Saturday, November 19, 2011

Of All The Gaul

The U.S. Army stationed me in France when I was only a few months no longer a teenager, making me among the last in a line not easily kept down on the farm after they'd seen Paree. For two years, I lived and worked near the small French village of Saran, which is just outside the city of Orleans, 111 kilometers (66 miles) south of Paris. That was enough for me to become a life-long Francophile.

Now, I am trying to arrange a visit again to France. Possibly my last. We tried to rent a village house (550 euros --less than $800) a month in Marseillan, not to be confused with Marseilles, which is also on the Mediterranean but about 130 miles and many dollars converted to euros further east. Marseillan is the oyster capital of France and more like the Mississippi Gulf Coast for lower rent sunshine, sand, and seawater.

Alas, the village house in Marseillan reqired a minimum occupancy of six months. The standard tourist visa provided with a U.S. passport limits the stay in France to 90 days. A long-stay visa for France is pretty much out of the question, although the French consulate will not tell you that. In fact, they will not tell you much of anything; they just will not issue the visa.

So, now we have found a village house in Olonzac, in the south France region Languedoc-Roussillon. Olonzac is 20 miles from the Mediterranean, even closer to the Canal du Midi, and near historic sites of Carcassonne and Beziers, where Papal Crusaders masacred 20,000 in order to make memorable example of the Cathars, an early Christian sect that advocated heresies such as birth control. When the leader of the Crusade asked how he could identify the Cathars from the Catholics, he was instructed, "Kill them all. God will know his own."

Olonzac is two and a half hours from Barcelona. Some of the countryside looks like this.

If the bank that is too big to fail does not cancel my credit card before I can max it out , I will buy some postcards.

1 comment:

ardy said...

Just wanted to say that it sounds like a sweet vacation! Enjoy yourselves in Olonzac...
Noel would have loved it!!
Bon voyage!


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