Pam and I are Australians currently on a house exchange between our home in Melbourne and a home in Mazamet. We fell in love with the French life a few years ago, when we spent a year in France and Italy, travelling from Gite to Gite, until the money and long service leave ran out.
Now we are both retired and looking to stay on beyond the end of our exchange in March, but we are having trouble finding someone to exchange with. Interestingly, we have found a couple who are moving to Australia in July, and they are happy to exchange then, so we have only April, May and June to find accommodation for.
The main attractions of France for us are the wine, the food, the culture and the history. Also, we both love Celtic music and we spent ten days at the Lorient Interceltique festival with eight other Australians.
We have found the Tarn region to be a real delight, and we are still finding new villages, chateaux and other delights, even though we've been here a year now. Our friends from Australia have also enjoyed including a stay with us on their travels, and we've had twenty one visitors in the last year.
The Tarn has been a huge surprise to us in many ways, and the most surprising is the warmth of the welcome we have received from our neighbours and the friends we have made here.
In terms of surviving France, we have had very little need for assistance. We've enrolled in the Assurance Malade(sic), we've bought a car, and we have made many friends, who have answered most of our questions.
And lastly, we both have English parents, and consequently many relatives in England, so we understand the culture and the way of life there.
Looking forward to an enjoyable membership.
Alan & Pam