Hello & welcome to The French Countryside Guide! So glad you found us.
Enjoying a coffee at Monsieur Papier (Bretagne, 2020)
My name is Rose & I am a stained-glass conservator, art historian, wife to a Frenchman, & an American living in the beautiful countryside of France. I am the owner & content creator here at FCG.
Connecticut-born n’ raised, a New Englander at heart & soul, but a perpetual traveler in mind & body.
My Travels & Background
Growing up, I never had the chance to travel despite a keen desire to do so. At 20, I acquired my first passport & set off on a life-changing year-long adventure. As part of my undergraduate studies, I spent a semester in Rome & Paris, making friends & memories I still have to this day. During this time, I traveled to such countries as Greece, Belgium, Egypt, England & Ireland. After graduation, I went back to Italy, where I lived & studied in San Gemini, then traveled to Morocco & the Netherlands.
After this, I took a hiatus on travel to focus on making money to afford graduate school in England.
Rome (2014), Morocco (2016) & Paris (2015)
I left for my two-year Master’s program at the University of York in September 2017 & haven’t looked back since. Okay, I lied, I went back to the US for two weeks to do research for my dissertation, but other than that, I have only gone forward.
While in England, I traveled around a bit & had the opportunity to visit Iceland & Croatia. As well, I lived in Germany for a brief period as part of my degree. (I wrote a blog post about my 21-day trip to Iceland available here).
In August of 2019, I finished my degree & moved to France where I have been ever since, trying to find interesting places & things to share with my family & friends.
Iceland (2017) & Croatia (2018)
A Wild Dream Come True, Then a Blog
When I first started French classes at the age of fourteen, I DREAMED of coming to France & one day living here. Never did I imagine that wild little dream would come true! Never ever did I imagine I would be living in the countryside (and married)!
How I Came to Live in the French Countryside (My Love Story)
I met my now-husband, William, –yes, really, his name is not French… I know– in 2018. As part of my Master’s degree, I was sent to Paderborn, Germany for a four-month-long internship at a stained-glass studio. William worked there.
William & I in Bavaria, 2018
We met on my first day, but did not begin speaking until a few weeks later since he worked in a different area than me. He was the only French speaker there & I could tell he was a bit lonely. Seeing this, I invited him for a picnic & we spoke French together.
Soon, French became our secret language at work & we were spending time with one another every weekend. In June, I suddenly needed to vacate the apartment that the studio had lent me, leading me to frantically look for accommodation for the remaining month of my internship. Not speaking German, & planning to stay only one month longer, I struggled big time. But there was William, & he offered me a place to stay.
Take Me With You!
Towards the end of my internship, it happened that William took vacation when I was supposed to leave. Logically, I suggested that I go with him.
We drove from Paderborn to the small village of Ormoy, near Chartres, France. The first night there, I practically met all of his family (read: ten people that have never met an American before). It was very awkward & overwhelming for me as I come from a very small family & it is not custom in America to meet someone’s family so soon.
They are a pretty traditional “countryside” family, meaning that they do not speak much English & have really never been outside of France. I guess that must have been something when William, the youngest sibling, the one furthest from home, came back with an American! Several days after this, we left for Bretagne (Brittany) where I met the rest of his family (as if ten wasn’t enough!).
Despite living in France previously, I had never been to Bretagne. Knowing this is one of William’s favorite places, I was excited to visit. We spent a week there before going back to Ormoy & leaving for the UK together.
My favorite place in Bretagne & me being a nerd in Chartres
England = Engagement?
Because the drive up to York is over 9 hours, we took a little touristy overnight in Canterbury. This is when looking to take out some money turned into an engagement!!
I do not entirely remember how this all went down. I recall there was a jewelry store, an antique ring, a lovely gentleman named Jonathan, a few “are you sure’s?” And just like that, we were engaged!
After this, I took him to visit York & Oxford, then we went our separate ways; him, returning back to Germany & me, back to York. Upon returning to Germany, he quit his job & began the process of moving to England.
The ring we found in Canterbury & his ring that we later found in Rye when he came to live in England
Together & Apart
After quitting his job in Germany & moving to England, William & I began planning our wedding ceremonies for October 2019. That’s right, “ceremonies” with an “ies” because the French government likes to complicate things. We spent months exploring & beginning to shape our life together. Unfortunately, we lived in a studio apartment & I needed to begin work on my Master’s dissertation. We decided that William would move back to France (good thing, too, because he got to work at Notre-Dame de Paris after the big fire!).
During our time apart, I tried to visit often. In June, I came for a romantic weekend in the Loire Valley. Coupled with a not-so-romantic trip to the American Embassy in Paris, it was just the vacation I needed!
(Emergency) Wedding Bells
During my dissertation, I also researched ways to obtain a visa for France in order to join William at the end of my studies. As a UK resident I was eligible to apply for the visa whilst living there, instead of having to go aaallll the way to the US after the wedding. Knowing this, I quickly told William we had to change our plans & get married ASAP.
William made a few phone calls & I we received the earliest date, 27 July. A month away. I sorted all of the papers & booked my trains.
The Big Move
In August, William came back to England to pick me up, taking me to my new home in France. We lived with his all-too-generous parents at their lovely home in the small village of Ormoy. We did this because it made no sense for us to find an apartment right away due to pre-planned events, such as a trip down south, a honeymoon in Malta, & our informal wedding ceremony in October.
In September 2019, I began applying to apprentice in a stained glass studio. At this point, I actually got a job offer instead of an apprenticeship. Later on, they also offered my husband a job. This led us to pack up our things yet again & move from the French countryside to Troyes where we lived from November to August 2020.
We are currently living in the French countryside near Chartres again. We have just started our own stained-glass studio & I am planning to attend school for glass painting as well.
In the meantime, I decided to start this blog to share my adventures with the world. I feel as though whenever I go on the internet for information regarding France, everything is always about expats in Paris or other big cities. Frankly, j’en ai marre (I’ve had enough) & believe I have some interesting insights to add myself.
So welcome & hello again, I’m Rose & I DON’T live in Paris! I live in the beautiful French countryside, & I am here to fill you in about life here! Bisous!