Feria 2017

So the yearly Feria is over. I did not know what to expect. All I knew is that everybody had been talking about it.

Well it is a kind of town festival lasting 4 days. There are many events and concerts. It is very much Spanish / Catalan oriented which brings a lot of tourists (even more than usual) from across the border.

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I very much liked the group Chico and the Gypsies who played the first evening.


Six months later

It has been six months since we arrived in February. Six months which went by very quickly.

It has not been difficult to find our way around and we have favourite shops, bars and restaurants.

Finding a doctor took a couple of days but through a contact was possible and now we have references to the specialists we need or might need.

Everything in the house is fine. Spent a fortune for lights in the local Solea store but they are very helpful and friendly.

In fact I have found everyone to be extremely friendly. From the olive merchant at the market, to the Carrefour cashiers without forgetting the people at the social security office. Absolutely nothing to complain about.

It is not only a change of residence / country and in my case over 40 years away from France. It is also a complete change of life since I started retirement 7 months ago before we left Germany.

Almost two weeks already

It is almost 2 weeks since we departed Hannover to come to Carcassonne.

When we arrived around midnight, the house was freezing cold and somewhat damp. It was easy to find out there was no gas available for the heating. A few extra blankets and the night was not too unpleasant. Called the energy people the next morning at 8am and I was surprised when a van turned up at 9am. The guy immediately confirmed that the gas had been turned off when the meter (accessible from outside) had been recently changed. This is policy. Anyway he was very helpful, turned the gas on and ensured that we could turn the heating was working afterwards.

The move itself went well. In fact the removal guys arrived late afternoon a day before they were actually due and started unloading. They finished by 11pm. The next day our work started and we are still at it although all boxes are now empty there are still many things to do (curtains, lights, plants etc etc.)

A lot was achieved though. A car has been bought and registered. Insurances have been revised (content, car) and paid. Tax office has been contacted but they do not want to see me before April / May. Application to the social security office has been made. I should receive my “Carte Vitale” in 10 days. Bank cards have been applied for and are actually available for me to pick up tomorrow. Armchairs have been bought and quite a few other things. Basically I am spending a fortune right now.

A few bars and restaurants have been tried to. Glad to see that a couple of my favorites are open.

I also managed to pick up my wine at the Carsac cooperative.

Still quite a long list of things to do but no pressure. I am retired after all.

The swimming pool will be opened mid-April. An appointment has been made. I am waiting for an offer from a painter to do some work in a couple of rooms. Hopefully next week I can give an order for the job to be completed by the end of March.

So far so good. All is running well.

Managed to go to Gruissan last weekend for lunch. Lovely weather and we could eat outside. Same thing today but this time in Puyvalador up the Pyrenees at the ski station.

Most important of all, I have been able to take a short nap outside most days after lunch.

A new week begins tomorrow. Priority is to start finding the right doctors.




Impending move


I have been relatively quiet for the past few days.

Preparations for the impending move in 10 days are well under way. I would estimate that more than 70% is packed already.

Both cars are now sold.

There are a few administrative things still open. UK pensions for example. Nothing seems to be straight forward on the island, so inefficient compared to Germany and France on that score anyway.

Some concerns on how medical stuff / doctors function in France. So a trip to the “Caisse Primaire” will be top priority. This despite the fact that my German “National Insurance” insists that they will cover us 100% just as if we were still living in Germany. They just need confirmation from the “Caisse Primaire” that we are registered in France and they will send us European cards. I simply cannot believe it is that easy. Next step will be to find  doctors. Just in case I am taking enough pills to last me till May when

There are a few goodbye drinks and dinners planned still. Nothing wrong with that.

Did I mention that it is a treat to be retired. OK I admit I have been doing a bit of work and was in the office this week and have 3 meetings next week. But the no-pressure factor is simply fantastic.

Where did this week go I ask myself.

Looking forward to next week except for the forthcoming goodbyes to friends and family.

Car insurance

Here comes the next question for me. We live in Germany and will sell our cars here before we move to Carcassonne. The procedure to de-register the cars in Germany and re-register them in France is simply too complicated in both countries.

So, we shall buy new cars in France. How to register them and get the “carte grise” is something I have forgotten but should be easy enough. The car dealer might even do it on our behalf.

The other issue is the car insurance. I do not want to loose by no claim bonus and I know that the French system is quite different. I already have an insurance company / broker for the house and will go to them for the car as well.

Surely I need to bring in any case some kind of proof from my German insurance company. I found something in the internet relating to our insurance policies and the current no claim bonus status but it is all in German and mostly abbreviations. I doubt this will be recognised in France.

Anyone with experience on this is very welcome to give me some advice.

Move to Carcassonne


Moving to Caracassonne

At the time of writing this (November 2016), we are 94 days away from moving to Carcassonne. I am French and grew up in France but left over 40 years ago to live in various countries. The longest stint is in Germany, 25 years, with an interruption of 2,5 years in Shanghai (China). My job has taken me on all continents but as retirement age approaches we wanted a new project. This is when we decided to move to France where, apart from the language, I am practically a foreigner nowadays.

The ideas of this Blog is to post my  experiences with the move and adaptation period as well as settling in.

I expect quite a few visitors from my friends and family in France, England, Germany and a few other countries so I shall use this Blog to list places to go to and activities which might be interesting for them. A kind of visitors guide.