Something to occupy me for 3 months

We plan to stay in France for 3 months this summer and I’m worried I won’t be able to hack it. I have/have had interests ie basketry, and now (I hope) pottery but the latter relies on other people’s facilities, like a kiln. I owe it to my husband to remain there as he was a brick when I had a double mastectomy last year. We have a gardener and he roars around outside doing endless chores. I could take over weeding the drive but……Any ideas please?

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I had a single mastectomy and you do need to be careful when weeding, especially if you are going to be on your knees and leaning on your arm and weeding with the other.
After a mastectomy your arms are weaker than before and you really need to take care of them, even if you do not actually have lymphodoema.
Do you have a kindle, if so load it up with books?
Learning to cook some French dishes could be interesting.
Do you not knit?

A lot depends on where in France and when. If two of your months are July and August you will find it is likely to be very hot and you may well find that you will be content to do not much during the day, especially if you have a swimming pool you can lounge beside, in the shade.
Many parts of France are busy attracting tourists during the summer months so there will be exhibitions, concerts (free if organised by the mairie) multi-cultural events (Chinese acrobats were in a local village one year and we’ve seen dancers from South America and the Far East).
In SW France (I’m never sure how far this stretches) there are “night markets” in one village or another every night of the week where locals (and some tourists) gather late into the evening to gossip and eat (of course) local produce that the stallholders put out. Then late evening there is often music and dancing.
I find photography a wonderful and absorbing hobby. There are so many beautiful places in France. Buy the guidebook “Les Plus Beaux Villages” - the most beautiful villages in France. Set off to see a few and take photographs. Head for the Pyrenees or the Alps (depending where you are) and take in the beautiful landscapes and take photos. Head for one or other of the stunning rivers - we’re fortunate enough to be close to the Lot and the Garonne AND the lateral canal - strolling along the canal towpath on a summer’s evening, under the shade of the plain trees and then finishing up at a simple restaurant by the canal and watching the boats go by - bliss.
Maybe not gardening for a while, but visit open gardens to get ideas for the future.

Improve your French - although classes tend to shut through the summer, there are many, many French teachers online these days who would be only to happy to give you Zoom lessons one on one.
When we first came here over 15 years ago, we arrived in July and spent most of the next two months just using a local map and getting in the car and driving somewhere and strolling round a village or a town and exploring - staying for a simple “menu” lunch or evening meal. We could not believe our luck!
Your three months will fly by. :slight_smile:


Thank you Jane. I shall bear in mind what you suggest and will certainly wear gardening gloves at all times. It just seems so long and although it is our house I have far more things to do when I’m at home in London!

Thank you Sue - I’m impressed with all your suggestions and will make every effort to be productive whilst there. But I am quite lazy……!

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Doesn’t sound like you are in London - what’s the difference? If you are happy being on a laptop, try exploring your area / house on IGN and looking at old maps. Our house is more than 300 years old so is on the Cassini maps, which are fascinating. The Napoleonic maps are more accurate and then you can come forward to the 50s and compare the first aerial photos with the satellite images of today.

Mind you, on reflection, given what you’ve been through, being “lazy” may be no bad thing. Your body may be only too happy to relax and unwind. Make the most of it. We have lime trees in front of our gite/cottage and I can tell you there is nothing “boring” about tipping back the lounger and just gazing up at the green canopy overhead. :slight_smile:


Look for local potters and craft groups, many villages have local walking groups, etc. You marie will have a list of associations. many won’t be active over summer, but some may be. Our pilates teacher specialises in (and is trained to work with) breast cancer survivors, and does regular sessions. And go to your local tourist Office who will have lists of what’s on.

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Treat your 3 months as a project which culminates in a book - a book of photographs that will illustrate to you and others what you did, saw, experienced, where you went. Leave nothing out. Even the most seemingly trivial detail …

The printing co’s like Printerpix and Photobox and Saal are always running big discount offers. Printerpix has an ‘up to 80% off’ offer The usual m.o. is you buy a voucher and have up to 3 months to complete the order.

I made a book of the renovation of my flat in Valencia and got A5 leather bound for £5 each.

S/mkt drinks dept.

Country bistro menu board.

On a rainwater downpipe.

Mural art.

They really did fall from the tree above my table.

You don’t need fancy gear. A good quality phone camera will do.


Yet another good idea!! Thank you so much. I feel spoilt for choice.

You mention pottery and basketry so look out for crafts museums, which are always worth a visit and may have links to local craftspeople you can visit.

I’ve greatly enjoyed the museum of the Compagnonnage (guilds) in Bourges, House of Tools in Troyes, and locally (Ezy sur Eure) Museum of Fans and Combs!

This might not last you three months but at least if you are lucky enough to find a couple of museums it should be more stimulating than doing nothing.

Or… grab a box of watercolours and a couple of sketchbooks.

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Your photos are brilliant! And I like the sound of producing a leather bound book for £5 - all the books of photo books I’ve had made have cost about £30!

Try Leather Photo Books - Capture Your Favourite Memories

This was a sp offer for A5 books. But there are always sp offers popping up.

Hook into the printing companies’ regular emails and you’ll find a good deal coming along soon.

Hold out for the ‘up to 70%’ ones.

Tip. If you have any double page spreads go for the ‘fold flat’ extra option. Otherwise the middle ⅓ of your d.p.s. will disappear into the ‘gutter’ as the fold is called in printing.

I produced and paid for a proof copy - A3 - of my photos of The Royal Horse Artillery 100th anniversary firing if the first artillery engagement by the British in WW1 but not fold flat in case they rejected it. Quite a number of d.p.s.

They approved it but the copy in The Royal Artillery History Room has fold flat pages with A2 d.p.s. Looks fab. My copy - d.p.s. vanishing into the gutter.

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I survived the 10 weeks. I was surprised to find I was quite happy doing SFA! Never thought that would be possible. Admittedly by week 8 I was ready to come home but it was so interesting to find I had the ability to relax. I really appreciated all your ideas and hope to take all of them up - particularly the museums etc. And Jane W. you were right and I didn’t attempt anything vigorous in the garden! Thank you.


Try learning the language! I’m a French teacher and would be happy to help!