Arrived: Cordes-sur-Ciel

Who would have guessed that the line to rent a car at the Bordeaux airport would take 2 1/2 hours? Or that not one of the three agents would adjust their customary style to – at the very least – shorten the conversations they usually enjoy with each customer? Imagine how exciting the story of our journey from California would have been. Arnaud at Avis was particularly skilled at drawing out his clients’ stories, but I kept looking over my shoulder at the dozens of families with small children behind us: a sea of impatient grimaces, hungry whines, and tapping feet. I’m not sure it made any difference.

It took us close to three hours to get onto the road.

Outside, it was 38C, record-breaking heat, but the thoughtful GPS took us along the back roads, so we enjoyed the ride –

– even the muddy track through the cornfields that saved us a good two minutes over the more conventional route.

Eventually we arrived at the office of M. duMartin, the notaire (real estate lawyer), in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, where the couple from whom we bought the house and our real estate agent were waiting.

I will be eternally grateful that Tom is fluent in French! M. duMartin, jowls and chins indistinguishable, thick steel-colored hair brushed back and plastered to his head, melted into his ornate chair behind the expanse of his ancient desk, and read aloud document after document after document. Do we understand that there can be no changes to the outside of the house, not even to the paint on the blue voleurs (shutters)? And here, this is very important, you see where the back of the house goes under the one on the street above? The well is in your house, but a shaft goes up into the house above…

Periodically a young assistant in short shorts, long legs, and assorted tattoos brought more documents, or copies for us all the sign. M. DuMartin’s wife, gray hair in braids circling her head, appeared behind him from time to time, ghostlike.

It was stiflingly hot in the room. I struggled to follow, using all the skills I’ve acquired from years of hearing loss: catching enough words to get the gist, applying what I know from similar situations, and watching everyone else’s responses very carefully. Still. French legalese!

We signed the papers at last and went to the house with the agent and the sellers for a few lessons in house’s quirks.

And now we are here!

We woke to a gentle breeze coming through the wide open window.

Such a view! Come see us!

15 thoughts on “Arrived: Cordes-sur-Ciel

  1. How wonderful you are arrived! Worth every bit of stifling heat and French legalese. So, what were some quirks of the house that you learned about? What fun! And then to awaken to such a view… lovely! Enjoy your settling in, my friends. When will the pallet arrive in Marseille? ❤️❤️❤️

    • The well empties into the sewer when it rains. No one uses it anymore. The fireplace works! Tom had to be careful not to hit his head when coming down the stairs. We have to get electricity and water changed over this week. You have to turn off a wall heater to use the washing machine. Just typical medieval stuff.

  2. I remain utterly enchanted by your posts, your photos, your lovely new life. It is so much fun for me to be following your adventure. And I don’t usually “follow” anyone! Cordes-sur-Ciel will soon know it is lucky to have you and Tom as its newest resident. BTW, I can see why the documents forbade you to change the blue on the shutters. It is so pretty! A very distinctive and happy shade. Sending much love. ~ Susan

  3. Salut, Tom & Eve:)
    Tellement heureux d’entendre que vous êtes bien arrivés a Cordes-sur-Ciel! Quelle ville charmante!
    À bientôt..

  4. Dear Eve,

    Wow!  Hard to believe that you and Tom are few off in France? Sorry that you are having record breaking heat!  It has often been near or over 100 hear in Atascadero, hotter more often than I can remember!  Sigh!  Fortunately we have air-conditioning, which you likely don’t have!

    Still you are very likely happy to be in your new home!

    LOVE, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Nancy

    • Fortunately for us, our house is built into the hillside, so it stays cool. Everyone we know here (a very small sample: three people) is suffering much more than we are.

  5. Are you still pinching yourself?? Is it really real? And now to settle in to a whole in schedule. Finding information on your parents, looking into the places they stayed, writing and writing. And Tom?? Does he have enough utensils? Where is the piano that he can play?? Is he going to write? Sighhhhhh.

  6. Rental car companies probably train their staff in courtesy to the customer – not in practicality or thinking outside the box……
    Cordes is Beautiful! I remember how many students at University of Bordeaux told me they would probably find employment as “functionnaire” ie paper pusher, somewhere….Their livelihood is secure as long as all that paperwork is deemed necessary. But we actually have even more legalese, we just call it boilerplate and try to zoom through the signing….caveat emptor!
    Amitie, Kathy Bornino

  7. Eve & Tom,
    I am so envious. Will you be ready for a visit, Fall 2019??? Keep the wonderful reports coming. I am living vicariously through you two.

  8. Isn’t it interesting that your picture of your view over looking the hills out the window is very much like our “Irish hills” in SLO county. But I’m SURE there is no comparison knowing all you have shared with us so far. Thanks, Lin.

  9. It may not be coincidence that Cordes’ hilltop reminds you of a morro; the Massif Central, of which Cordes sur Ciel is near the southwestern edge, has old volcanic underpinnings, not presently active, as is true of the Morros as well. The Morros represent magma that pushed toward the surface of the ground but didn’t reach it; as the softer material surrounding them eroded away over intervening millions of years, they were revealed; one can see the tip of a newly revealing morro becoming visible between Hollister Peak and Cuesta College. If you have occasion to learn the geologic history of Cordes sur Ciel, we would be delighted for you to share it with us, as we are delighted with all your sharing. If we all find out that Cordes’ hilltop has a parallel geological history with our Morros, a geological kinship, we will have yet one more strong tie connecting us!

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