emotions, excited, sad, happy, impatient, bored, overwhelmed, a thousand different feelings in a single day. I’ll be on Instagram stories as much as possible showing our moving journey, including a quick stop at the palace of Versaille on the way down to the south of France, I’d love it if you can join me! INSTAGRAM See you there! xoxo
Claire Macintyre is a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in the South of France, head over to her Instagram to see her life behind the scenes and follow her journey in France!