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A French Renaissance?: An Irish Family Moves to France Paperback – 23 Jun 2014
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About the Author
Eamon O Hara is a freelance writer. A co-founder of Carlow Brewing Company, he lived in Brussels for nine years, working for the European Commission. He now runs a holiday home in the Lot Valley, in south-western France, with his wife Tanya.
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With their hearts set on the full fairytale French life, they find their modest chateau, with two towers and plenty of acreage, but even in the early stages their journey was not without a bit of heartache. I could almost hear Eamon’s lilting Irish accent as he took me with him to follow their dream, holding my hand to guide me through some of the more difficult situations they found themselves in. Their first few months of settling two young children into a new life, while coordinating building works to get the B&B up and running, and welcoming their first guests in the gîte, were more the stuff nightmares are made of, but an essential phase in the relocation process. As someone who has house-hunted in France with a pre-schooler, has experienced ear-splitting storms that come with rain so fierce it forces its way indoors and has had fun and games with local trades people, I could commiserate and/or laugh along. For those still in the dreaming period, hoping one day an idyllic life in rural France could be theirs; read this book, take notes and remember what you’ve read – you have been warned.
I might envy him having a tower to write in, but knowing how much time and effort goes into mowing and maintaining our modest acre of orchard, he can keep his forty acres and his tractor, although I can honestly say I have never read such an emotional chapter about tractors. Ever!
This is one of those memoirs where I have to ask – where did you find the time or energy to write it? Although, it was nice to read that they still made time, every now and again, to sit back and enjoy the beauty of their new environment. The Lot region really shines from his descriptions, so much so it made me want to plan a visit.
I was sent a copy of this book to review by the author.
Importantly, and, a first for me, is to have found an account of moving abroad, which provides a realistic breakdown of costs. This means readers can judge for themselves whether this kind of business is a realistic venture (without a fortune stashed away for contingencies) for a family with young children. So many books start off with a ruin, turn it into an estate agent's dream - and no mention of how much this all costs! I look forward to a follow-up and to finding out more about how the family adapt to living the dream.
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